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7 Trade Show Banner Design Tips

December 07, 2021

The end of the year is almost here, which means many Seattle businesses are gearing up and preparing a booth for an upcoming tradeshow in 2022. 

Trade show banners are cost-effective, easy to set up, and are an ideal way to generate interest in your business or organization. However, many trade show banners fall flat due to poor design choices.

Read on to learn more about the elements you should include in your trade show banner design.

Placement of Logo

Try to keep your company logo as close to the top as possible, especially if you’re designing a rectangular banner that will be displayed vertically. The upper part is where people’s eyes will first meet your banner.

The main message should go somewhere in the middle and at eye level. This will allow people to glance at your banner and instantly get the message without having to sit there and read a ton of text or visually sift through overly complex graphics.

Selection of Color

Choosing the right colors is one of the most important aspects of trade show banner design. If the colors that you’re using don’t match, the design will fall flat. Canva offers a free color wheel that will allow you to select complementary colors that will look good together. 

The general rule of thumb is that you want high-impact color combinations with high contrast when it comes to colors. This will allow your design to stand out while naturally drawing the attention of people’s eyeballs. 

Image Best Practices

When it comes to images, you should avoid the temptation to grab something off Google or Bing images. These pictures are most likely optimized for the web, meaning they are low resolution. That doesn’t translate well into print, and if you attempt to “blow up” the image to a bigger size, it will only look pixelated.

Try to only use high-quality and high-resolution images with a resolution of at least 300dpi (the more dpi, the better). Save your photos in the CMYK format, as it will help the printing process go a lot smoother. 

The type of file used to save your image can impact the final quality. Try to avoid .jpg and .gif formats as they are strictly for the web. Instead, .PNG formats are superior as they contain more information than an optimized-for-the-internet photo.

Flow of Words

Consider your audience when determining the placement of the text. For example, in the U.S., people read left-to-right and top-to-bottom. If you’re looking to attract international visitors to your booth, you might want to research how they tend to read and incorporate that reading flow into your design.

Overall Design

When it comes to banner design, you have around 1 second to capture someone’s attention and convey your message. That’s not a lot of time, and this is precisely why complicated designs don’t work well. 

People’s attention spans aren’t what they used to be, and nobody is going to sit there while attempting to digest your stunning but extremely complicated design visually. This is why the concept of white space is so important.


The final and arguably most important aspect of trade show banner design is the call-to-action (CTA). Ideally, you should include a PURL or QR Code so that attendees can instantly pull out their smartphone and get directed to a landing page of your choosing.

There are many different types of CTA, such as:

  • Stop by Booth #1845 for a Free Prize!
  • 20% off Today Only!
  • Learn More!
  • Check Out Our Website for More Info!

Measuring Success

There’s a reason why many businesses tend to fail with their trade show banners year after year. It’s because they don’t take the time to measure the success of their banners and other trade show materials. 

The single best way to improve foot traffic into your booth next year is to analyze and perform a post-mortem of the traffic into your booth from the current year. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What worked?
  • What didn’t work?
  • Did our CTAs generate more or less traffic to our website?
  • What can we do differently next year?

Some of the above questions might be a bit challenging to answer. This is why it pays to have a professional trade show banner design shop in your corner. At McNamara Signs, our in-house graphic designers will sit down with you and help design the ideal trade show banner that will maximize impressions and engagement.

Trade Show Signage and Marketing in Seattle

If you’ve been tasked with preparing a booth for the upcoming 2022 trade show season, get in touch with the experts at McNamara Signs. We have been helping Seattle businesses design and create the perfect tradeshow materials for well over 20 years. 

To learn more about how McNamara Signs can produce and design your next project, give us a call at (206) 284-0809 or send us an email.

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