How can you assess a stand layout/design? The communications and image aspect is a logical criterion, but the practical aspects of a stand are not to be overlooked. The following six basic stand layouts should assist you in evaluating the practicality of a stand’s design. The tower stand consists of a large and high central unit that is surrounded by a series of separate elements. The tower is often adorned with the company’s name and/or key message. The separate elements can be used as reception desk, kiosk, product display unit, catering corner or demonstration station. Visually speaking, this kind of stand is very compelling. It grabs one’s attention from afar and the messaging is visible from all directions. The tower stand is especially suitable for those who wish to display several products, divisions or brands under one company umbrella. The disadvantage is that the central element can be obstructive. It may hamper the visitor’s ability to grasp the link between the different company messages. The layout can also drive the visitors towards the central aisles, which can, in turn, prevent other attendees from entering the stand.
What is characteristic of a centrepiece stand is that it is set up in such a way that all attention is drawn to a single focal point. This stand type puts the spotlight on a central product or message. This stand type is particularly suitable for those who are presenting one product or message. It is important that the star product/message is sufficiently noteworthy to merit all the attention; otherwise this stand design could be counter productive. The likelihood of your product/message leaving a long lasting impression is quite high. Thanks to the alluring focal point, visitors will be tempted to walk into the stand. Keep in mind that a large number of visitors can easily impede the view of other onlookers.
The theatre stand has been designed for the giving or showing of a presentation. Typically it consists of a half-open theatre setup combined with a section dedicated to displaying products or the provision of further information. In the theatre stand, all attention is directed towards the presentation. Therefore, it is essential that the presentation is frequently given and that it is interesting enough to warrant attention. The theatre section needs to be designed in such a way that it also has appeal during the intervals. One of the advantages of this stand is that attendees can discretely listen in from the central aisles. To target these onlookers, it is a good idea to display a supporting message or graphic on the (back) panel of the presentation section. The disadvantage is that most people (also those seated in the audience) tend to vanish quite quickly once the presentation comes to an end. It is up to the stand staff to prevent this collective escape; otherwise they run the risk that the products displayed elsewhere in the stand will be overshadowed and ignored. Try to avoid a setup whereby the back of the ‘theatre’ is directly adjacent to the central aisle; a completely closed-off wall can be perceived as being uninviting. If you don’t have much of a choice then at least make sure it is fitted with a gripping message or image.
The club stand is a closed or semi-closed stand with exterior ‘walls’ consisting of panelling or curtains. This design piques one’s curiosity and creates an atmosphere of intimacy. It is crucial that this kind of stand contains something with a wow-factor or makes the visitors feel pampered. Expectations for this kind of stand are high. The club stand often functions as a hospitality stand. By opting for one or two entrances you can carry out access control; this will generate a VIP-feeling amongst those who are admitted. It’s also useful for turning away less interesting visitors. By establishing some kind of route, you can automatically guide the visitors along all focal points. The outer walls are perfect for displaying large visuals and messages, but take care to not end up with a fussy effect. This stand type doesn’t draw in crowds of passers-by. Many visitors are reticent to enter a closed-off stand.
The circle stand is comprised of a collection of shapes, activities and elements, whereby a circular shape forms the basis. This tends to lend the stand a hip and trendy feel. The stand invites visitors to come on in and explore. This layout is often used by creative companies or businesses who want to exude a contemporary look. The circle stand makes it possible to disperse various messages or display different products. There are no obstacles adjacent to the aisles, which makes this a very inviting design. You do, however, need to ask yourself whether this kind of modern/creative stand would suit your company, brand or product. Seeing as all elements are equally important, it can be challenging to create a central focal point. It may also be necessary to offer the visitors some guidance so that they don’t miss out on any messages/products.
In a plaza stand, all large elements (if any) are placed to the sides. The stand’s centre offers ample space for enjoying relaxed discussions and for viewing products. When visitors enter your stand, they are engulfed in your world whilst also being free to come and go as they please. The strength of this design lies in the open and airy structure. Make good use of that open space and don’t get tempted into filling it up. The open and informal character of the plaza stand attracts many visitors to come in and have a look. With one glance they can identify themselves with the company and/or products; if not they will wander off again. This results in a natural selection of interested prospects taking place. On the downside, this stand layout can be challenging for controlling the traffic flow. The relatively large scale implies that visitors can walk in and out in an incognito fashion without any contact being established with the staff. Visitors are drawn towards the centre of the space, which means that any products displayed there will be hidden from view for passers-by in the aisles. Please note that the above stand types are standard designs that, in practice, come in many shapes, sizes and variations which can also be combined with other types of stands. The above mentioned information is provided to serve as guidance for when you are assessing a stand’s practical aspects.