Expos are a good way to showcase your brand. The prospects that attend these exhibitions are already a receptive audience. Their presence confirms their interest in your industry, possibly even in your brand, so they’re an easier sell than a random person on the street, at least in theory. However, expos host hundreds of competing brands, and after the first three or four, your prospects may glaze over everything else. After all, most booths look the same.
Colour is one way to make sure you stand out in the throng. Usually, in an expo situation, customers will find you through two scenarios. One, they came specifically to see you. Your brand was on their to-do lists of stalls to visit, so they made a deliberate effort to find your booth. Or two, something about your stand called them over. Audio-visual stands are a good way to attract sales prospects, so go beyond custom flags and make your booth pop.
At the centre of any corporate design project is the company colour scheme. Fortunately, this doesn’t have to be the only consideration. Yes, brand colours matter and are easily recognised, but expo displays offer some wiggle room. Let’s take the example of a banking expo. Every booth will represent a bank, and many banks veer towards deep blues and solid browns. Colour psychology suggests these colours evoke stability and trust.
So if you use the same dull, conservative colours as every other booth, how will prospects tell you apart? The trick is to employ your primary palette but tweak it to suit your purpose. You could – for example – use coloured lights or accessories like lampshades, vases, or napkins to shake up your standard company hues. The way you use these colours matters though. You could pick something similar or go for polar shades and hues.
Many designers and interior decorators base their decisions on the colour wheel. They might opt for complementary colours that are next to each other on the wheel. So – for example – if your primary brand colour is purple, you could play with shades of blue and red. Or if it’s yellow, you can toss in a little green or orange to go with it. The opposing approach is to use contrasting colours – the ones that appear opposite each other on the colour wheel.
That means yellow would go with purple, and orange would go with blue. Ideally, your main colour takes prominence, like on your backdrop, dais, or media wall. The other colours can be used in less aggressive doses – say a ribbon on a flower, or a stripe at the bottom of a banner. Maybe your staff can wear a t-shirt or blazer in your main colour, accessorised with a tie, scarf, or scrunchie in one of the ‘smaller’ colours.
Of course your colour choices don’t have to be this jarring. A graded colour scheme can be quite attractive too, especially in serial advertising like a string of buntings or a row of street pole banners. In this instance, an organisation whose main brand colour is red can play around with various shades of pink, peach, fuchsia, and coral. You can mix it in with a bit of white to heighten the effect. Option two is to keep ‘sunshine’ colours together.
To go with your red, mix in some yellows and oranges. They create a welcoming, cosy atmosphere and are thought to be open, stimulating colours, so they’re good choices for a sale or promotional offering. Some studies suggest warm colours are more persuasive. Yellow – for instance – is said to draw people in, so many post cards and post-its are yellow. Apparently, people read yellow notes more than any other colour.
At the other end of the spectrum, blues and greens are said to be soothing and calming, but also distancing. They show authority and trust, so they’re favoured by telcos and financial institutions. In your expo display, you could use cool colours for a rest area or waiting bay. It will placate their impatience and keep them alert to your brand message.
You could mix warm and cool to get the desired response from expo attendees. For example, an orange entrance beacon invites people into your cool green prepping room, where they can listen to catchy music as they wait their turn. Drizzle these tones into your standard brand palette, giving expo display more versatility and inviting guests to join in, mingle, and interact with your staffers.