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8 tips for designing effective shell scheme graphics
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By Beth McGarrick
31 Jul 2017
If you’re not a graphic designer yourself then you may need some help creating artwork that will work hard for you at your exhibition stand.
Even if you are a graphic designer, if you’ve not designed for exhibition stands before then there are a few factors to consider which are unique to the exhibition environment. Follow our tips below to help your graphic walls stand out from the crowd at your next exhibition.

1. Do your research

If you want to stand out from the crowd, then you need to know what the crowd looks like. Most exhibition sectors have a unique theme and approach to the graphics you’ll see at exhibitors’ stands. If you’re brave, then you can aim to break from this norm and you’ll instantly be more eye catching to visitors. If you’ve never been to this exhibition before, or any exhibition, then you can find plenty of pictures of the stands online via the event website and social media pages.

2. Be bold

Don’t overcomplicate your stand graphics with lengthy text or small images, keep text to a minimum and make your company name, USP and straplines large. The text you include in your artwork needs to be easily absorbed and memorable for maximum impact. Patterns and bold colours are not seen very often at business, finance, health or wedding exhibitions, so consider being bold with your colour and style choices (though be careful it doesn’t give you a headache during the long exhibition hours!)

3. Direct moods with colours

Colours can create subtle messages about your brand purpose and direct the visitor’s mood
which you need to harness and use to your advantage. Colours have an effect on visitors’ moods, with yellow being uplifting and blue calming, but they also give away subtle messages about your brand. In general, companies with blue branding are trustworthy, and orange branding is indicative of cheeriness. Consider the mood and messages your artwork will give away when covering your whole exhibition stand.

4. Use the panels to your advantage

If you opt for a non-seamless graphic then your artwork will be broken at 1m intervals by thin shell scheme poles. This can give you the opportunity to divide your artwork into different panels of text and images. We would recommend you avoid spacing text over more than one panel if you have opted for non-seamless. If you’ve gone for a seamless option then large images and wide text look great.

5. Be aware of your space

Be aware of what else will be on your exhibition stand. If you’re planning to have sofas, cupboards or counters backing onto the shell scheme walls then don’t hide your important messages and images in the bottom third of your artwork. Place your brand name near to the top of the artwork so it can be seen above the heads of visitors in and near your exhibition stand.

6. Inspect your images carefully

We’d highly recommend viewing each part of your chosen images at full scale, there may be elements you can’t see in a thumbnail, but that will appear when the image is 2m tall. You’ll also need to check that the images are high enough quality to still be crisp and sharp when blown up full scale.

7. Spell check, and check again

This seems like an obvious point, but there’s always scope for mistakes, no matter how brief the text on your artwork. You may be blind to the mistakes if you’ve been working on the artwork for a while, so send the copy to a colleague to check before submitting to the printer. Also keep an eye out for the grammar, the message portrayed can be drastically skewed by inaccurate grammar.

8. Cut unnecessary detail

Your shell scheme graphics have three roles to play, to attract visitors to your exhibition stand, to give your stand brand identity, and to inform about products – even this purpose isn’t vital. Anything not serving these three purposes should be cut out. Don’t add images just for the sake of it, if they’re not showing your product in action or vital to your brand identity then they’ll distract from the main message. Other text, such as your contact details, also isn’t necessary. Be brutal if needs be, but the simpler and bolder the artwork the better it’ll be at helping you stand out from your shell scheme neighbours.
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