The past two display offenders, "Purchased Racks & Props" and "Inconsistent Display Materials" often travel with "Pathetic Aesthetic" to art and craft shows.
Examining the situation closely, I'd say that "Inconsistent Display Materials" and "Purchased Racks and Props" are at least partially responsible for the mismatched, incoherent booth display offender that this post will label as "Pathetic Aesthetic."
For maximum impact the aesthetic of your booth display needs to align with your art/craft, absolutely 100% down to the last detail. If every single booth assembly decision contributes toward this goal, the better your booth display and the more effective your booth display will be in attracting your customers.
The booth needs to be like a powerful magnetic field. It needs to attract an audience from 50, even 100 feet away. Before your customer even enters your booth, your booth display has started "selling" your work.
Another issue is that "Pathetic Aesthetic" will be confusing to your customer. If they walk into your booth, and the display is not consistent with the work for sale, it is unlikely that they will fully engage with you or your work.
Do you think that I am too critical of "Pathetic Aesthetic?" Perhaps, but your non-customers are being even more critical when they walk right past your booth. They are too busy, too tired, or too uninterested, especially if they see a more interesting booth on down the path.
So here it is ....your booth display has two jobs.....
Attract the customer into the booth......
Then keep the customer in the booth.... until they talk to the artist maker, look at the work for sale, and maybe even buy or at least pick up a card for a later online purchase.
What are the components of a consistent aesthetic in your booth display?
It could be a decision about color, texture, motif, background drape, display props & displays, your floor, your cases, even your sign, the way you are dressed. Everything counts.
Color is a key indicator of aesthetic. In the image (left) from Jillian Moore at the 2013 ACC San Francisco. The Lime Green wall says trend, young and irreverent. Every color is acceptable....but they all send a message.
Colors do affect purchases! Color is specific to a demographic consumer audience and type of purchasing. There is so much information about the science of color. I'd recommend considering your color choice to fit your audience. A quick study online can find lots of information including "10 Colors That Increase Sales, and Why."
Texture can also be an aesthetic choice. As one example that I have seen on many occasions, Japanese Rice paper says "low key, subdued" aesthetic.
Looking for a motif for your booth might come from your work as in this example by Fobots. Funky chalk board paint with hand drawn characters in white chalk have the same whimsy as the Fobots made from repurposed materials.
Background drapes should be background without distracting from the items on display. In the left photo, Fobots has a curtain that looked totally consistent with the booth aesthetic. I thought they must have even hand drawn on the fabric themselves.
Be cautious about a dark colored background. Dark colors to black drape need a tremendous amount of light to be a successful display, so consider lighting before taking this option.
Display props and racks often send a very "commercial" retail message. "Purchased display props of any kind are synonymous with mall-style mass merchandising -- i.e. the wrong message in a craft booth about "handmade."
Can you think about how to make your own display?
Can you make your own display from your medium? Jonathan Spoons made their display entirely from burnt wood like their signature Niche Award winning spoon . They made their entire booth from wood, the same medium they use for all their spoons and utensils. Consistency created a strong aesthetic in the booth display.
Flooring in your booth such as tile or carpeting can create more of a defined space. It is kind of like crossing a threshold of graciousness into a space or environment, but it also becomes part of the aesthetic of your booth. In the photo left from emiko oye's booth at ACC San Francisco 2015, the raised dots in the floor tile echo the raised dots in the Legos she uses for her jewelry. Walking up to her display at ACC was a knock your socks off eye-catching experience.
In contrast, the gray rental carpeting (left) that I saw in several booths was not doing its job. It was not creating an aesthetic experience nor the effect of a special room. This image looks like a super boring picture doesn't it. Well, it didn't look any better in person. Skip the gray rental carpet.
Your booth sign and personal attire are two more considerations for creating a complete aesthetic experience in your booth. These are topics for future posts.
Previous Posts in the series WANTED Better Display:
Your Display is An Invitation To Walk Into Your Booth or Walk Right By BYE
WANTED Better Displays - Display Offender #1 Black Drape Booths
This post was updated on December 10th, 2021.