Getting the best from your exhibition stand lighting

Finished design of a stand

So you’ve booked your space at a key industry event. You’ve commissioned your exhibition stand, designed your graphics and ordered your furniture. It’s all too easy to get caught up in the exhibition stand design and functionality. But have you considered what kind of lighting you want? If you want to maximise impact and draw visitors to your stand, the way in which your stand and displays are lit is crucial.

By carefully considering the different exhibition stand lighting options and techniques available, exhibitors can truly transform an exhibition space, creating inspirational spaces that stand out from the crowd and deliver real ROI. Having invested in a great-looking stand, you want to make sure that you create an impact and effect that entices visitors to engage with you and your products.

Increasingly, exhibitors and exhibition stand designers are looking to the retail environment for inspiration, which makes sense when you think about it. In essence, exhibitions are high-pressure sales environments where you use lighting to best display your products, capture attention, increase dwell time and improve conversion rates.

When choosing your lighting, use it to create the mood you’d like on your stand, as you would do in your home. Likewise, think in terms of all three dimensions of your stand. As with a room in your house, there isn’t just a light on the ceiling. You might also have lamps on the walls, ceiling and floors which light certain areas of the room.

So, what are the options when it comes to standard LED lighting? There are four colour temperatures (shades of white light) which are categorised as warm, natural (or neutral), day white and cool white. Which one you choose will depend on the mood you want to create and how much light is going to be emitted by other fixtures and fittings such as video walls, iPad and laptop screens.

Warm White is generally used in residential settings, has a pinkish-yellow hue and adds a sense of softness, making it ideal for the more relaxed areas of your stand such as any comfortable seating. Natural or Neutral White has a true white appearance, so it’s particularly good for illuminating graphics on a wall or creating an energetic feel in a particular area of your stand.

If you’re planning to demonstrate a product, then the industrial lighting effect of Day White is generally recommended. Alternatively, Cool White gives off a clean bright light with a bluish tinge and is often found in hospitals, so it’s the ideal light when showcasing technology.

Highlighting certain areas of your stand, such as branding or product displays, will naturally draw the eye to that particular area, so if you’re launching a new product it should take centre stage. Even on a bright stand, make sure that any featured element stands out above all others using spotlights which are small, unobtrusive and can be directed on a focal point.

If you want to create a striking illuminated exhibition stand that delivers maximum visual impact, consider using LED lightboxes. These come in all shapes and sizes and can be placed anywhere – freestanding columns at floor level, hanging from the walls, integrated into stand walls or double-sided boxes on a rig high above the stand.

Uplighter boxes are a different way to ‘wash’ a wall with light, a subtle and dramatic affect that helps create a mood or atmosphere. While LED strip lighting is a good way to ‘flood’ a whole wall with light and is particularly effective at illuminating graphics.

And if you really want to go to town with your lighting, consider neon signage, illuminated shelving, a combination of general and accented colour lighting, or if you’re particularly daring you could use lighting to change the look of your space throughout the day using programmable LEDs. But that’s for the really brave amongst you.

Smart man with glasses in black and whiteTom Rigby, Author

For over 20 years, Tom Rigbyhas helped businesses across the UK to find their voice and communicate their messages, in print and online, whether they want to generate sales, attract customers, inform stakeholders, educate the public or persuade them to join a cause. He is a published author and occasional contributor to a number of publications. www.tomrigby.com