Exhibition Graphics & Design Trends for 2018

When it comes to exhibition installations in 2018 most will agree, it is all about technology, use of graphics and specialist large format print techniques.

Exhibitions have long evolved since the days of The Great Exhibition at London’s Crystal Palace, the UK’s first exhibitions that took place in the late 1800’s. However, they still retain the same goals; to attract, engage with and sell to an audience.

An exhibition is a powerful marketing, PR and brand implementation tool that allows you to sell and make new contacts, while showcasing your products and innovations.

Hence, it is crucial to make use of the most cutting-edge design, graphics and technology to ensure your stall stands out to both customers and other industry professionals alike.

Why Exhibition Design Matters

Clearly, when someone walks past a stand at an exhibition, there are just a few moments to catch their attention. In an ocean of exhibitors, you badly need to stand out as offering something different.

Design is important because your stand is an extension of your brand, and the only thing on which a passer-by can judge whether to stop and interact. What’s more, the booth is the first thing a visitor will notice, before you’ve even said a word to them.

The design and graphics used must convey a brand message, as well as being noticeable. Ideally, they will also transmit your brand’s values and personality to those who are new to it.

For example, if your brand is an eco-brand, it is likely you will want your exhibition graphics to be eco-friendly too and many will go to extreme lengths to ensure they are.

Your stand effectively crosses the gap between the visitor and your brand – so of course it’s far more than just somewhere to set up shop for the day.

Six Key Exhibition Graphic & Design Trends in 2018

#1 Technology

As you can imagine, over recent years and throughout 2018, technology has become an integral part of exhibition graphics, design and installation.

With technology becoming both more accessible and more advanced, brands are continuously finding new ways of connecting with their audiences by implementing it into their exhibition and trade show designs.

VR, AR (Virtual and Artificial Reality, respectively) and 360 video, for example, have caused much excitement and are a great way to attract large crowds and submerge your audience in your brand.

Some of the top technology design trends at exhibitions in 2018 include:

  • Live Streaming When planning to exhibit your brand and products at a trade show, the obvious objective is to reach as many attendees as possible. But when it comes to reaching those who didn’t make it, or those were completely unaware of it happening in the first place, how do you reach them? Live streaming of course! Live streaming the event to your social channels such as Facebook Live, has the potential to reach even more customers than an exhibition with thousands of attendees. The possibilities are endless and having live streaming implemented to complement the design and installation of your booth can go a long way in increasing your brand’s presence.
  • Video walls Although far from a new or emerging trend in 2018, video walls remain a hot design trend at exhibitions, with designers and creatives continuing to find new ways to implement large or multi-panel screens into graphic installations. From projection mapped motion graphics to interactive video walls and full 360 video, there are many ways in which they can be used to attract visitors to your booth.
  • Robotics and Holograms What better way is there to engage crowds and impress visitors than having a fully interactive robot or robotic installation at your next trade show. With robots, holograms and the like all increasingly becoming the norm in 2018, they are also becoming more easily obtainable.
  • Charging stations Merging a charging station with your graphic install design is an ever-growing trend when it comes to exhibitions. Charging stations allow visitors to fire up their device at your stand, something which certainly makes people stop, chat and interact with your brand – a particularly engaging concept for tech businesses too.
  • Augmented and Virtual Reality Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR), and the use of these on mobile devices are also changing the shape of trade show installs, the former arguably more than the latter. This kind of technology can become a real conversational focal point and means you can allow visitors to experience your product or service almost at first hand. Recent surveys have shown shoppers are much more likely to purchase a product if they can try it out via VR first. Why not?

#2 Lighting

Often overlooked in the past, there are now more illumination tools to choose from than ever before, so lighting is set to become increasingly important to exhibition installs over the coming years.

Some growing lighting trends include incorporating LED displays into any surface, use of suspended lit-up signs and back-lit vinyl graphics, signage and displays.

Additionally, glowing pendants and other creative hanging lighting installations have also become part of the exhibition graphics toolbox.

Techniques range from LED walls to having fixtures, signage and displays programmed to set off a selected colour palette or branded illuminations.

