Tradeshow and Exhibit Thoughtleaders
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Sarmistha Tarafder's Articles

Attracting the Eyeballs: Holding the Gaze!

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ideas for fresh design to attract people to your booth


With search engines, media portals and social networking sites cluttered with dozens of links and banners ads and magazines scattered with inserts and advertorials, how do we break through the clutter to grab the attention of consumers? Increasingly, the long lost science of tracking eye movements is coming back in vogue as markets figure out how to make eye contact with their target customers.

Eye tracking first appeared more than 100 years ago. It measures a person’s gaze toward a screen, a page or 3D space [trade shows, events and exhibitions] to record what they look at (and don’t look at) and for how long, providing valuable data on customer behavior.

For many years the most consistent way users viewed pages according to eye tracking tests, was in an “F” pattern (also known as the “golden triangle”). This means that viewers first looked at the upper left corner, then scanned down and over in a consistent pattern. But recent evidence shows that the "F" pattern has made the transition to an "E".

Gord Hotchkiss, president of Enquiro and a columnist for’s Search Insider, conducted some research only to find out some unexpected discoveries that run counter to the classic “F” conclusion. Hotchkiss’ research revealed that more people are viewing online content in an “E” pattern. They start by looking at graphics in the middle of the page first and then follow the copy up and down from there. And though bigger images were better at grabbing attention, this rule was still true even when small thumbprint images were used. If this is true for online page viewing imagine the effect of "E" in a 3D space design. Simple, large, mural is the key to holding viewer gaze.

 booth seperators.png 

Taking advantage of this study we have jotted down few ways to that will help your hold the gaze of their physical eyes and dominate their mental space in the competitive confines of the trade show venues.


Viewers are instinctively drawn to human faces and there’s growing evidence that “real people” rather than professional models are more likely to keep their attention

Stories are the social currency of our digital reality. Stories carry things, they convey subliminal messages — a lesson, a moral and a take home essence. For example, "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" warns about the dangers of lying. "Cinderella" shows that being good to others pays off. The Shakespearean plays carry valuable lessons about love and war, madness and power, freedom and treachery. They are complex lessons but nonetheless, very instructive.


ideas for creating feeling to tell story in your booth design

A Look at How Alibaba Does it —

{Wei Haiying, who opened a wholesale store on Taobao, weaves straw mats on Aug. 26 in Wantou village, China. Haiying's store has annual sales of $482,000. Taobao is Alibaba's business-to-business consumer platform.}

Above, Alibaba features social fabric and economic upliftment in the narrative that is only made of 2 sentences. In three short sentences we have who, what, how and where — a powerful statement of enablement and empowerment. Here is a lesson — if you are not a luxury brand, showing luxury images will not carry you far. Instead, fo for human determination.

Get some examples when you click right below.


Traditional branding design used to include a set of images — most often a name, a logo and a tag line — that distinguished a company's product or services from its competitors'. In the recent years, with the rise of social commerce and the influx of disruptive technology, a brand has also become the representation of the overall customer experience that a company delivers to its customers. Make use of hashtags for every human experience.

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Eye tracking research has shown that black, white, red, yellow, blue and green (primary colors) are the most likely to get noticed [online]. However, this is radically true when you are in a trade show floor. Usually, exhibitors do like to stick with white and safe blue. Most of exhibitors are so busy following the 'applesque' look, that they have reduced their brands in becoming a cheap imitation. Do not fall into that trap.


ideas for radical color contrast to draw attention

Seek Radical Contrast in booth design. Use colors, shape and metaphors

In an increasingly online world, offline touch represents a strong differentiation. As a marketer it is essential for you to combine style with substance. While it is imperative for brands to be agile and adaptive due to rapid technological trends, their authentic characteristics are more important than ever to strike a chord in the hearts of your audience.

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We are human beings are born with immense creativity.

We understand our position in the world, we can see the future, we can understand where we came from. We know that we’re here. As the philosopher, Daniel C. Dennett would say "No buffalo knows it’s a buffalo, but we jolly well know that we’re members of Homo sapiens, and it’s the knowledge that we have and the can-do, our capacity to think ahead and to reflect and to evaluate and to evaluate our evaluations, and evaluate the grounds for our evaluations." 

ideas fir graphic design with emotional charge


In the sea of corporate rigidity and sameness, dominated by cliparts and AI pixels, World Chess logo of 2018 is graphically charged with human emotions. The collage of grid patterns of chessboards, instantly reads “chess.” It does more — it is a close encounter of intellectual prowess.

