A Few Booth Design Tips
by Linda Grimes, Laughing Girl Arts
Your booth is your store. Display your art as if it were in a retail shop. Choose a style for your booth that complements your art: clean and contemporary, homegrown and rustic, romantic and feminine, industrial, etc.
Showcase your art, not your displays. If you’re hearing “what a beautiful display” over and over and you’re not selling your art, you need to rethink your booth. Make the art the eye catcher. Pick colors and patterns that enhance your work rather than compete with it. A patterned fabric may have all the colors of your booth and may work with the colors of your art, but your art may get lost in the pattern.
Don’t confuse your customer with a cluttered booth. Too many things to look at, presented in a haphazard way, can cause your customer’s eye to skim over everything, instead of taking in each piece.
Make sure your customer has room to move without bumping into things. Place your art in the “sweet spot” between waist and top of head, if possible. Bending over or squatting down to see your work is uncomfortable for your customer. Large pieces can be lower or on the ground, but small work needs to be raised. Use the vertical space.
As you put your booth decor and display ideas together, keep in mind transport and set up. It’s always a challenge to find attractive displays that are also portable and stable.
Flameproofing and fire safety:
- See the NWAA Fire Regs for complete information on Seattle Fire Codes.
- Be sure you get a flame retardant certificate!!
- American Flamecoat, 1143 NW 52nd St. #D, Seattle (206) 789–9404 3–5 day turnaround $150 minimum = about 240 yards of fabric.
- Inherently Flame Retardant (IFR) fabrics can be found at Display and Costume Supply in Seattle, and at online theater and event suppliers like i.Weiss, Georgia Expo, Sew What and Rosebrand.
- Google “banjo cloth” and you will find most of the suppliers that sell IFR fabrics.
Lighting and Electrical:
- Electrical plug connectors should not hang next to drapes and should be UL approved.
- Surge protectors are a great idea.
- Each venue may have different electrical requirements, so check before you set up.
- The more light the better. Home Depot and Lowes are good sources for inexpensive track lights.
- Some halogen bulbs are restricted at certain venues. Check the restrictions or risk your lights being turned off by the fire marshal.
- Battery operated lights are banned within Seattle City Limits.
- Can be an interesting part of your booth décor and adds a finished look as well as comfort for both you and your customer.
- Consider rubber tile, tongue & groove flooring, flame resistant carpets.
- Try IKEA, Costco for inexpensive solutions.
- Bed risers at Bed, Bath and Beyond, Target, etc. will raise tables 5–6”.
- Create risers for tables with crossbars using PVC pipes, cut to length and slipped over the table legs. Tent weights (for outdoor shows)
Tent weights (for outdoor shows):
- Fill PVC tubes with concrete
- Use barbell weights
- Buy ready made tent weight bags (Fred’s Canopy, Seattle)
- Weights should be a minimum of 25 lbs. each, preferably more
- Some outdoor venues require tents to be weighted, so check before you go.
For More Inspiration:
Bruce Baker’s classes and CDs
Flickr.com search: Show Me Your Booths (over 3000 photos)
Flickr.com search: Jewelry and Bead Booths (over 500 photos)