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Trade Show Display Lighting: Draw Visitors Like Moths To A Flame

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Gorgeous trade show displays with great banners and interactive displays with all the bells and whistles can still fall flat at conventions or conferences if the lighting isn't right. Don't waste your company's precious marketing resources on a fabulous trade show installation only to see interest fizzle because it's poorly lit or doesn't sufficiently illuminate your core concepts or products. The right lighting in sufficient quantity is crucial if you really want to grab the attention of potential customers.

How Much Lighting Does The Venue Offer For Trade Show Exhibits?

Before investing in particular styles of lights, talk to your contacts at the venue or venues where you'll be using your exhibits. In some instances, there will be plenty of bright, overhead lighting, auxiliary lighting suspended over the aisles between booths, and even some spotlighting in key areas. Other venues may have minimal illumination that isn't really suited for setting off displays to their best advantage. Ask questions and, if possible, get a diagram of the available light as well as the floor plan.

Review the plans and take note of what the artificial illumination and natural light (if any) is like in and around your area to determine how much additional illumination you'll need and where you'll need it. In many cases, venue lighting is both harsh and insufficient. Providing plenty of your own illumination will amp up the attractiveness of your display. Next, familiarize yourself with the various advantages and disadvantages of the various styles of lights you can use for your trade show display so you can make an informed choice.

Ceramic Metal Halide

CMH, or ceramic metal halide, features bright, crisp lamps that provide plenty of brightness at low cost. You can save anywhere from 50% to 80% on electrical usage by choosing these lightweight lamps. The color is close to natural daylight, with a slight bluish tinge that gives them a more brilliant appearance. CMH lamps provide the brightest, longest lasting illumination for the money. The natural look is very appealing and tends to draw the eye.

Tube Halogen Illumination

These halogen lights have a tungsten filament and use anywhere from 50 to 200 watts for most trade show exhibits. They are brighter than incandescent bulbs and provide a natural wash of color that can be quite intense. It's a great way to illuminate custom graphics or a particular section of your trade show booth for maximum impact.


LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) are small lights that have huge impact when clustered together. They come in a nearly endless array of colors, giving you the option to mix and match colors to create an impressive, customized display. LEDs use very little power and are cool to the touch, making them ideal for trimming booths and illuminating walkways. Their easy installation is another plus.

Whichever style you choose, be sure to talk to an exhibit design expert about light options. He or she can steer you toward the styles that will work best with your particular trade show display and the various venues where you'll be exhibiting.
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