Trade Show Display Lighting – Done Right

Categories: Trade Show Lighting

An often overlooked but very important aspect of your trade show booth setup is
lighting. Getting your trade show exhibit lighting dialed to the best look it can be is
super imperative to your overall presence and booth appeal.

With the advent of backlit trade show exhibits, LED lighting options, and even RGB
lighting for extra flair, there really is an opportunity to look your best that you don’t
want to pass up.

So let’s discuss each option and talk about the best way to brighten your brand for all of
the above.

Let’s go!

Most event halls and convention centers have banned the use of halogen lights. While
they were the standard go-to for many years, they’ve since been replaced by LED
lighting, and for good reason. Halogen lights, which use a filament much like in
incandescent light bulbs, get too hot and pose a fire hazard at the venues.

Once LEDs became more prevalent and cost-effective, it was a fast transition over, and
they continue to be used widely for trade shows in many events.

LED Lighting for Trade Show Exhibits

If you’ve walked a show floor over the last couple of years, you’ve seen them
everywhere. LED lighting on trade show back walls, clipped on the top of towers,
mounted on retractable banner stands, and even to light up trade show hanging signs.

They typically either clamp on the display or have a mechanism to attach it. Sometimes
the connection is designed and manufactured specifically for that model of display, and

sometimes it is an aftermarket LED lighting system that can adjust and connect to a
variety of structures.

WaveLight LED Ladder Lights Backlit Trade Show Wall
WaveLight LED Ladder Lights Backlit Trade Show Wall

Regardless of which option is being used, they’re often used with multiple lights and can
be daisy-chained to accommodate two or more lights on the same circuit.

From a visual standpoint, they’re usually mounted at the top of the display and are
designed to be front-lit, where the head shines onto your exhibit and illuminates your
graphics or business.

Frontlit LED Lighting for trade show exhibits is a fast and low-cost way to amplify your
appearance at your next event. The cost usually ranges anywhere from $75 to $200 per
light and attachment.

LED Clamp Light
LED Clamp Light

LED Backlit Lighting for Trade Show Exhibits

Backlit Inflatable Printed Displays
Backlit Inflatable Printed Displays

Now that we’ve covered the benefits of frontlit LED lights, let’s talk about backlit LED
options for trade show exhibits. Because let me tell you, there are a ton of really great
and impressive options out there for backlit portable and modular displays.
There are really two main ways that exhibits are backlit:

1 – LED Backlit Edge Lighting

This is where the LED modules are found on the edge of the frame.

Take a backlit trade show wall, for example. The edge lighting is often mounted on
opposite sides of the long ends of the frame. Once the graphics have been added and
your displays plugged in, the lights shine on the opposing sides toward each other, filling
the space and creating a floodlight effect. Viewed from the outside the graphics really
POP! and look amazing.

LED Edge Lighting in Frame
LED Edge Lighting in Frame

2 – LED Ladder Lighting

This option is an alternative system.

Using our same backlit trade show display example, the LED ladder light is an array of
lights that are suspended from the top of the frame and hung all the way down to the
bottom. Once plugged into a transformer, they shine brightly and fill the inside with
light, giving a backlit appearance.

While there’s no one set way of doing it, I think that long-term, edge lighting offers a
faster assembly and is generally less heavy, but both methods are widely used right

LED Ladder Lights for Backlit Trade Show Tower

Types of Trade Show Exhibits That Use Backlighting

Backlit Trade Show Hanging Sign
Backlit Trade Show Hanging Sign

What started a few years ago as mostly backlit trade show walls has evolved into a
plethora of options, including the following:

…and a range of other options, including Backlit Full Booth Packages like the SEGO
Display system, Infinity Backlit configurations, Panoramic-H Line system, and many

Heck, there are even backlit inflatable towers and counters! The innovation has been

Backlit Casonara Trade Show Counter
Backlit Casonara Trade Show Counter


While there’s much more to cover, we hope this gives you a good summary of what
you’ll see on the tradeshow floor 95% of the time, as well as educates you about options
as you plan out your next booth.

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