Trade Show Layouts Explained

First, let me say that there are no right or wrong answers to designing your trade show layout, there are only different levels of success. Depending on your individual goals for your trade show, one of these layouts may be better than another.

Let’s first assume that all of these examples occupy the same square footage. Size is not a consideration, just the layout. For these examples, let’s use 400 square feet.

Island Layout: 20′ x 20′

This layout is exactly what it sounds like. Your purchased booth space is surrounded on all sides by aisles. If your booth space is a square, it is also a diamond and there are benefits to a layout utilizing your four corners. Mainly, hi-lighting several products or kiosks apart from the center of your booth. Many Islands utilize a central tower which doubles (depending on the size) as storage, conference rooms or visual presence. The Pros: Most familiar layout options and great for exterior kiosks. Center tower offers strong visual presence. There is not really a “back” to your booth. The Cons: This layout requires careful staffing to be sure visitors don’t just hover around the perimeter, never to commit to entering your booth.

Peninsula Layout: 20′ x 20′

Usually found on the end of a row of inline displays, a peninsula has special rules of line-of-sight and height to avoid encroachment onto neighboring booth space. As such, the general layout for a peninsula usually places a low meeting or storage space on the back wall, and opens to two corners where you might be allowed a bit more freedom of height. The Pros: This layout usually offers a nice open center feel. The Cons: Your booth has only three sides. Not much flexibility in layout or height and lots of rules.

Club Layout: 20′ x 20′

You want to be part of our club? Well, you have to get past our doorman! This can be good and bad for your attendees. Some will feel special, others will feel trapped. The Pros: Lots of walls mean lots of space for graphics. Tall walls will cut out exterior noise. The Cons: Attendees will either feel special and protected or intimidated and trapped. Understand your audience before using this layout.

Inline Layout: 10′ x 40′

Just as the description suggests, this layout is typically a long line of booth space about 10′ deep. Your back wall height is usually limited to about 8′ and there are some restrictions for line of sight. The Pros: Lots of aisle space means your audience will have a long time to walk past your booth to decide to commit. The wall space is great for small product display. Less expensive to build structure. The Cons: Low height makes it hard to stand-out. Not good for large product or machinery.

Plaza Layout: 20′ x 20′

This layout is basically very open and offers a minimal approach to booth space. No one element is more important than another. This layout could be described as the opposite of The Club. The Pros: The open space encourages visitors to wander and explore. The Cons: This layout encourages visitors to wander and leave.