Jump to content

Advice For Newbie Looking To Design Exhibit/Trade Show Stands/Booths


Recommended Posts

Hi all,


I am very much a beginner having used vectorworks designer for basic survey drawings, room plans and interior elevations.


I now need to learn how to design exhibtion stands/trade show displays/custom booths.


I will need to do this in 2 different ways...


Firstly 'fully custom', meaning the panels and structures which will be created from wood flats in any variety of shapes and sizes, and clad with print, fabric or laminate.


Secondly, I will be using modular components, the supplier has given me elements as .vwx 'objects' (? Im not acutally sure of the correct term) and also sample layouts using these components, also .vwx files.  I will need to move/remove/add components to tailor each design and then add custom images to the surfaces of these components to show the print/finishing. 


For both I will need to output an annotated floorplan for each design as well as a 3D elevation.


I know there are a wealth of tutorials and information I can use to educate myself but I don't know where to start and need guidance so that I'm studying in the right direction e.g.


  • should I use spotlight version of vectorworks or a different stream
  • what tools, process, tutorial paths are the most relevant?
  • do i necessarily need a rendering add-on and if so is there a specific one I should focus on?


Thanks in advance,




Link to comment

Hi wayway,


I'm working a lot with booth construction companies and yes, it's a mixture between architecturial and event -CAD. But I guess Spotlight is the version to choose since most fairstands in the end deal with truss and lighting. Up to now I did not find any achitecturial tools that are essential for booth construction that are not part of spotlight.


As for rendering, I think that Renderworks as part of Vectorworks is sufficient for 90% of booth rendering unless you want ot create high resoluted high glossy picture for very sophisticated clients.


Hope works for you as a first orientation.


Link to comment

In transit, so a brief response to a large question, but you should look at the help files and google for some tutorials on the following which are big concepts you should understand for this kind of work:




Hybrid symbols

Working with Viewports on sheet layers


These are all important.  As for the basics of 3D in VW - I have some tutorials here you can look through:





Link to comment

EAlexander, halfcouple this is so helpful, exactly what i needed to get through the overwhelm and focus!


One last question as you guys are knowledgeable in this field - I have to use Vectorworks for the files supplied for the modular stands, but with the purely custom stands, would I be quicker to learn to do those in Sketchup?


thanks again guys...


Link to comment

I think this is just personal choice and depends on what your final deliverable will be.


If you need to provide CAD files and ground plans, sections, etc - you would be better served to do it all inside of Vectorworks.  If you just need visuals, and you are are already familiar, comfortable, and faster with Sketchup - that is certainly an option.  I wouldn't try to rough it out in Sketchup and then bring it into vectorworks - that transfer is usually messy and doesn't give you clean geometry to work with.


Only you can figure out your workflow - but I would encourage you to try Vectorworks for all if you can.  A greater learning curve, but worth it for the end results.

Link to comment

been designing exhibition stands for 44 years.....i use vectorworks/renderworks......big package to get your head around.....but i used to use vectorworks and artlantis....a much easy render package to use......if you need any help or advice let me know and i can send some examples of work and renders so you can see how i approach the process......check out artlantis tutorials on youtube......butttt.....i now use vectorworks and render in renderworks once you can get the settings correct you can get some fantastic results.....of course if your in this for the long haul......get your head into cinema 4d......again superior renders to renderworks but some people may disagree !!!!!!......



Edited by Phil hunt
  • Like 4
Link to comment
2 hours ago, EAlexander said:

I but I would encourage you to try Vectorworks for all if you can.  A greater learning curve, but worth it for the end results. 


Definitely agree with @EAlexander on this. One of the beauties of VW is that you can (and should) do it all in one package.

From simple 2d layouts,

Creation of standard & custom parts

Development of fully developed floorplans w/ escape routes calculations

Sections, 3d Views Renderings & Walkthroughs.

Data-Visualization, Data Collection, Presentations and more.

  • Like 1
Link to comment

Hi guys!


Phil your rendering looks stunning.


I also work in the exhibition/event industry as a designer & production manager.

So I can speak from experience and say that great renderings certainly set you apart from your competitors, especially in design competitions and tenders.


Having used Vectorworks for the past 24 years I dove into the subject of 'real live' renderings about 3 years ago and it took me quite some time to understand all the best settings especially for lighting, reflective surfaces, LED & graphics, textures and so forth. But now I can provide some awesome renders, ... showing off a bit see below attachements  😂


If anyone is interested in the best Render Style settings let me know.

I had posted some RW Style Setting sheets on this forum last year and I can send you the link for you to download on this forum.











  • Like 1
Link to comment

thanks all for this advice and input, to be honest I had been getting negative vibes about vectorworks for a few coworkers over the years so im delighted to hear your positivity about it as a tool for booth design 🙂



@EAlexander that makes a lot of sense


@Phil hunt thanks a mill, will definitely check out artlantis as, although i do plan to stick with this, I also was to get up and running asap and have limited time for training. beautiful example there, i like the lighing effects...


@bcd thank you for seconding the approach of using VW for everything, definitely worth me investing my time in it


@Grethe Connerth thanks so much Grethe, fantastic work, I will certainly look up those settings when I get to that stage...

Link to comment
  • 4 months later...

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...