The Choice of Design
Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.
 – Steve Jobs


Activation design isn’t just about creating attractive booths; it’s about encouraging people to action – with attractive booths. A beautiful exhibit with captivating brand ambassadors that doesn’t achieve your goals is not as good as a display that is less artistic but more effective.

The principle of Form Follows Function asserts that purpose should be the starting point of design. It’s usually found in architecture and interior design but the idea is also relevant to activations. In this case, the event’s goals are its function and its design must use every element to further those objectives.


But what are these elements and how can it help attain your goals?


Graphics and Branding

Over 90 percent of the information processed by the human brain is visual. Images are the easiest way to grab attention. Find a method to stand out visually to make your booth memorable. Don’t be afraid to make cheesy or unfashionable design choices as long as it fits your goals and brand message. Remember that appearances are also influenced by the location and the lighting; keep them in mind when envisioning the final effect.



When confronted by something new, it’s natural for people to engage it in some way; use this curiosity to enable consumers to build positive interactions with your brand. Sounds, smells, and touch can support the visual elements – and if you’re an F&B brand also taste. Let people try your products or services as much as possible. Brand ambassadors can provide a human element that many people yearn for in this digital age.  Remember to leverage technology to enable interactivity. Explore the use of tweets to project your brand into cyberspace or virtual reality to break the limits of the venue.

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Promotional Collaterals

Having experienced something, people often want a memento of it. Giveaways can increase foot traffic to your activation while acting as reminders of your brand. Promotional collaterals aren’t completely necessary but if you’re going to use it, choose an item that complements your brand and can be used in people’s daily lives.



5 Types of Booths

With these elements in minds, the next step is to select a booth where they can be utilized to carry out your message and goals. There are five types of booths in general.

Pop-up exhibit

Pop-ups are popular because of their portability and ease of set-up. They are often utilized for graphic murals.

Panel exhibit

Panels easily transform into a solid looking wall that can be used for background graphics. This type of system is often used for table-top exhibits.

Tension fabric

This type of booth uses fabric stretched on aluminum poles to serve as background. They are ideal when making custom shapes, especially curves, when it suits your branding.

Truss designs

Truss systems are highly customizable but they need space. They can used be for stages and integrate features, such as hanging displays, that other systems can’t.


A modern booth often mixes various types to create a particular effect. They offer considerable value because of their targeted approach but may be difficult to reuse for other campaigns.


Unless you’re already a designer or have one in your team, consult with specialists in fabrication to help you settle on a design. They know what’s currently in vogue as well as the pros and cons of the various options. More importantly, they can offer recommendations according to your specific needs. Whatever your final choices in your activation’s design will be, always keep in mind that your picks must serve your brand’s goals.

But where should your brand activation be located? Learn more in the next installment!