What We've Found

Well-designed displays can attract attention at conferences, shopping malls, libraries or outdoor events. As such, they provide an excellent venue for sharing information, educating and involving citizens, promoting helpful actions, creating linkages and building general awareness. Best of all, once created, they can be grabbed at a moment’s notice to be used again and again, with no additional production costs.

Just the Facts
Displays can be anything from a simple folding poster board to computer-based displays to elaborate walk-in booths. The information on a display usually includes text, photographs and maps. The text should not try and cover every detail about a group, program or project. People are predominately attracted to visual information; so, in this case, a picture is definitely worth a thousand words. Select professional images that are eye-catching and make use of creative headlines for text. No matter where your display is set up, there will be visual competition for people’s attention, so make it fun and innovative.

Because, ideally, displays will be used many times, they should be portable. They also need to be large enough to attract people. Size and transportation requirements need to be taken into consideration when designing a display.

Points to consider:
  • Have materials such as brochure or card that people can take away for more information.
  • If there is something fun that kids are attracted to, adults will follow.
  • Determine if the display needs to have a person there to explain, demonstrate or answer questions, or if it will be self-explanatory.
  • Higher-end displays can include computer simulations and videos.
How To Do It

1. Make a Message
Decide what is the one message, or theme, you want to communicate and who is your most important audiences. The message must be something simple enough that anyone just passing by and looking at your display will be able to understand. Once you have a message, select images that support it. Remember, it is better to have a few large graphics and titles than a lot of information. A logo is one of the most effective ways to give identity to your effort, so make it a dominant feature on your display. Be sure any supplemental information you will have available to distribute also uses the same logo.

2. Don't Skimp on Design
Keep in mind that printing needs to be legible and photographs and maps recognizable from several feet away. You probably should consider soliciting professional help to design and produce the final product. There are several portable display units available commercially. Trade show companies can also build displays to specifications for a much higher cost.

3. Decide Where It will be Used
  • Research regional fairs and festivals to determine if the audience who attends are people you need to reach.
  • Contact the local community center, town hall or library to see if they will permit you to post a display in their lobby. Same with an area shopping mall.
  • If you are an invited guest speaker at a conference, ask the conference organizers if there is an exhibit hall or a designated area to set up a display.
Information relating to a group, program or project is presented in a large, eye-catching format.

Use It If...
  • You are trying to increase visibility and want to reach people who may have never heard of your cause.
  • You have several opportunities to share your message at festivals, in a public building or at conferences.
Forget It If...
  • You do not have the budget to professionally produce a display or the in-house knowledge of graphics and design.
  • You cannot identify opportunities to use a display.
  • You do not have the human resources to send someone to set up and tend the display nor the economic resources to cover transportation costs.
Timing is Everything

Displays work effectively at the beginning of a project to help establish the identity of a group.


 Visual Communication

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