light up display stand in situ

Choosing The Right Light Up Exhibition Display Stands

Want your exhibition display stand to truly stand out? Let there be light.

Written by
Ella Faulkner
Internal Sales

What’s the point in having an exhibition display stand? It’s a base for your expo team, a defined point at which your people and customers can connect and explore your products and services. The challenge for anyone attending a trade show, of course, is in a vast sea of stands that have the potential to look very similar – how do you make yours stand out?

That comes down to impact, and you can achieve that in a range of ways. For example, consider how a fabric display stand could help you bring visual wow and sweeping, curving lines to an exhibition floor that’s usually full of blocks and angles.

But there’s another way to add impact. Arguably, it’s the most effective way of all. To really make your stand sing, add light.

FREE DOWNLOAD: An Exhibition Checklist

Won’t the exhibition hall be well lit?

It will certainly be lit. But relying on exhibition hall lighting as your single source of illumination is a little like relying on the ‘big light’ (as Peter Kay might call it) in the centre of your living room. It serves a purpose, but it doesn’t create a mood. It doesn’t help focus or highlight elements of your stand. It certainly doesn’t add impact.

For that, you need to take a more considered approach to how you light your display stand.

Light up display stands – the options

At its core, the point of a well-lit display stand is to draw people in. To do that, you need a mix of lighting approaches, some that help create points of focus, some that add drama, and some that fulfil the simple but essential role of ensuring visitors can clearly see the content that covers your display stand floor and walls. 

You’ll achieve each of those goals in different ways:

As the name suggests, a lightbox places a light source inside a frame covered in your imagery. Fabric displays work particularly well for lightbox exhibition stands, as they allow plenty of light to shine through, making the on- or in-fabric graphics really pop.

A lightbox display stand can be freestanding or wall-mounted and a combination of the two can be hugely effective. Go big with your freestanding lightboxes and they can serve a structural as well as a visual role, helping to section up your stand and creating discrete areas for visitors to explore.

And because the light source is diffused through the colours of the fabric, this sort of monolithic lighted display stand is a great way to add ambience, using your brand colours to create a warm or energising glow. 

Employing lightbox backlighting on your stand offers several more advantages:

  • Customisation: Lightbox display stands come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, so you can play around with options to create a display that’s distinctively different.
  • Lightweight: A lightweight aluminium frame. A fabric cover that folds down to almost nothing. And a light. It all makes for a stand that’s easily transportable.
  • Shows your brand at its best: You’ve probably spent a considerable sum creating a brand with power. A lightbox helps show it at its best.

FREE DOWNLOAD: An Exhibition Checklist

In a busy exhibition hall, a roller banner is able to do its job more powerfully when you light it. Positioned behind the banner or clipped onto its assembly pole, the bulb pokes over the top of the banner and shines down onto the surface.

This sort of display light stand is particularly effective with fabric banners as you avoid the glare and reflection of light on vinyl.

Display lighting

In terms of assembly and positioning, display lighting is similar to banner lighting, sitting behind or clipping to the frames that create the walls of your lighted display stand.

What’s different is the focus of the light. Instead of highlighting a specific banner, image or message, display lighting is designed to wash the entire stand in light.

How much display lighting do you need?

That’s not an easy question to answer because it very much depends on how you’re using light elsewhere on your stand, the quality of the ambient light in the exhibition hall, and your position in the hall (i.e. pride of place in the well-lit centre or shoved into a relatively dingy corner).

To complicate things further, assuming you’ll be using your light up display stand at more than one event, the ambient lighting at each will inevitably be different.

To overcome this, buy a little more lighting than you think you’ll need (individual display lights are relatively inexpensive) then use trial and error to reach a light level that:

  1. Bathes your display stand with light
  2. Doesn’t blind your team or visitors
  3. Still gives your mood and accent lighting space to make an impact


In any light up exhibition display stand, the key word is ‘display’. Somewhere on your stand, there’ll be a main point of focus – a new product or a key message you want to stand out from the rest. There may be several points of focus. That’s what your spotlighting is for. 

FREE DOWNLOAD: An Exhibition Checklist

LED strip lights

If spotlights add focus and display lights wash your display stand with light, LED strip lights bring the mood, drama and, depending on the design, colour.

Great inside alcoves and around standalone consoles, strip lights can be programmable, giving you the option to shift through a colour spectrum or to have the light ‘move’ back and forth along the strip. It’s a powerful way to create a sense of energy and dynamism that a traditional light bulb display stand can’t.

Bear in mind that off-the-shelf programmable LEDs often don’t come with quite the range of colour or movement as those from specialist providers, so consider what you need from your display light stand before deciding on your display lighting supplier.

Made for light

Soyang’s display fabrics are made for lit display stands. To explore fabric, mesh and fibreglass banners ideally suited to backlighting and frontlighting, why not talk to us.

Want to learn more about display materials for exhibitions and events? These blog posts may help;

Print Display Materials for Exhibitions, Events, Trade Shows & Conferences
The Future of Events, Exhibitions & Trade Shows Post Covid

Exhibition Checklist - Free Download