Top Ten Tips for Your Display

Whether you’re getting ready to set up your first display or you’re a seasoned show pro, advice from the experts can help you make the most of your display.

You only have a few seconds to grab shoppers’ attention, so you need your display to stand out.

  1. Colour is the easiest way to make an instant impact. It’s also a great way to communicate a feeling or help tell a story. ONE colour should be the most dominant. Use a neutral-coloured tablecloth as the base on your tables. This should completely cover the table from top to floor, with the back left open for you to tuck away extra bins or stock under the table, out of sight. You can dress it up with an additional coloured fabric that accents the season you are in or the items you are displaying.
  2. Curate collections. Group products according to colours, shapes or patterns, or function. This instantly creates cohesion in your display, making it easier for people to shop, and making an impact. For example; group all your garden paintings in one section of a display, all your animal paintings in another, and all your landscape paintings in another group. If you have several other paintings that don’t fit within those themes, you could set up 2 boxes/crates at the end of your table for those paintings. They’re still available to buy and shoppers can flip through them (like records at a record store), but they aren’t a dominant part of your display.
  3. Edit your product selection to achieve uncluttered space to improve your display. A cluttered space has the potential to lower the perceived value of your products. Products, and product groupings, should not blend into each other; there should be breathing space between them. Your display should be eye-catching from several feet away so try squinting your eyes when looking at the overall display. Squinting helps you get a feel for how your display will look from several feet away, when details can’t be made out. Dominant elements will also be more obvious to you when squinting.
  4. Set up your entire display ahead of time at home. Spend time making groupings that are strong, cohesive groupings. When you get it displayed the way you want it, you can take pictures of the setup. Take it apart, put your items in bins and label each bin so you don’t have to waste time once you get to the show.
  5. Use a large, impressive piece for impact. You’re not necessarily going to sell that piece, but it will be so eye-catching that people will stop to take a second look. The fewer colours you use in your display, the more impact you’ll be able to make.
  6. Lighting is crucial! Overhead lights in a convention hall or community centre will not show your work at its best. To light the whole booth and highlight key areas, you’ll need several lights placed all around your 10’ x 10’ display space. If you’re choosing overhead lights for your booth, look for a design — such as swing- arm, or gooseneck — that allows you to easily adjust the direction of the light. Make sure they are all the same colour, as it will unify the appearance of your display.
    IKEA sells inexpensive flexible LED lights that can clamp on grid walls or the edges of tables or shelving.
    For shelves, you could use under-shelf strip lighting or strategically placed puck lights so products on lower shelves are well lit.
    You can highlight a new or different product with spot lighting, making it stand out from the rest of your display.
    Be sure to ask the organizer if you’ll have access to electricity before you plan your display around lighting that needs to be plugged in (battery-powered lighting is an option if you don’t). And be sure electrical cords won’t be a tripping hazard (you may want to bring gaffer tape if your cord will run along the floor where people walk).
  7. Consider raising the surface of your table to counter height, which is approximately 36 inches tall (standard table height is typically around 30 inches). This works well for jewellery or smaller items.
    Add levels to your display table by using upside down boxes, baskets, or bins covered with complimentary coloured fabric.
    Also, gather crates, wooden bowls, magazine files, shoe racks, or other decorative items from your home that can sit on table for your items to lean against or sit upon.
  8. Identify yourself. Eye-catching signage that compliments the colours used in your display will create unity and make your display memorable.
  9. Be prepared, and don’t forget anything when you go to your next show. Download our printable Suggested Art Show Checklist and modify it for your own use.
  10. Research other ideas online on Pinterest or YouTube. Visit other craft shows and take notes of what displays look good or catch your attention. and have excellent suggestions for setting up displays.