Our New, Crowdsourced Design

Our 4 Final Concepts for Our New Trade Show Display
Our 4 Final Concepts for Our New Trade Show Display


We at FB Displays & Designs recently had an opportunity to interact with our clients in a unique way. In preparation of our participation at a few trade shows, our creative team (which is all of us) wanted new graphics to be used on one of our trade show displays. After several weeks of brainstorming & designing, we came up with ten concepts. Over the following week, we narrowed it down to four contenders. We came to the conclusion that everyone on our team liked all four finalists. With only a week until our first event, what were we to do?


This is where our story takes a creative twist: we decided to crowdsource our decision.* We sent an email to all of our clients & posted a poll on our social media sites, inviting our clients & followers to vote for their favorite concept.


We were pleasantly surprised by the high participation rate from our fans. In the end, there was a clear winner, (Design #1,) which we produced straightaway. Here’s how the vote totals broke down:


Design #1: 55%

Design #2: 17%

Design #3: 17%

Design #4: 11%


While Design #1 was the crowd favorite, #’s 2, 3 and 4 received the most passionate responses, including the following:


“For me # 4 is your best bet. It’s the most arresting/cool/ “check this out!” display in my opinion. And the words are not fighting with the background.”


I can’t automatically put 2 & 4 in a category or stereotype them because though my mind may try to find a file for them…when it can’t…I have to stop to think about what does this mean. My favorite is 2- just more gusto, spunk and power.”


We are thrilled to report that our experiment was a success. The amount of votes we received exceeded our expectations, and the feedback was an added bonus. And the rest, as they say, is history. At the SBA Expo on May 13th, we unveiled our new trade show display as chosen by our wonderful fans.


FB Displays Trade Show Booth
Our New Trade Show Display



Do you have an interesting story to tell us about your own design experience? We’d love to hear it-Please leave a comment, below. And to see more designs created by our team, visit our project gallery.


* Trained professionals performed this stunt. Don’t try it at home.


Written by Bill Henecke, Graphic Designer for FB Displays & Designs, Inc.

FB Displays and Designs trade show display

Use Words to Attract your Audience

Use Words to Attract your Audience to your Trade Show Booth

Every word can have a positive or negative impact on your marketing efforts, especially at trade shows… whether you are creating large graphics, sales material, pre-show marketing campaigns, or talking directly with a prospect.

Since exhibitors have less than 6 seconds to attract attendees to their booth, consistently choosing the “right” words becomes very important.

Below are a few proven marketing words to help you communicate more effectively and accomplish your goals at your next trade show.

#1: “YOU”

This is one of the most important words. Using the word “you” makes it easier to connect to your target audience and draw a direct line from your products/services to how they can provide a solution to your potential clients.

Selling is never about products or services.  It’s about the benefits that are meaningful to your target audience.

#2: “SAFE”

Whether you are dealing with money, health, personal well-being, technology or manufacturing, touting the safety of your product or service is important.

Potential clients do not want to take high risks to address challenges or needs with which they are already dealing. They want a trustworthy, easy solution so they can stop worrying.


It is important for prospects to connect your product or service with the results they are hoping to achieve.

Prospective buyers are looking for one thing: Results. You must communicate the results your products/services provide in all aspects of trade show marketing.

Although these three words are simple on their own, by adding them to a well-constructed message on your display graphics, in  your pre and post show marketing communication, on your sell sheets, and in verbal interaction with attendees, conversion rate and ROI will definitely improve.

Good luck!

Written by Francine Brooks, President of FB Displays & Designs, Inc.

Speaking at a Trade Show Without Saying a Word : The Power of Body Language

Photo Credit: http://savannahsbdc.blogspot.com

Most of us have heard at one time or another that over 90% of communication is non-verbal. We all give away hints as to how we feel without saying a word. When exhibiting at a trade show, it is imperative to be aware of what your body language says to a potential client. There are several things to keep in mind to appear approachable in this situation.


  • Making eye contact is the most crucial sign of interest in what a person is saying.  Eye contact shows that your attention is directed to the person with whom you are speaking. It also shows that you are honest and interested in what the other person has to say.


  • Crossed arms are a sign of defensiveness and hostility, which is the last feeling that you want to portray to a potential client. Standing with your hands on your hips is a sign of superiority, and would also not be the way to start a relationship with a client.


