Trade Show Banner Design Tips

We’ve been looking to improve our banner design service recently, and along the way have compiled a list of ten tips to help with the design process. If you’re looking to produce your first banner and don’t know where to start, these tips will help get you on track. If you’re more seasoned in the art of banner design, there might be something here that will compliment your existing knowledge.

1. Use a design program. A program like Paint Shop Pro is a great starting point. It isn’t as complicated as some of the more professional level design software, but has all the tools needed to produce a great looking banner. Crucially, there are a lot of internet guides for it, both on YouTube and sites such as Grafx Design.

Many banner stand suppliers have great online design tools that are easy to use, but may not give as much flexibility as using a stand alone program.

2. Make sure you print in the correct area. Keep important information at eye level, and remember that there is a bleed (the area that isn’t printed on), area for banners. Check with your supplier on how big the bleed is, but for banner stands this usually is the bottom few inches. The lower half of the banner is a good place to put your call to action (see tip 7).

3. Use colour to your advantage. You want the colour to stand out but not be too garish. Rather than make the banner one whole colour, use a photo as a background and make the text a colour that is synonymous with your brand. If your logo is blue and white, then make your text that colour. This will strengthen brand awareness by linking the text to your brand’s reputation. Think of the Google logo for a great example of this.

4. Keep your message short. Most potential customers at trade shows and exhibitions will look at your banner but won’t read it, especially if there is a short story’s worth of text on it. Keep your message to your company name/logo, the name of the product you are promoting (if you are targeting one specific product or service), and your slogan if appropriate. There are other ways to attract people’s attention with design, which will be discussed in this guide.

5. Make sure your design isn’t cluttered. Continuing from the previous point, it is important not to have too many different aspects on your banner. A message, a logo and a call to action is all you need to construe all the relevant information. Have a look at the designs on our banner stands to get an idea of what works well.

6. A picture says 1000 words. Use a picture that would attract a passer-by’s interest and that fits in with your brand image and the product you are promoting. The picture could be of the product itself, but if not then use one that depicts a positive scene, which will elicit an appropriate response from the consumer. You can find lots of great free stock photos to use on Google.

7. Make use of call to action. After you have caught the attention with your banner, you need to entice them to take the next step. At an event the obvious statement to make is along the lines of ‘come talk to us for more information’. You can also include a phone number, e-mail address or website URL, in order to generate several possible avenues of connection long after the event finishes.

8. Design in the correct resolution. If you have no idea what resolution is, then the most important thing you need to know is that higher is better. When submitting your design to a company to print the usual rule is that the design resolution should be in proportion to the scale. So if your design is a 1:1 scale of the actual banner size it should be set to 100dpi, but if it is 1:4 then it should be set to 400dpi. Go here for more information on resolution.

9. Make it memorable. Using the above tips such as colour, message and adding a photo, you have the key ingredients to make a great looking banner. Remember that at an exhibition or trade show the majority of your competitors will be using one, so it is crucial to make your one stand out from the crowd. The use of a clever slogan, eye-catching picture or an offer that can’t be passed up could be effective in making sure that your banner sticks in people’s minds once they’ve left the event.

10. Increase your design knowledge. By reading this article, you are on your way to improving your banner design skills. The Internet is a goldmine of information; it’s just a case of filtering the useful from the useless. Here is a great site to get you started.

Hopefully you found some of these tips useful, check back here for updates on our banner design service and other guides.