A very human aspect is having extraordinary symbolic cognition, in a world that is starting to be populated by bots and intelligent agents.

ideas for graphic design with intellectual prowess

And of course, only we humans, can dice and slice our creation and stake out creative ways to commercialize it. Or, have an aution and sell it as a limited edition art work.

For a change, aspire to be more than buffaloes.
We have FoxP2 gene. We have the capacity for language. We appreciate beauty and are struck by inspiration. And we have empathy for that what is wanting to be expressed. 

Above all, "the generator of diversity is sitting in your frontal lobe \– and those initials are G-O-D."

booth seperators.png


"Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! — Henry David Thoreau exhorted in his 1854 memoir Walden, in which he extolled the virtues of a “Spartan-like” life. Saint Thomas Aquinas preached that simplicity brings one closer to God. Isaac Newton believed it leads to truth. The process of simplification, we’re told, can illuminate beauty, strip away needless clutter and stress, and help us focus on what really matters."

It also leads to boredom of comprehension. If you have a big logo on a big back wall and if you reapeat the same style of expression in every venue, you fall prey to mediocrity and sameness very soon very fast. The brain becomes bored of seeing the same expression. And, that gets manifested in the behavior of the booth staffers and their interaction with your customers.

On the other hand,

Abstraction leads the brain to ponder. Yes the brain loves simplicity, but because we are sentient beings we love to ponder and play. Abstraction, in small chunks helps us to flex our neurons and the brain derives satisfaction from it.

Mathematics is a solid example of abstraction.

For example: "three" is an abstract concept, not a concrete thing in the real world (of course, reality itself is an abstraction), but "three" is a very useful abstraction, because it allows us to be certain of how many "three" represents, and that adding one more will produce "four" — whether we are talking about features, benefits or a showing percentage.

Graphically, reign in the opportunity to leverage abstraction and hold the gaze of your audience.

ideas for graphic design that create abstraction

 "An abstraction is taking a point of view or looking at things under a certain aspect or from a particular angle. All sciences are differentiated by their abstraction.” 


ideas for booth design that focuses on feeling

A Look at How TH Herbal Does it —

Across cultures and time, happiness was most frequently defined as good luck and favorable external conditions. However, in American English, this definition was replaced by definitions focused on favorable internal feeling states. Having thus said, we can all agree that the Concept of Happiness is predisposed towards exclusive abstraction. However, that did not prevent the brand from collating this abstraction with health and happiness.

The concept of abstraction is so abstract that the mighty philosophers cannot agree on it. George Berkeley, who propounded the theory of "immaterialism" "abstract ideas are non entities, in other words, they don't constitute ideas that we really have but incoherent descriptions of ideas that we imagine to have.Thus, for him, ideas do not possess an existence of their own, always needing the presence of a viewer to perceive them.

On the other hand, Plato views ideas (abstract or not) as existential, regardless of the existence of a human mind to notice them — since they do not start inside us, but they are already out there, in the universe, conceived by a Superior Being.

You are bound to attract those eyeballs when you inject abstraction in your design — because, as Plato would say, it is actually channeled through you beyond the limitations of your human mind. Hence, it is distinguished to have an universal appeal.

One thing is for certain though.

Consistently communicating your brand identity and positioning in a repetitive manner — a key success factor in traditional marketing campaigns is no longer enough. With intelligent technologies, shorter product life cycles, and rapidly changing trends, a brand must be dynamic enough to behave in certain ways under certain circumstances. What should remain consistent, however, are the "brand characters and codes." The character is the brand's authentic self — the reason for it's existence. When the core of the brand remains true, the outer imagery can be flexible and should be so. That is why Google introduced Doodles — by having countless adaptations of it's logo, Google flexes your mind, inspires your being and stays solid on it's purpose.

Looping back to the subtle science of Eye Tracking, your exhibit design and your complimentary merchandise can have a profound impact on how your messaging is received by your audience. By incorporating these ideas in your creatives, you will be able influence where a viewer’s gaze not only begins, but where it holds — and that could make all the difference between ignoring your brand versus liking and embracing it.

Happy Exhibiting!