How to design exhibition stand layouts that work

A great layout can really make all the difference in how effective your exhibition stand design will be. Whether you have a large plot or small stand space, the layout and visitor flow are key to making the stand work. This article will outline how we design exhibition stand layouts.

Designing the stand layout is the very first part of the stand design process, we work offline on this stage before looking at branding or opening any 3D modelling software.

The objective of this stage of the design process is to decide where the most important parts of the stand need to be on the floorplan, and how visitors will interact with these areas.

Decide the best orientation for the stand
Plan the main stand zones
Design the exhibition stand floorplan

Let’s get started…

Decide the best stand orientation

The first job is to decide the best way the stand should be pointing. Use the exhibition floorplan to figure out how visitors will approach the stand from the main aisles. Where are the show entrances, high traffic areas and catering zones? Look out for where the main competition will be too!

Draw arrows onto the floorplan to show the key viewing angles that need to be designed for.

Plan the main stand zones

Start by making a list of all the areas you’ll need on the exhibition stand. Here are a few ideas:

  • Meeting areas –High-level chairs use the least space, low seating is perfect for more informal meetings. Or would standing only work?
  • Product displays – How will you present your product or service? Will there be presentations or sampling?
  • Storage – will there be stock, giveaways, coats/bags to store for the team? Sometimes under counter storage is enough, but if there’s space on the plot a walk-in store built into one of the back walls is best.
    Tip – don’t forget to leave space for the mains power box and any AV controllers
  • Interactive zones – will there be any AV demo stations, interactive games or competitions on the stand?
  • Meet and greet – a reception counter create a clear point for visitors to approach the stand. These can also incorporate storage and are great for bringing the branding to the front of the stand.

Now we have the list of the main stand zones, we need to order it in order of importance, from most to least. We can use this list to determine how much space should be allocated to each zone.

Design the exhibition stand floorplan

Now’s the fun part – we can start working on the floorplan design of the exhibition stand.

How will visitors interact with the stand?

For this, it’s best to keep things simple! Before going to any computer design software – we start with simple paper cutouts and sketches of the key stand components and play with layouts. It’s really important to work to scale when working out how visitors will flow through the stand.

We’ve created a handy free ‘Exhibition Stand Floorplanner’ PDF, with scaled grid floorplan and basic CAD Blocks (Cardboard aided design) for common stand components. You can download it here– no need to enter your email!

Start by printing off the blank floorplan and draw on the dividing walls for the stand.

Now we can cut out the furniture blocks and lay them out on the stand floorplan. We’ll draw on any dividing walls and sketch in the walkways.

Top Tip: It’s important to leave enough room for people to pass by safely. We recommend leaving at least 1.5m – 2m space between each wall/furniture. In post COVID times, it would be a good idea to leave a little more space too.

Next Steps

You can now scan the floorplan to present to your team and share with your exhibition contractor!

Once you’re happy with the draft floorplan layout, it’s time to build the walls and create the stand in 3D.

If you’re looking for help with your stand design – we offer completely free exhibition stand design and quoting. Please email Dan Speich, head of projects and planning at [email protected] or call +44 (0)800 464 7974 to get started.

Get started with a free creative exhibition stand design

We’ll start with a 30 minute video call then you can leave it to us.

Our talented exhibition architects will create a custom exhibition stand design for you. We’ll then work with you to refine the design until you are 100% happy.

All stand designs come with a competitive quote with full breakdown of the project.

Prefer a call or email? You can reach us on
+44 (0)800 4647974 or [email protected]

Five Great Shell Scheme Stand Ideas on a Budget

Looking for Shell Scheme stand ideas in 2022 but on a tight budget for the show? To make a great stand you don’t have to spend a fortune, all it takes is a little time, creativity and effort to make your stand pop.

Try to avoid anything that is too bespoke as this can quickly use a large chunk of your budget. Instead, look for new ways to use pre-designed products or things you already have. Every stand needs one ‘hero’ piece, this should be reusable for other events and even stored in your offices or showroom. Counters, shelving, lightboxes, logo panels all can be used outside of the stand. Paint in general is the easiest and least expensive way to transform off the shelf displays to match your brand.

There’s so much you can do with a little imagination. Here are some of our shell scheme stand ideas we’ve been used before to great effect!

1. Create furniture from SRPs


These eye-catching counters are a great place for visitors to stand and meet. There’s a simple wooden frame inside the wall of Shelf-Ready-Packs (SRPs) to support the table tops and to make the counter stable. We used spruce plywood, available in most hardware stores, to create the natural wood countertops. As the countertops are supported with the wooden frame, the SRPs can be opened for sampling and this area of the stand used for storage throughout the show.

2. Use Ikea shelving

Ikea makes some of the best designed (and affordable) white shelving available. Rude Health has used their FJÄLKINGE metal white shelves at countless shows – as the shelves are steel they are strong enough to take the weight of hundreds of packs and can be built and dismantled many many times.

