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Trade show and exhibit lighting : The Do's and Don'ts

by Jessica Bott September 07, 2018

Trade show and exhibit lighting : The Do's and Don'ts

Trade show and exhibit lighting is designed to catch the visitor’s eyes with perfectly illuminated products that are on display. It also reflects a brand’s identity. And is not entirely guesswork. There are standards and guidelines that can help you choose the right lighting for your exhibits. This article will shed light on the basic do’s and don’ts of exhibition and trade show lighting.

Before we delve into the topic, let us understand some vital facts about lights and lamps. This bit of technical information (practical and comprehensible) will guide you towards showcasing your products in the best lights for the upcoming trade shows.

Basics of Trade Show Lights

Lights can be categorized into three categories. Each type has its own pros and cons and is suitable for different purposes.

  1. Halogen lamp (regular light output, high power consumption)
  2. Gas discharge lamp(high light output, regular power consumption)
  3. LED lamp (high light output per Watt, but low light output in total)
    These lamps differ based on three main properties:
  • Power Consumption (in Watts)
  • Light Output (in Lumens)
  • Color Temperature (in Kelvin)

Remember that a lamp having higher power consumption doesn’t necessarily produce higher light output. So, for trade show lighting, look for a lamp with lower power consumption, higher light output, and color temperature between 2700 Kelvin and 3000 Kelvin.

Do’s and Don’ts of Trade show and Exhibit Lighting

  1. Choose different lamp types for illuminating different objects

Halogen lamps, in general, consume maximum power and produce lower lumens and more heat, as compared to LED lamps and gas discharge lamps. They should be used for illuminating banners and logos. Gas discharge lamps should be used for illuminating booth and floor.

LED lights, though having a long life and lowest power consumption, should mostly be used for ornamental purposes. LED lights require hefty investment but have great clarity and shelf life. The pay off for their steep cost is the savings you will make owing to lower replacement cost.

  1. Set the right tone using lamps with optimal color temperature

Color temperature of lamps you use is as important as its light output. Using appropriate color tones you can strike a balance between products displayed and mood in the exhibit area. Booths displaying a lot of white or light-colored paraphernalia should be illuminated using bright lights with color temperature of about 3000 Kelvin. For dark-colored exhibits or booth interiors, use less bright lights with lower color temperature (up to 2700 Kelvin).

Use the chart below to decide the hues for your booth:

  1. Invest in good quality lighting equipment

Trying to cut costs by renting or purchasing low quality lighting equipment can have dire consequences. Lighting in tradeshows can really make or break your product. There really is no point in putting up a poor show using shoddy lighting if it’s not going to grab any eyeballs. It’s advisable to purchase lamps and equipment instead of renting them, since they can be reused in subsequent events and recover their investment cost.

Brex Lighting offers a wide range of outdoor and indoor lamps and lighting equipment at competitive prices. We also offer special dealer discounts, plus free shipping on all orders. Download our comprehensive product catalogue here.

4. Be innovative  but don’t go overboard

Color-changing lights, LED stem lights, backlighting; there are numerous ways in which you can experiment with lighting in your booth. The aim is to attract visitors’ attention and make your booth stand out from the crowd.

A word of caution here: do not go into an experimentation overdrive. Too many color changes, very bright lights, or lights with high color temperature are all a big no-no. Your lighting should not distract attention away from the exhibited products.

Be subtle in your approach. Soft hues for backlighting, color-changing lamps to illuminate monitors and 3D logos are a great way to draw attention. Lighting should aid in creating a memorable experience in your booth so that it's etched in the visitor's mind.

  1. Use the right amount of lighting

How many lamps do you need for your booth? You need to decide on this at the outset. Using too many lights can give a hot, cramped appearance and can even lead to overheating-caused fire hazard.

Insufficient lighting can give a lackluster appearance to your booth. A lot of variables go into deciding the number of lamps you need to put up. Size of the booth, booth layout, available space (after factoring in transformers, light support fixtures, dimmers, switches, etc) are some important parameters event designers need to consider.




Jessica Bott
Jessica Bott

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