Passing booth after booth at any trade show can feel like a sensory overload. There are so many sites, smells, and people around, it can be hard to know where to look. When planning your next trade show display, lighting is one of the first things you should consider. Without lighting there is no color, form, or texture – and probably no new clients attracted to your exhibit. Not a good outcome to report back to the office.

Lighting will make your display like a beacon, attracting all the right attention. So when lighting your trade show booth, where should you start? First, there is one basic principle of good display lighting that every exhibitor should follow:

Use more than one kind of light.

No matter what you’re selling, you really need several types of lighting to make your display look interesting and professional. Here are some ideas:

  • Use standard display lights to create focal points or to spotlight specific products.
  • Have track lighting above to create the perfect ambient lighting in your booth.
  • If you have some type of translucent panel in your display, backlight it for extra impact with a linear light fixture.
  • For shelves, make sure you light each one for optimal effect. Use puck lights for pops of light on individual products, or light strips for even illumination.


To determine the right lighting for your particular brand, here are some things to consider:

  • What atmosphere will make potential customers comfortable? Often trade show lights are overwhelmingly blue and unflattering. Using a warmer light source will put your customers at ease. To determine how bright your lights should be, consider what you have on display. Offering a lot of reading material? Your lights should be brighter than a booth that has mostly products or images.
  • What is the overall feel of your company? Is your business serious? Laid-back? Quirky? Your lighting can communicate a lot about your brand. For example, if you sell at-home spa products, dimmer lighting with warm colored filters will make your booth feel more relaxing. If you’re selling computer cleaning products, bright white lighting will make your display feel tidy and technologically advanced.


Usually, the lighting at your average convention center is less than stellar, so it’s up to you to make your display look great. Above all, be sure your lighting is crisp, focused, and good quality. Whatever your brand, the right lights will make it shine!

Annie Josey is the E-Commerce Marketing Specialist at Pegasus Lighting, a lighting retailer specializing in unique products like trade show and display lights. At Pegasus, Annie is committed to helping every customer have that “light bulb moment” when planning their next display. For more tips and advice on trade show and display lighting, you can connect with Annie on Google +, or follow Pegasus Lighting on Twitter.