In November 2017, I attended Medica, the world’s largest medical trade fair hosted in Düsseldorf, Germany. It was fascinating to see how science and technology companies showcased their innovations to drive new business and collaborations.

So here are five design elements that impressed me the most at Medica:

1. Themed wallpaper

With hundreds of stands to navigate through, you could easily get lost amongst the white backgrounds. One stand stood out in particular due to its contrasting approach to exhibiting. The walls of the exhibition stand were covered in a forest themed wallpaper, which I think complimented the Life Sciences stand very well. The distinctive design also acted as a signpost, which helped with the navigation around Medica. It also meant, of course, that you could easily spot the stand if you wanted to return to it for more information.

2. Animation

Being at a fair with such a buzz, it is difficult to focus your attention. The stands that showcased their products and technology using animation did catch my eye. As humans, we are innately attracted to everything that moves, as it indicates a change in circumstance. At Medica, the animations helped me engage with the technology, because they clearly demonstrated the applications and benefits of the products.

3. Icons

As I was walking around different stands, it was sometimes difficult to pinpoint exactly the sector that each company worked in. I found it particularly useful when companies displayed specific icons, which for example, indicated that the product was used in Hepatology, Oncology and Toxicology. This, in turn, would also likely increase the number of meaningful conversations at their stands, because they would attract more of a receptive audience.

4. Interactive eBooks

At fairs, it is often the case that your potential visitor is interested in finding out more about your company, however, is unsure of how to best approach you. Displaying an interactive eBook on the outskirts of your stand invites a visitor to interact with your stand without feeling committed to a conversation. An interactive eBook has benefits that are twofold. Firstly, the visitor can explore the range of products that you offer whilst you are occupied talking to another potential customer. Secondly, when the visitor would like to engage with you, you can then have a meaningful conversation with them and use the animation in your eBook to visually explain your technology.

4. Snappy Copywriting

Can you explain your company in ten words? Science and technology companies are usually highly complex due to their innovative approach and so it is not uncommon to need more than ten words to explain what you do. However, it is important not to cover your stand walls with lots of words, as this can be highly distracting for the visitor. The typography used on stand walls should invite conversation, be concise and surrounded by areas of ‘white space’ (space around the design elements). The stands at Medica that felt engaging usually had a strapline with some graphics or photography on their stand walls.

Exhibition design is a craft in itself; from strategy to design to delivery. Improving your exhibition stand is not always about spending more money, it is about spending your resources in the right way to increase the number of meaningful conversations at your stand. If you would like to find out more about how I can help you refine your exhibition stand, then please get in touch: hello@janinaneumanndesign.co.uk.