trade show booth manufacturers

Home to world-class museums, art galleries, convention centers, and corporate spaces Chicago is a major city that hosts exhibits and events year-round. As a contractor for trade show booth rental Chicago, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the major venues as well as organizations in the city.

Study their existing exhibit spaces, past projects, design aesthetics, and needs. Knowing the Chicago market will help you craft custom exhibit designs that are tailored for specific spaces and clients.

Build Your Portfolio

A strong portfolio showcasing your skills and experience to new potential clients is the best way to demonstrate you. As a designer across different projects, spaces, styles, and scopes your portfolio should showcase your versatility. You must include these points in your portfolio for each project:

  • Photos from multiple angles.
  • A brief description of the design objectives.
  • How you solved the client’s needs.

If you’re just starting out, pro bono work for nonprofits can be a great way to build your portfolio. Reach out to smaller museums, community centers, libraries, and cultural institutions that could benefit from refreshed or new exhibits but have limited budgets.

Master the Latest Technology and Materials

Exhibit design technology and materials are constantly evolving. Stay on the cutting edge by regularly learning about and experimenting with things like:

  • New tools,
  • Fabrication methods,
  • Lighting techniques,
  • Display materials,
  • Interactive exhibits,
  • Signage innovations and more.

To try new things constantly attend trade show booths 20×20, read industry blogs, follow leaders in the field, and push yourself to learn.

By using the latest technology in creative ways position yourself as an innovator. Invest in quality equipment and software to produce in-house renderings, models, and prototypes that bring your designs to life visually.

Build Strategic Partnerships

To execute your vision always develop strong relationships with vendors, fabricators, AV specialists, graphic designers, architects, and other tradespeople. Know who the best partners are for lighting, construction, interactive displays, printing, shipping, and installation. Nurture contacts at key venues.

To deliver high-quality exhibits efficiently and cost-effectively having a trusted network of partners will always help you. These networks also provide inspiration for the latest ideas as well as techniques.

Specialize in a Niche

Rather than trying to be all things to all clients, consider specializing in a certain type of exhibit design. For example, focus on designing exhibit booth rentals, museum children’s areas, corporate lobbies, zoo habitats, or other niches.

Develop a deep expertise in that specialty which you can market as unique. Follow projects in your niche nationally and adapt successful approaches to the Chicago market. Specializing allows you to charge premium rates and avoid competing for every general project.

Pursue Large-Scale Public Projects

In Chicago, public museums, cultural institutions, airports, transit centers, and other civic spaces invest heavily in exhibit design. By monitoring city plans and budgets pursue this high-visibility work.

Introduce yourself to key decision-makers and get on their radar early. Partner with prominent architects and designers on proposals.

With complex projects involving many stakeholders and integration across multiple content areas and locations emphasize your experience. By pointing to public work in your portfolio you can demonstrate excellence.

Promote Design-Forward Services

Don’t get pigeonholed solely as a fabricator. By emphasizing the design experience you provide to your clients distinguish your firm from other trade show booth builders. Offer visionary concept design, graphic design, creative direction, themed environments, immersive experiences, storytelling techniques, lighting design, and content development.

Several clients have powerful stories. But, to tell the right design solution, they need help in conceiving and executing. Position yourself not just as a builder but as a strategic partner as well as invest in conceptual and experiential design capabilities.

Prioritize Installation and Operations

The exhibit visitor experience doesn’t end when fabrication is finished. As leading designers, oversee the installation and remain involved in the exhibit operations phase.

Train staff, tweak lighting, and content, monitor wear and tear, and make adjustments. On topics like maintenance, refreshing exhibits over time, event rentals, and driving attendance and engagement always offer your clients guidance.

Managing the post-launch visitor experience cements you as a trusted partner and generates repeat business.

Join Professional Organizations

Membership in professional associations like the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) and Design Museum Leaders keeps you connected to best practices nationwide and job opportunities.

To showcase your work and build relationships with major museums and designers always attend conferences and events. Write for industry publications or speak at events to share your expertise.


For Chicago’s most exciting projects, you can build a reputation as a leader in the field and the designer of choice. All you need to do is focus on the above-mentioned key strategies and provide innovative, visitor-centric exhibit designs suited to the trade show booth rental in Chicago.

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