What will 2017 bring for exhibition stand design and function? Technology is making a big splash with augmented reality and digital swag, and these trends will become even more popular in 2017. And in design, it’s all about sustainability, with recyclable materials and modular designs that can be reused multiple times.
1) Augmented Reality
Augmented reality is a huge hit in printed advertising, and has great potential for making highly engaging exhibition content. If you’re not sure about the power of augmented reality, just look at how the launch of Pokemon Go affected the leisure habits of tens of millions of people worldwide!
In advertising and exhibition stands, augmented reality can massively increase audience engagement. The combination of digital and physical elements are intensely intriguing, and can the novelty aspect is sure to make AR a big hit in 2017. See our previous article about AR in print marketing to see some examples of how it works.
2) Digital Swag
Trade show and exhibition visitors always come away with huge piles of swag: items such as key rings, stickers, badges, pens, and other branded items that last approximately a day before getting lost or thrown away. We all like to think that our item will be the one that gets saved and used constantly, but every other exhibitor is likely thinking the same thing.
Exhibitors are always looking for that next big thing that will make their swag stand out from everyone else’s, and going digital might just be the way to do it. One simple way to do this is with customised USB drives that contain digital content—company information, interactive apps, discount vouchers, and other freebies that extend your engagement with visitors.
Going digital is also great for improving the sustainability of your stand, which is another trend that’s sure to be big in 2017.
Gamification is the practice of applying the mechanics of game design to marketing. It works by giving people incentives and motivation to engage with a brand in a way that benefits the brand. A classic example of gamification are credit card and supermarket rewards programs, which provide users with rewards when they make purchases.
How can the principles of gamification be applied to exhibition stand design? It doesn’t have to be about adding flashy elements like virtual reality, and it’s definitely not about adding gaming consoles to your exhibition stand! Instead, what you’re doing is looking at the different elements of gaming and seeing how you can use them in the design of your exhibition stand. For instance, an app such as a puzzle, quiz, or a simple game, gives users the chance to have a bit of fun while they learn about the company and your latest products. For added value provide an option that two people can play at once, to add a competitive element.
4) Sustainable Design
Sustainable display stand design is all about two thinks: working with stands that have reusable elements, and stands that are made from sustainable materials. It’s not necessarily easy to find companies that make stands from sustainable materials just yet, but this is something that’s sure to get easier with time.
Currently, the most viable way to make your exhibition stand more sustainable is to work with the reusability angle. One way to do this is with modular exhibition stands, which consist of multiple pieces that can be configured in multiple different ways. Using modular display stands means a set of modules can fit into spaces of different sizes and shapes, and can be used over and over again. For instance, you can use a modular exhibition stand at a small show in Manchester, and then for an entirely different space at a London exhibition. So, not only are modular stands more affordable—and more versatile—they’re also perfect for stand owners with sustainability in mind.
The use of modular exhibition designs also makes it easier to take advantage of the zoning concept in stand design. It’s something that’s often used in exhibition work, but the increasing use of digital and AR technology is sure to make zoning and even more popular concept.
Zoning is a pretty simple idea: you take the space you have and use design features and modular components to separate it into different zones. Each zone showcases a single product or has a single identifiable function; for example, an interactive zone with AR features can sit side-by-side with a sit-down area for conversations. This provides an overall design that’s simple, clean, and cohesive, and is a useful tool that helps staff tending the stand identify what visitors are most interested in.