  • Finding the right proximity to a potential client can be tricky. You do not want to be far away from the person, yet you do not want to stand too close.  A good rule of thumb is to leave 2 feet of space between yourself and the person with whom you are speaking.


  • A simple smile can go a long way in making a potential client feel at ease when talking with you. Smiling gives of a feeling of warmth and implies a positive attitude.


  • Be conscious to not engage in any fidgeting while exhibiting. Biting your nails, shaking your leg, checking your cell phone, tapping your fingers, and other habits give the impression that you are either not interested in meeting with attendees, or nervous.


  • There is a belief that there is a link between speaking fast and deception. When speaking with a potential client, pace your speech to not only make sure that the other person is understanding what you are saying, but to show that you are being sincere and honest.


  • Sitting down when exhibiting is a definitive faux pas.  This position means the client has to bend down to speak with you, and gives the client the impression that you are not interested in making new contacts.


At a trade show, you only have a few seconds to make an impression on attendees passing by the display. While your display will be what catches their attention, positive body language demonstrated by the staff will invite potential clients to spend more time at your exhibit.

Lisa Shackelford is the Marketing Coordinator at FB Displays & Designs, Inc. 










Yes, You Still Need Business Cards

In these days of iPhones and e-mail contact lists, the humble paper business card may look like a relic, but if you think passing them out will signal you as hopelessly behind the curve, you would be mistaken.

In a world where so much communication happens electronically, the business card remains a valuable, tangible way to promote yourself and your company. The key is to produce cards that are memorable and informative, ones that can instantly sum up your brand in a glance.

While social media may get all the press hype, the vast majority of business interaction in this country still takes place face to face. Most business owners still interact with potential customers and partners personally at trade shows, networking events, dinners or informal social gatherings.

In all those instances, exchanging business cards remains a primary way to formalize your interaction. It helps the person you’ve met remember your name and the name of your business. In the best-case scenario, the person you meet keeps your card and adds you to their list of contacts, either by putting the card in a Rolodex or scanning it into an electronic database (the card itself will probably get tossed, but by then it has served its purpose). Either way, the card helped cement you and your business in the mind of the person you met.

Business cards may be a tried-and-true marketing device, but that’s not to say they haven’t changed with the times. The key is to keep your cards looking up-to-date but not overcrowded. Cards these days cram ever more information into a small space — in addition to the company name, address, phone number and email address, some people are adding their company’s website, Facebook fan page link and Twitter stream. The result is usually a visually confusing mess.

If you are active in social media, a better bet is to simply list your website. Then, on your site, add prominent links to social-media sites visitors can quickly access if they’re interested.

The days when your color choices were limited to white or cream are also long gone. Nowadays, cards come in full color, many with photographs, which can unfortunately lead many businesses to overcrowd their cards with logos and pictures. When designing a business card, think of it as a miniature introduction to you and your business. If you want to present yourself as innovative and forward thinking, then your card should be designed with a modern font and color palette.

By contrast, a simple, two-color business card sends its own message: that you and your company are traditional and no-frills. Even so, the card should include the standards of your e-mail address and website. Although creative types may be tempted to make their cards stand out by using nontraditional materials or shapes, make sure the finished product still fits easily into a standard wallet pocket. Also, avoid glossy paper, which makes it difficult for someone to scribble a note on the back.

Remember that business cards are not supposed to be hoarded and admired in private. Get in the habit of handing them out, which is easy if you have one you want to show off.

SOURCE: Elizabeth Blackwell, TheStreet.com

Creating a Successful Exhibit Without Breaking the Bank

While face-to-face marketing events have seen an increase in participation this year, many companies are still seeking the most cost-efficient ways to exhibit and effectively promote their brand. Even when budget is a concern, it’s still possible to have a great looking trade show display. Here are some simple and cost-free tips that are bound to bring more visitors to your booth:

Balance – Think Feng Shui

If you have a small trade show display, create a balanced background with the furniture and the display material by placing it in different locations of your booth space, instead of concentrating it in one area. You can achieve a sense of balance and comfort this way and your customers will feel more welcomed into your booth if it is free from clutter and appealing to the eye.

Furniture – Think small

Even though huge leather sofas are the most comfortable things in the world, do not put one in your booth. They are expensive and will take up too much space. Choose a few chairs instead with colors that compliment your display graphics as well as your company’s branding and identity. They are a perfect seating solution for having conversations with potential clients.

