August 25, 2017

Art Show Display Ideas & Inspiration

As you know, I've attended many an art event in Austin and anywhere else I happen to find them. While I'm there for the artists and the work, one thing that always sticks in my mind are the truly creative displays that many participants come up with. Displays have two main functions:
  1. On the more practical side, your displays need to show off your work so shoppers can see what you make and easily pick up on the options for buying.
  2. On the more subjective side, your displays have the opportunity to catch people's eyes and entice them to buy in how you arrange and stage your work.
There are so many directions you can take with both the functional and aesthetics of a booth, and there's nothing wrong with switching things up every now and then as you come up with new ideas. As long as you keep in mind a few rules of thumb and get creative, you're sure to hit on a winning concept.

Arts & Crafts Display Musts
  • Tablecloths are highly recommended for a clean, polished backdrop.
  • Aim to fill your available space without creating clutter or chaos.
  • Displays should support your work, not distract from it.
  • Signage for pricing and contact information helps you sell.
  • Know when you'll need extra lighting so people can fill appreciate your work.
  • Ideal displays are easy to setup, take down and pack for travel.
  • When you only have so much table space, build up with shelving.
  • Take advantage of wall space where appropriate. 
  • Be mindful of any displays that are too precarious and might fall, damaging your art.
  • If you're ok with customers touching or picking up your pieces, make it easy to.
  • Include signs of something shouldn't be touched or handled.
  • Prepare for the elements if doing an outdoor show (wind, sun, rain).
  • Make sure your non-art gear is hidden from view like pack up boxes etc.

Good Ideas
  • Tie your booth design together with a theme that's carried across all displays.
  • Use complementary & contrasting colors to your advantage.
  • Its fine to have display only pieces, but make it clear where people find those for sale.
  • Have clearly marked testers for handmade bath and beauty goods.
  • As with product photography, consider showing ingredients or common uses.
  • Demos can help demonstrate value and craftsmanship.
  • Clever packaging can make its own display.
  • Consider shopper comfort at outdoor shows (fan or space heater given the season).
  • Flooring can add a nice, professional touch to your booth.

Now for the fun part - photos for inspiration. Here are some of my favorite displays and booth concepts from many years of being an arts and crafts show attendee. If you've seen some impressions ideas I should know about, please share! You can see more on my Pinterest board.

Use wall space for display and include pre-packaged, ready to buy items below.
Kimball Prints                |                Biscuit Press              |              Pet Studio Art 

Everybody loves rainbows! Plus, its an easy way to show your range of color choices.
Adaptive Reuse                     |                   Plaid Pigeon

 Fill your available space with options & inventory, but keep it neat!
Eleventy Five                 |                    Twenty 8 North                   |                    Hatton Henry

If your work needs electricity to really shine, make sure you can plug in.
Lightcrafters                        |                        Curious Customs

 Bonus points to the upcyclers who create displays out of found objects, especially if related!
Smitten Designs              |              Fat Cat Studio              |            Willow Tree Works