Designing Exhibits for Diverse Brands

April 26

Branding a multifaceted company is one of the most difficult tasks a designer can face. These companies feature products that superficially appear to have nothing in common, yet one message is expected to be clearly communicated throughout each and every product line. The challenge for building a trade show booth for these companies is no less daunting, but it can be achieved by sticking to the basics.

Exhibits are obviously built to showcase products or services. As a result, booths must be designed to present these products in an enticing manner. That doesn’t mean however that the booth’s design principles should be dictated entirely by the products. Instead, the company’s overall core brand values should command the design principles

The following images are booths for the same company, but entirely different products are being showcased.

Trade Show Exhibit Victorinox 5
Custom Trade Show Display Suunto

Victorinox, the maker of Swiss Army Knives, is a company as diverse as its beloved multi-tool we all know. Even though the above booths for Victorinox showcase entirely different products, there is still a clear sense of unity between both displays. The cohesion extends beyond the obvious use of the company’s logo.

The Victorinox brand prides itself on being practical, functional and rugged. The overall design principles of both booths are set by these defining values regardless of the products being showcased. The most prominent material in the exhibits is unfinished wood, which is a direct reflection of all three identifying traits. The wood is used in consistent ways throughout both displays and is even held together by the same brackets.

The graphics and other imagery used are also consistent between both booths. The images hype the brand’s identity and not necessarily products themselves. For example, a Swiss Army Knife is displayed in the luggage booth even though there are no knives on display. The iconic image cements the brand identity into the exhibit.

Overall it sounds easy to keep the brand’s identity running throughout all product lines; however, it can be extremely tempting to let certain products’ features influence sections of the booth. Giving into this temptation too often can result in fragmentation and confusion. It is okay to design specific display elements such as display cases, pedestals or risers that will best show off the product. It is essential though to make sure these display elements are designed and built adhering to strict design principles that are ultimately set by the brand’s core values.