I wish we could talk about this

What goes into good booth design?

As I'm starting to get into production mode and thinking of the shows I'm doing in November; I'm thinking more about presentation and booth design.  I suspect the more one does shows the less and less they think about it - it's old hat, right?  But, is that true? 

How much should go into learning what makes a good booth, how it impacts your work and subsequently, your sales?  Do most artists create something that works and then they stick with it or change it up?  Year to year, show to show?  I'm curious what other people have to say about how much time spend on booth design and set up - even if you've been doing this a long time and have ample experience how much time went into it?  If you're a seasoned vet - do you think about it every time you do a show or do it rote?

Last year I did two back to back shows; I was more stressed on getting enough work done than focusing any real attention on the booth thing.  To be honest, it was an afterthought.  I kind of just had the attitude of "winging" it.  In another life; I worked in restaurants; I just figured, hey, I'll figure it out...a white table cloth and some risers - arrange my stuff nicely and that's it, right? 

But, I'm not so sure. We all shop - we know what appeals to us.  I'm just thinkin' it may be worth a little more of my attention.  For my upcoming events, I wanted to put a little more thought into  how my booth design/setup relates to my work.  I want it to look like I spent some time on it - but not too much?!

am I over thinking this? 

While I was at ACGA recently, I helped out some friends set up their booths and was quite tuned in and observant of what they all were doing...and trackin' in this direction.
I decided to do a bit of research.  I looked for some examples of booths I might like; and I didn't find that much - I hate to say it; but they all start looking the same. 
I found a list of some posts from a blog - called "Good booth gone bad" - I've not read them alll; the ones I did were informative and offered some good insights.
I did a little reading up on "Why we buy - the science of shopping" .  I did some perusing of sales and marketing statistics - an endless morass of info.  That's all well and good; and even helpful, but at the end of the day - even armed with TONS of information - how is that actually applied on the ground, or in my case, in my garage?

timely, Kyle Carpenter has a post about Booth set up...

Booth know how via the ETSY Storque - I applaud the "lose the table" tip!
Show me your booth Flickr Page - via ETSY

pics below in order of appearance:

Sharon Virtue - ACGA
Sharon laughed that it was Booth set up 101 at ACGA!  The one thing I keep going back to is the idea that if you put up a table a tablecloth and plop your stuff on it - it's like a bake sale.  Sharon has these risers for the table legs that actually lifted the table about 10" off the ground making it a little better for eye level.  It's the little things...

Shelley Simon - ACGA
Shelley has done trade shows and whole sale shows for over 30yrs.  She does know what works with her work.  And she is right.  She had people buzzing like bees around honey all weekend.

Alameda Flea Market
The Alameda Flea Market - to be fair is not an Art Show.  There is a certain amount of total acceptance of the general disarray and chaos that flea markets offer - it is fun and maddening at the same time!

Hue Yang's open studio
This is a set up in a Studio Space - again the public accepts a certain amount of free form 'design' in artists personal open studio shows.  But she did a nice job with breaking up the work arrangement by hanging some, shelving some. 

I realize there is only so much you can do; or want to do.  It's partially a socio-philosophical art vs. business discussion.

Up in the Air Somewhere
So, yeah - the clean less-is-more look -  I love the layered curtain.  Modern and attractive!

So, if anyone has any comments, suggestions, experiences - I really would love to hear from you !



  1. Hmmm... I haven't thought of this much... As a 'shopper' I can say that I like booths where the artist's are either sitting in the back with work in the front or where the artists are working on something within the space... displaying their creative process to some degree. As far as set up, I'm intrigued by variety in display- tables, shelves, walls, etc... a little of everything allows for more curiosity. I am also a fan of clean organization (read gallery white background). Not sure why on that one.

  2. Yeah, this has been on my mind - I am so tired of the "table and wares" look. And yet, throw a nice white tablecloth on and it is clean - been there - done that. I also like and keep leaning towards a real piece of furniture ... Anyway, less is more and lose the table are always at the back of me mind.

    More on this....

  3. I LOVE checking out people's booth design, that's why I like to go to craft fair. Just to look at how people display, it's too bad you can't come to this weekend's renegade because most of the booth there are really ass kicking. anyway, maybe I will share some photo with you when I go there :-)