Earlier this year we had the pleasure of working at The UK Food Shows  (UK Food Shows) at the NEC which was bursting at the seams with over 1,500 food and drink related exhibitors….a little bit like my jeans having enjoyed one too many of the delicious samples on offer! Whilst I mostly spent the week backstage at The Grocer Talking Shop Live theatre, either prepping for chefs or threading headset microphones onto various presenters, I did sneak in early one morning to have a good look around the exhibitor stands so here’s 3 that caught me eye!



We talk in our workshops about creating ‘Cool Spaces’ where people want to be seen – well a big thumbs up for California Raisins (CaliRaisins) who created this very on-trend American diner which certainly caught the eye of anyone walking past. From the neon ‘California’ sign to the checkerboard floor tiles and even the cakes being served, every small detail had been aligned to the theme to create an engaging space where visitors were more than happy to linger and chat to the team.



We often get asked how to make a big impact on a small budget for graphics and stand design – well Hippeas (Hippeas)  have nailed it with this one using their own packaging to line the walls of their stand. Being bright yellow helps and whilst some of the floor space is sacrificed for the depth of boxes, it’s more than worth it when you can re-enforce your brand identity so loudly and also ensure that when the product arrives with the customer they’ll instantly recognise it.


Bounce 2

We always advise making trade shows and exhibitions as much fun as you can – they’re really tough mentally, physically and emotionally so whatever you can do to inject a bit of humour always helps – so long as it’s on brand! And Bounce (Bounce ) had it bang on the money with their ‘Let’s Talk Balls’ theme – providing little balls of energy which kept thousands of flagging visitors going, the message was carried through into staff uniforms, literature and I’m sure their opening question was along the lines of ”Have you grabbed our balls before?” It’s great to see a brand showing off its personality and being a little cheeky in what was a fairly corporate environment especially when it aligns so perfectly to what’s actually been sold.

You might not have the budget of some of these established brands but as inspiration, what can you take away from what they’re doing well to apply to your own brand? We’ve worked with a range of stand designers over the years and regardless of budget their common advice is that your design should:

  1. Be aligned and consistent with your SMART Objectives
  2. Stand out and engage with visitors quickly
  3. Clearly & quickly communicate the solution that you provide for visitors
  4. Be open, welcoming and inclusive – avoid barriers, steps and high walls
  5. Inspire visitors to interact – use all 5 senses
  6. Offer different experiences for different visitors – dispatch passers-by and engage prospects
  7. Use a number of different media to appeal to preferences – traditional print, audio visual, virtual reality etc.
  8. Always be selling your solution not your product or service
  9. Avoid misleading or confusing visitors about your offer

In fairness, we had a tricky time narrowing it down to just 3 – in a hall of 1,500 exhibitors there were many brilliant examples of great executions – there were, as always some that were less brilliant and some as always, that didn’t even turn up! Hopefully, we’ve given you some food for thought!

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