3 Quick Tips To Make Your Backlit Trade Show Design A Success

3 Quick Tips To Make Your Backlit Trade Show Design A Success


Backlit displays are becoming more and more popular thanks to their excellent value. These eye catching back walls are more portable and cost effective than ever. Exhibitors are beginning to realize that these panels are easy to assemble and offer a great return on investment (ROI). 


There are many different styles of backlit booths available. We prefer these three backlit display styles


Regardless of the display style you choose, designing for an illuminated graphic offers unique opportunities and challenges. This quick post touches on three important points to help make your backlit graphic design look better and ultimately be more successful. 


3 Quick Tips For Your Backlit Graphic Design 

  1. All colors change a little when they are backlit
  2. Try to avoid “fringe colors”
  3. Contrast is king


Learn more about each of these in this quick post so you can avoid making design errors and create the design you are envisioning. 


1. All Colors Change A Little When They are Backlit

When you think about this, it makes sense that colors could appear a little lighter or more vibrant when they have concentrated light behind them. Darker colors like black can appear really dark grey whereas a very faint design could appear a little washed out. For this reason, many print teams and display shops will not offer color matching options for backlit displays. 

Vibrant colors work best as the illumination boosts their natural vibrancy. We recommend using these colors as key elements for your design. 


same space graphic with LEDs off vs LEDs on
Same design with the LEDs off and the LEDs on


Acknowledging that colors will appear a little different with concentrated LEDs behind them compared to a standard exhibit is important when creating a booth design. This helps you adjust your design and color selections accordingly but it also helps to set the right expectation for the final print.  

2. Try To Avoid “Fringe Colors”

We talk about “Fringe Colors” in our Simple Terms: Pantone, CMYK, and More post but essentially these are colors that are on the fringe of another color.

Some examples of a fringe color would be a red with a noticeable orange presence or maybe a strong pink mix. Other examples would be a blue color but with a noticeable green hue or a yellow with an orange tone. 

Example of "fringe colors"
Example of "fringe colors"

When printing a backlit graphic, you want to avoid fringe colors if possible. The reason to stay away from these is that the color may look perfect when printed but when the LEDs turn on, the secondary color may become more visible. When the secondary color shows through, the entire color profile can change. 

If your design can tolerate a slight color shift, these colors are fine to use. On the other hand, if you are using these types of colors as a main design element, you need to be cautious.

3. Contrast Is King

Contrast always helps to grab attention but it’s amplified even more with a backlit graphic. 

When you're creating your design layout, consider ways that you can include dark colors and dark tones next to light colors and light tones. When you turn on the LED backlighting, the color difference will be extradited creating a clean and modern look.  

The more contrast between the colors, the greater the visual impact will be. You can also use different tones of the same color to build contrast while adding an interesting dynamic to your design. 


Good use of contrast
Good use of contrast


With any design work you have to consider how colors will play off one another but with backlit designs, it’s even more important.  Adding in contrast to your backlit trade show display design will only help your booth stand out at your events. 


Bonus Tip!!


Create Your Design To Highlight A Specific Section (or two)

Another trick for your backlit trade show booth design is to create your layout with key sections being highlighted and focus on using visuals to convey your message instead of relying on text. 

Again, backlit displays offer a unique opportunity to really use contrast to your benefit. If you are looking to highlight a certain product or feature, design the section where you show this product or feature in contrast with the rest of the display. 

Using contrast to focus on the middle section of the display
Using contrast to focus on the middle section of the display


This technique works like a spotlight for your main message and helps you keep your design focused without becoming text heavy. 

If you have any questions about your backlit design, please feel free to contact us at info@moddisplays.com or 877.663.3976.

April 26, 2021
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