Anyone who has ever attended a trade show knows that it’s easy for a tabletop display in a small 10’x10′ space to get overlooked, compared to the larger more prominent displays consisting of 20’x 30′ high costing towers and island exhibits. Even so, with a little planning and using the following tips, you can make your tabletop display stand out from the crowd.

1. Planning

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” –Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Give yourself enough time to plan. Usually 6 months to a year in advance. With today’s supply shortages you might want to give yourself an extended amount of time and call suppliers to see what materials will be delayed. Additionally, planning in advance means that you have more than enough time to deal with any roadblocks or speed bumps that might come your way and perhaps book the prime corner booth or space that has the best access to busy crowds.

2. Use an Image Backdrop to Convey Your Message

We’ve all heard that a picture is worth a thousand words. New research from the University of California, San Diego shows that a single picture has the power to sway people, while a single word does not. Even a picture that’s barely seen, flashed on a screen for only 10 milliseconds, seems able to alter behavior. Pick the best image that will establish your brand and convey your goals.

3. Avoid Using too Many Images

Why do excessive images confuse people? This can be associated with a common cognitive tendency known as analysis paralysis. When we are presented with too many possibilities, our brain tends to shut down and a decision or action is never taken. With this in mind, one big provocative image set up as the backdrop for your display may grab more attention than several small pictures.

4. Keep Your Message Short and to the Point

In the same way that you don’t want to overload your display with images, you also don’t want to overload it with tons of text. Display text is for attention-grabbing. Few people will want to read long passages unless their interests are already sparked. This is where brochures, in person discussions and handouts come into play. But, when walking by a display people generally are drawn in by catchy phrases that are easy to read. Another tip is to make sure your text can be read from a distance. I don’t know how many times I have seen posters where I cannot make out the headline. Download the formula for type size distance readability.

5. Grab Attention with Color

Color is a powerful tool that can enhance your message and branding. Colors convey emotions. You may already have branding colors, but if not, choose a color that best describes your branding message. By the same token, to help your tabletop display stand out, consider purchasing a custom made tablecloth. A brightly colored table throw is an inexpensive tool that will make your display look more professional. Make sure your logo and brand are displayed for added impact. It can even help your space seem larger. Not only will this provide a visual attraction, it can hide whatever clutter you have.

6. Eliminate Clutter

Speaking of clutter, anything that does not define your goals should be removed from sight. Untidiness will draw eyes away from your display leading to distraction and putting off potential customers. A tablecloth is a great way for hiding clutter such as boxes of brochures, sales materials, and personal items.

7. Technology Power

To best utilize the limited space on your table, consider setting up touchscreen kiosks as a part of your display. Videos explaining your products will de-clutter your space and provide helpful information about your products and services. Sales people using tablets can easily gather leads and take down valuable information from potential clients.

8. Staff Interaction Plan

To compete with the bigger displays, a great strategy is to train your sales staff with a goal to attract more people to your booth. Whether it’s a planned script such as a little performance or dressing up in costume, some additional interactions must take place to compete with the larger more appealing displays. Read our blog on “4 Specific Experiential Marketing Examples of How your Next Trade Show Can be A Success.”

9. Think Inside The Box

Let’s face it, a 10′ x 10′ space is small. For this reason, if you need furniture, use smaller tables and chairs to make your space seem bigger. Make attendee’s comfort your priority. If you can find the space in your booth for it, consider creating a lounge area with comfortable chairs and charging stations. This is certain to be a big draw at an event where people are constantly on their feet or on their phones. Engage every sense. You already have the visuals, how about soothing music, the sense of smell, touch, and taste. Aromatherapy scents can give your booth a freshness that other booths may lack. If you want to keep visitors milling around your booth for a while, have servers walking around with trays of refreshing drinks and delicious snacks for them to enjoy. As they hang around your booth waiting to quench their thirst, you can engage with them and give them your well-rehearsed pitch.

10. Swag

A single bowl of breath mints is definitely not going to cut it. Now’s the time to get creative with your gifts and merchandise. Remember, you want to give visitors something that is useful and reminds them of your services. Take a look at our blog on the best swag for 2022. Some popular 2022 giveaways include: reusable grocery bags, hand sanitizer, the touch tool, stress balls and webcam covers.


To sum it up, putting together an attractive, memorable tabletop display for trade shows might seem intimidating at first, especially if your competitor’s exhibits are larger than life. If you adhere to these helpful tips, you’ll be able to create a spectacular display that may be easier and more affordable than you originally thought. If you need more help putting together a high-quality, portable tabletop display for your upcoming events, KatArt Visuals can help.

Article written by Michael Gugliotto

Download ID Badge #3 Template

Download ID Badge #2 Template

Download ID Badge #1 Template

Get the Trade show Exhibitor Booth Checklist

Get the Psychology of Color Chart

Get the Document