Lighting – Illuminate your brand

Lights are a great way to stand out from the crowd. Properly utilizing lights can help your trade show display look brighter and allow your message and branding to be better viewed from a distance. Illuminated displays will work wonders at drawing traffic to your booth.

Personnel – To hire, or not to hire

Instead of hiring expensive and untrained hosts to work your booth, use employees of your company. They understand the details of your products and services and will be better suited to answer any questions. In addition, it does not cost you a thing to ask them to smile. A genuine smile and a professional look can relay a positive image of your company and attract prospects.

The trade show display is, indeed, just one of the components involved in a successful marketing strategy, but if it is done right, and presented well it will send a lasting impression about the quality and individuality of your business, even on a small budget.

SOURCE: http://www.tradeshowtown.com

Destructive Design Decisions

These days, almost anyone can create graphics from their computer. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that those graphics will effectively convey their intended message or have any kind of visual impact on their target audience. Successful graphics begin with utilizing a series of good decisions. Too often, a design will be compromised due to a lack of judgment or too much focus on current creative trends. To prevent future designs from missing the mark, here’s a list of destructive decisions that all designers should avoid:

Please Stop Using a Rainbow as Your Company’s Colors

Some companies can’t make a decision. They use all the colors of the rainbow to communicate their visual brand. If you’re Binney & Smith’s Crayola crayons, you’re allowed. If you’re not, then it’s time to get choosy about how many colors you use.

Color can work either for your brand or against it. The way to make color work for your brand message is to pick two colors, and use them consistently in everything you do. You can expand this palette with background tints and an accent color, but nothing should replace your two main colors. Use them all over so that your audience will come to associate your two colors with your company.

Please Stop Dipping Into the Font Honey Pot

You don’t have to clutter your hard drive with thousands of fonts. You just need two. Pick two fonts that represent your business. If your business is traditional, or your company wants to look large and corporate, pick a classic serif font. If your company is contemporary, modern and high tech, pick a sans serif font. If you’re a little of both, try combining them.

Please Stop Adding Unnecessary Drop Shadows

There’s nothing wrong with drop shadows when they’re used to make things clearer. Normally, if you put either type or an image over a background and there’s not enough contrast to see the edges of the image that’s on top, adding a subtle drop shadow will help to define the edges. If there’s plenty of contrast already, then don’t add a drop shadow. It will only make your design look muddy and dark.

The best solution is to avoid picking colors or tints that will obligate you to use a drop shadow in order to see type or a shape. Drop shadows may be unavoidable at times, but you shouldn’t depend on them to make up for bad design decisions.

Please Stop Thinking Good Design Is About Visual Tricks

Good design is about communication. When you focus on communicating clearly and make all your design decisions with that filter in place, you won’t expect graphic trends to carry the weight of your brand. You’ll know that only clear copy and visuals will do that.

SOURCE: Pamela Wilson, BigBrandSystem.com

Think Outside the Box

I wanted to share a fantastic article in regards to creative problem solving and how we all think. I found this very enlightening and I hope you all do as well!

Today I am going to share with you a question I was asked in a job interview 8 years ago. This question really inspired me and changed my outlook on the way I thought and approached problems.

Question: You are driving along in your car on a wild, stormy night, it’s raining heavily, when suddenly you pass by a bus stop, and you see three people waiting for a bus:

1) An old lady who looks as if she is about to die,

2) An old friend who once saved your life,

3) The perfect partner you have been dreaming about.

Which one would you choose to offer a ride to if there could only be one passenger in your car? This is a moral/ethical dilemma, so let’s look at the options that were in my head at the time:

* You could pick up the old lady, because she is going to die, and thus you should save her first;

* or you could take the old friend because he once saved your life, and this would be the perfect chance to pay him back.

* However, you may never be able to find your perfect mate again.

I won’t tell you what answer I gave, but needless to say, I didn’t get the job. But I was intrigued, so I called back a week later and asked what the right answer was…

Here is what they told me:

The candidate who was hired gave this answer:

“I would give the car keys to my Old friend and let him take the lady to the hospital. I would stay behind and wait for the bus with the partner of my dreams.”

Sometimes, we gain more if we are able to give up our stubborn thought limitations. Never forget to “Think Outside the Box.”

SOURCE: Dean Hunt, www.deanhunt.com