How exhibit design and lighting work together
One of the most important elements of exhibit design that far too many people fail to pay enough attention to is lighting. On the surface, it's easy to see why - trade shows in particular tend to be bright environments with harsh overhead lighting thanks to the fact that there are hundreds or even thousands of people who need to be able to see where they're going at any given moment.
But remember that your exhibit is an intimate space and if used properly, lighting can actually be a really positive way to accentuate what you're trying to accomplish.
A Big, Bright First Impression
One of the best ways that lighting and exhibit design work together has to do with attracting attention to your space in the first place. If the old saying of "you can only make one first impression so you need to make it a good one" is true, lighting is about to become the best friend you’ve ever had.
When you and your competitors are working within the same spatial restrictions and are competing for the same audience, more appealing and more immediate lighting can absolutely work to your advantage. It can help create a sense of excitement if used properly. It will show off the product or service you're selling in a whole new light - literally and figuratively.
Look at what your closest competitors are doing as far as their exhibit design. Lighting is one of the best ways to immediately differentiate yourself from those competitors AND attract the right kind of attention in one fell swoop.
Lighting and Your Emotions
Perhaps the most powerful way that exhibit design and lighting work together in a trade show, however, has to do with the emotions that a person is BRINGING INTO that ever-important first impression. Many people don't realize that lighting doesn't just affect whether or not your booth stands out - it can actually change the mood someone has when they walk over to your exhibit and say "hello" for the first time.
Based on the idea that people are generally happier and more optimistic on sunny days than they are on cloudy ones, researchers at the Journal of Consumer Psychology got to work on a series of experiments. They ultimately found that when people were exposed to more intense lighting, their emotions were stronger in a variety of interesting ways.
Out of all the participants in the study who were exposed to brighter lighting, the emotions they felt when tasked with making decisions were more intense. If they were asked to pick between a regular sauce and a spicy sauce for a taste test, they vastly preferred the spicy sauce. If they were asked to describe a picture of an attractive person, the people exposed to the more dramatic lighting almost always described the picture in much more powerful, positive terms than ones who weren't.
It's easy to see how you can incorporate lighting into your exhibit design to use these ideas to your advantage. Exposing people to strategically designed bright lights won't just make them more willing to stop by your exhibit in the first place, but they'll be happier to spend more time there. They'll be more willing to engage in product demonstrations. They'll be more eager to listen to what you have to say. They may even be more willing to close a deal right there on the trade show floor.
In the End
These are just a few of the powerful ways that exhibit design and lighting work together to create a positive experience that your target audience won't be able to ignore. Remember that using lighting to stand out from a crowd is a great step in the right direction. By thinking strategically you can use lighting to help enhance your ultimate message, and your audience's willingness to hear it in the first place.