the hottest exhibition
and tradeshow trends
in 2017

  AFI Branding       07th April, 2017

Interested in seeing the latest in exhibition design trends? So are we… We trekked to visit EuroShop 2017 in Düsseldorf, Germany earlier last month. Taking place every 3rd year, the world’s number 1, retail trade fair was bigger, bolder and more cutting edge than it had ever been and delivered some truly innovative and inspiring products and concepts. What was more apparent than ever before is that the exhibition and tradeshow space continues to be an environment ripe for grand scale WOW and cutting edge ideas.

So for your enjoyment, information and general pleasure – here’s our list of what’s trending based on what we saw, touched, sat on, played with and investigated at this year’s EuroShop.

Design Trends


Pantone has crowned the colour for 2017 Greenery which they describe as a ‘fresh and zesty yellow green shade that evokes the first days of spring’ and certainly you don’t need to look too far to see plenty of visual referencing being made with a massive design swing to the use of fresh plant life, and the resurgence in botanic wallpaper designs and floor graphics. Soft, muted colours had all but disappeared, instead there was an abundance of white and a return to a liberal use of primary colours – like those used most often in country flags. Basic black was also used to great effect in conjunction with some pretty sexy, creative use of lighting.


Text Use

Fonts appeared pared back, no fuss and with a wink and a nod to retro fonts but with a modern flare.


The large-scale use of white, open space, layered textures and ultra simple design gave a visual respite to the sensory overload that generally ensues at large-scale trade fairs. This in response to the complexity of nearly every aspect of modern-day life is a welcome design trend being embraced in packaging, VM, store design and even through to stand layout. Truth on display is a repeating visual theme.

Bold Photography

With wide format printing, super-sized digital screens and an environment where visual impact is king, EuroShop’s display of images got bigger, brighter and more honest. If what’s happening in visual design and even within the art world is anything to go by, it seems there is an emerging move back to unfiltered, candid shots that capture a moment and raw emotion.

Branding, VM and marketing looks to be embracing this and is taking part in what seems to be a general revolt against the photo shopping, filtering, posing frenzy of recent years. Exhibition stands lend themselves beautifully to this type of emotive and impactful use of photography through large space allocations, and particularly with the height advantages available through venue rigging.amazing trade stand ideas



By definition, Exhibitions and Tradeshows are not the most environmentally friendly of marketing exercises – simply gathering vast numbers of visitors and exhibitors in one place alone speaks to this. However the move toward a vastly more intentional use of sustainable products, processes and efficiencies was not only on display, but featured large and loud by way of product development, forum topic and stand design.

In terms of display, recycled timber, reused and re-purposed materials for furniture and an abundance of aluminium and fabric continued to feature to beautiful and visually impacting effect.

Key note speakers, resources and exhibitors covered sustainability topics from energy efficient refrigeration and air-conditioning systems, food storage systems, heat recovery, retail lighting, building design and technology and material composition. The future of sustainability and its place in all aspects of design, marketing, exhibition and retail looks like it’s ramping up…as well it should for the benefit of everyone.



It has ever been the Exhibitors challenge to present in a way that interrupts the visitor in such a way that they are compelled to walk onto your stand and explore what’s on offer.

Possibly the most engaging and somewhat mind-blowing inclusion at this year’s EuroShop is the development and advancement of digistisation in retail and exhibition. Augmented reality, virtual reality, live stream stands, interactive touch screens, humanoid robots, even in-store holograms gave some insights into how far the in-store and online experience can take shoppers and tradeshow visitors alike. EuroShop showed us that Immersive Technology is quickly becoming more accessible and more engaging – translating to a more powerful and intelligent means by which marketing through Exhibitions and Tradeshows can make a very real impact on customer attraction, engagement and retention.






LED technology has given designers, architects, retailers, VM’s, marketers and exhibitors a wonderful opportunity to make lighting a surface, display, room or full shop / stand even more multi-faceted. EuroShop featured some fantastic new innovations that have brought new intelligence to how lighting can work to make people respond emotionally in store (known as Human Centric Lighting). Innovations in lighting also featured recyclable lighting solutions that present as an architectural feature, and modular display lighting that uses link technology that allows easy, custom-focused options for tailoring display lighting to space. Lighting as presented at EuroShop is smart, emotional and flexible.





Exciting times ahead

All in all, this year’s EuroShop showed us that there are exciting times ahead.

We would encourage you to consider your next Exhibition or Tradeshow opportunity an excuse to go beyond what’s been done before. We’d love to be part of your Exhibition Dream Team. Drop us a line and we’ll be in touch.

In the meantime, keep the creative juices flowing and check out our Look Book compilation of the best that EuroShop ’17 had to offer by clicking here.

All photos compliments of Messe Düsseldorf/ctillmann