Regardless of what kind of show you're attending -- indoors or outdoors -- formal or informal, your trade show display will have some very common elements with others. Review these elements when renting or purchasing trade show space and displays.
- Walls. Usually there are some walls to provide a visual and physical divider between your display and those around you. Walls are often pipe-and-drape, but can also be tent sides or panels. Walls are usually 10-feet wide and seven feet tall. Since most trade show "walls" are little more than fabric, don't plan on leaning anything against them or hanging things from them.
- Flooring. Standing around a trade show booth all day can be tiring on the feet. Studies show that adding a little carpet and padding to the booth floor gets people to spend more time in your booth. You might want to consider everything from building a floor (or riser), to mats, carpet, padding, or other floor coverings.
- Displays. Trade show displays can go in the booth, on the booth, or stand on their own. Most displays involve custom-printed advertising materials attached to lightweight, collapsible frames. Displays tend to come in standard dimensions, such as multiples of two feet in width, and from three feet to seven feet tall.
- Lighting. The lighting at trade shows is unpredictable, so vendors are used to bringing their own lighting setup with them. Almost all trade shows require the additional purchase of electrical service at your booth, and may have severe limits on how many watts of energy you are allowed to pull. A common restriction is no more than 300 watts total per 10-foot by 10-foot space. That's five 60-watt lightbulbs. Depending on the show host's rules, you may have to find ingenious ways of using low-wattage light fixtures. And you might have to provide your own electricity to power lights with a generator or batteries.
- Furniture. Most booths need some furniture, such as round tables for holding meetings, or display tables for literature. You may need "spinners" or other literature racks. You may want counters capable of holding computers. You should consider chairs for booth workers and booth visitors. Then there are little things like a lockable storage unit, a trash can, and maybe even a refrigerator.