#3 Photography

Ready for a close-up? Photography of all kinds has never been more popular, be it selfies on social media, professional photography and or even instant prints from a photo booth.

Photography is increasingly included in the design of exhibition graphics and installations just as it is our daily lives. Who could live without a smartphone with a high-quality camera these days?

From photo walls, digital photo displays and setting up an Instagrammable scene to provide stunning photo-taking opportunities, there are many exciting and interactive ways in which photography can be included in your next exhibit or trade show:

  • Instant Prints Want visitors to be able to take home a physical photo as a momento of the occasion?  Then include a branded photo booth in your exhibition design! Photo booths are a growing trend in 2018, with the introduction of a new wave of booth such as the Magic Mirror Booth and the Selfie Booth making themselves at home at trade shows. These new types of photo booth are easy to brand both on the exterior and the screen and are open for all to see. Instant prints bring a whole new take to the selfie and not only can the booth be branded, but so can the prints! You can even get your own props made especially for the event.
  • An Instagrammable Backdrop and Scenery Want everyone who walks past your stand to take a photo and share it on social media? Then set up a beautiful, Instagram-friendly scene at your stand and make it happen. With the right creative team and installers, you can have the most stunning backdrop for visitors to take a photo in front of. Ideally, the backdrop will tie in with your brand and ethics and convey a positive message across too.

#4 Social Media

Following on from photography, who couldn’t touch on social media? The use of social media within exhibitions and its implementation into the design of a stall has been a continuously growing trend over recent years.

Companies and marketers are finding new ways to incorporate the use of social media into their graphic installation design, with the aim of expanding their presence and engagement beyond the 4 walls of the trade show.

Some examples of how social media can be included in the design of your stall include:

  • Large digital social media or twitter feed walls People just love seeing their name or brand on a big screen! Hence large twitter feed walls that display recent tweets to your company’s page are a great way to encourage tweets from visitors and other brands who can also expand their reach as a result. It’s a win for everyone!
  • Specially designed areas to take photos Many exhibition stands are now being designed to include graphics and scenery fit for Instagram as mentioned above, creating Instagram-able moments for visitors to share with their friends and colleagues online. Not only is this a great way of incorporating photos into your stall but what could be a better branding exercise than hundreds of people taking photos of your stand and sharing it with the world?
  • Branded photo booths that allow social sharing Branded photo booths allow guests to take and print instant photos at your stall and as previously mentioned, are a great way to incorporate photography and the ever-popular selfie into your stand. On modern models of photo booths, photos taken at the event can be shared directly to social media from an attached social sharing station. The photos themselves will often include a branded photo border and the visitors may even hold up a large branded photo frame prop to pose behind.

Used properly, social channels can be highly effective at reaching new audiences and interacting with existing followers while­ visitors of your stand can share their experience with those not in attendance.

Live sharing images straight from the exhibition to your followers and live tweeting your crowds’ enthusiasm for the event as it unfolds can also capture the day’s highlights and show everyone else what they are missing out on.

There are few quicker or more direct ways to convey a message and expand your audience, ­so ignore it at your peril!

#5 A Bigger Experience, More Theatre and Bigger Stands

Rising in popularity this year is adding a sense of theatre and using your exhibition stand as a stage, whether that includes simple live demonstrations, mini shows or spectacular augmented reality displays.

With a marked preference for bigger and more extreme exhibition installs, it isn’t uncommon to see installations with multiple floors or that house a luxury car or yacht wrapped in branded vinyl graphics.

As well as providing a visually exciting experience, brands are also looking at how they can enhance the sensory experience of visitors to their stalls. Some creatives are even adding fragrances to their visions, to provide complete sensory immersion.  We wouldn’t be surprised if this experiential trend is one of the hottest for 2019.

Our Company

At Rocket Graphics, we specialise in brand implementation, graphic installations and large format print. Based in Watford, UK we have handled exhibition design and installations worldwide and have an expert team of over 40 graphic installers.

Having just expanded our premises by over 5000 square feet we also house a fantastic range of new and cutting-edge large format printing equipment and cutting machines. Our extensive portfolio includes many types of exhibitions, sporting events, retail premises and more across London, the UK and worldwide.

Talk to us today to learn more.