Talkin’ about Tabletop Displays


Your table top exhibit should be like a stop sign in the flow of traffic. No, it does not have to be bright red and octagonal, but it should make folks stop and take a look at what you have to offer. If you can get them to stop with your brief image and short text, then you can begin the important process of face-to-face interaction that is so vital to changing a prospect into a customer.

When you exhibit at larger shows and have a larger exhibit you have a bit more space with which to communicate. With a table top display, you need to KISS – Keep It Short & Simple.

Here are a few pointers to maximize results with your tabletop display:



Sticking with our sign analogy…think billboard. Often your attendees are walking along like they drive on the highway…fast! What is going to make them look twice and slow down? A colorful, large image that is either entertaining or specifically relevant to their needs will do the trick. Mark Bric Display recommends the latter, unless it plays into a larger campaign well supported by your collateral media and promotional outlets.

Be sure the image is crisp and uncluttered. Often, one large image works better than smaller, multiple images as tabletop displays are already a small medium. Do not try to enlarge photos that are not high resolution. If you are purchasing a photo from an outside source, be sure to spend the little bit extra on the highest resolution available – this will pay off later. If you are still unsure, talk with in-house graphic artists or the visual experts at the exhibit production house with which you are working; they can give helpful advice and specific criteria for their displays. Often they will give you links to templates or let you know what their graphic artist fees will be to simplify your involvement, alleviate concerns, and take care of the whole process for you.

There are many types of displays that can showcase large graphics and help you stop traffic. One example, shown above, is a dye-sublimation fabric print umbrella style pop-up system. The smaller Mark Bric Display ShowFlex units work well as a table top display and the fabric graphic quality is phenomenal.



You cannot or shouldn’t be reading a book while driving, and you shouldn’t be reading a paragraph and trying to walk down a crowded exhibit hall aisle. Keep text to a minimum by using company name and perhaps just one slogan or relevant-to-your-audience promotional message.

The stop sign has only one word: “STOP”; it gets the job done (granted shape & color recognition help here, but so will your logo branding if you have done your job pre-show). In a five second glance, attendees should know who you are and what you do or sell. You, as the trade show staff, can fill in all the gaps for them with a conversation, support materials or an A/V presentation on your laptop should a prospect decide to linger.

If you insist on overcrowding your tabletop display with a lot of text, you will lose your audience before they even start. No one will try to read long explanations while walking through a crowd.

From a design perspective, unless a particular font is tied to your branding, keep fonts familiar and san-serif for increased readability. Avoid overlaying your text on the graphics as this also decreases text visibility. Tabletop presentations need to be kept as visually clean and uncluttered as possible. With tabletop displays and text, less is usually more.


The tabletop display shown in the photos above is a convenient folding briefcase style display featuring graphics printed on traditional PVC substrate.


SnapUp-Table-Top1-1 (1)

Exhibiting with a tabletop display means more than just the tabletop display itself. Choose a tabletop display that is visually interesting. Add headers if available, think about options like curved edges, fabric or different shapes.


Have a plan for additional items within your allotted booth space. Get a larger table, if offered, to accommodate your visual presentations via laptop or other monitors. Think about accessories such as business cards, candy bowls etc. You need a place for these. Consider adding a small counter into your exhibit space.


If you are able, you may want to investigate bringing your own table more suited to your overall theme. For example, if you are an outdoor club, a rustic wooden table may enhance your space and create a warmer, more inviting environment than the plastic folding table usually provided. Add table throws that compliment or support your branding color schemes.


Use attractive literature racks to keep collateral material neat and organized.  If there is room, consider adding banner stands to flank your exhibit table. This adds depth and gives you another spot to reinforce or add to your attention getting message. Think creatively. Just because you have a small space doesn’t mean you have to skimp on creativity.



You’ve worked hard on that video and those power-point presentations so by all means incorporate them into your tabletop area so that when you do have someone willing to engage in a deeper conversation, you have your support materials handy.  A laptop on the table can suffice, but a tablet holder or banner stand with A/V capability may also fit better into your small exhibit foot print. Think it through and choose the best options for your budget. Your use of audio visual should enhance not detract; remember, the previous point of “creating an environment”.



Just like with the larger trade show displays, for tabletops, extra light is eye-catching and attention grabbing. At minimum, invest in some lights to brighten your display. Investigate lights that have battery pack options too for added savings in the long run.

If your budget allows, consider a small fabric light box as part, or all, of your table top display. You’d be amazed at how much attention a light box can command, especially in the typically darker hotel banquet room areas in which tabletop shows usually occur.

Iguana Lightbox alone



Creating a tabletop display is not much different than creating a larger exhibit presence. Bottom line is, that in order to “stop” traffic with your display, time for careful planning needs to be invested.

Still not sure where to begin? Mark Bric Display can assist you from start to finish. Look at our systems on and or call us at 800-742-6275 to jump right in and get started. From tabletop to full-size custom displays Mark Bric Display is here for you!


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