The ubiquitous Kalax can’t be beaten as one of the cheapest big shelving walls around. They are best transported fully assembled, as they aren’t designed to be taken apart. Check the size of your van as these 10x square units only just fit in a Sprinter van! For this Full Green stand, we printed square graphics to fill random squares to brand some of the shelves.

3. Build portable exhibition counters

One of our favourite shell scheme stand ideas, these versatile box counters are great for creating a focal point on your shell scheme. They have open backs, which means you can store coats, bags and stock out of sight. As they have strong wheels, they can be used to transport the stock through the show hall. They are transported in the van fully assembled so you can fill them with stock, or other stand kit whilst in storage.

We build the counter units from plywood for lightness and strength, then brand the front and sides with printed graphic panels. These panels are fixed to the counters with Velcro so can be removed and kept safe whilst the units are in transit. The countertops can also be painted any brand colour.

If you’re looking for a good paint to brand your exhibition kit, consider Valspar Eggshell, available from B&Q. This paint can be mixed to match most brand colours, just take them a sample colour from a pack, brochure or Pantone book and they’ll scan and mix the paint while you wait. (We have no affiliation to B&Q!)

We also stock a range of off-the-shelf counters that can branded to your designs available here.

4. Install your own backdrop

The back walls of a shell scheme stand tend to look pretty awful if left unbranded. A quick and easy way of branding the backdrop to your stand is to use freestanding graphic walls. These graphics sit in front of the shell scheme posts and don’t damage the shell scheme in any way (you don’t want to make any damage and risk a hefty fine). The backdrops are easy to install and just as quick to take down, they fit in the boot of a car and can link together to create larger formats.

5. Bring your own furniture

Hiring furniture from the show organisers can be quite expensive, so if you’re going to more than one show it could make sense to buy your own. To save space in transit, we love these stylish stacking Tolix style stools. These stools can be spray painted to match your brand colour too!

We’re here to help

Looking for more shell scheme stand ideas? We’d love to help you with your stand design for your next event – we offer completely free stand design and quoting. Whether you’re looking for the whole stand service or just a part of the display, we can help.

We offer completely free exhibition shell scheme stand design and quoting. Please email Dan Speich, head of projects and planning at [email protected] or call +44 (0)800 464 7974 to get started.

Get started with a free creative exhibition stand design

We’ll start with a 30 minute video call then you can leave it to us.

Our talented exhibition architects will create a custom exhibition stand design for you. We’ll then work with you to refine the design until you are 100% happy.

All stand designs come with a competitive quote with full breakdown of the project.

Prefer a call or email? You can reach us on
+44 (0)800 4647974 or [email protected]

Lunch! Exhibition Stand Highlights

We always look forward to attending the Lunch! exhibition in September as it is a chance for many of our customers to refresh their stands, launch new products and take their exhibiting to the next level. lunch! is a unique trade show that brings together the entire food-to-go industry under one roof. Packed full of everything cafés, sandwich bars or coffee shops need to take their businesses to the next level – from delicious new food and drink and innovative packaging solutions.

This year we were fortunate to work with many returning customers as well as some new ones making for an interesting show full of fabulous and unique stands. We’ve pulled together some of our highlights from this year’s show.

Rude Health Lunch! Exhibition

Rude Health Lunch Exhibition Stand

We love working with Rude Health and this year designed and built this stand to showcase their Barrista range. The stand was a pop of colour and featured a call to the stand that could be seen all over the hall. See our case study on the Rude Health Lunch! stand here.


Propercorn

Last year we had the pleasure of designing and building the Propercorn stand and it was great to see this used again at lunch this year!


Properchips

Proper Chips Lunch Exhibition Stand

After the success of our Propercorn stand last year we were thrilled to work with them to create their stand for new product range Properchips. Our designer Richard worked to create sample stations that would enable easy sampling of the chips. You can find out more about this stand here.


Bells and Whistles

Bells and Whistles Lunch Exhibition Stand

Lunch! Gave us the opportunity to work with Bells of Lazonby for the first time, creating this clean and punchy stand. This stand really shows off the delicious products and draws in customers.


Tribe

Tribe Lunch Exhibition Stand

Working with Tribe at Lunch! This year we updated and refreshed their stand adding a gigantic Tribe Bar of a different flavour and updating the graphics to reflect this to make the stand fresh and vibrant for 2019.


The Food Doctor

Food Doctor Lunch Exhibition Stand

We were working with The Food Doctor for the first time at lunch and created this impactful stand including a sample station to allow for sampling of their new super snack range. The stand featured the bright colours of the packaging and drew the attention of attendees to the stand. Find out more here.


Rhythm 108

Our stand for Rhythm 108 combined elements that had been used in their wholefoods market window and that can be reused at their next events whilst giving an on-brand feeling of a swiss kitchen.


Califia

We created this stand for Califia for Lunch! Last year and it was great to install it again for them this year showing the clean and natural elements of the brand whilst welcoming visitors to the stand.


We’d love to help with your Lunch! Exhibition Stand Design. If you’re looking for help with your stand design – we offer completely free exhibition stand design and quoting. Please email Dan Speich, head of projects and planning at [email protected] or call +44 (0)800 464 7974 to get started.