News & Information


Field of emotions

For almost five decades we have been dealing with a single question at the heart of our daily work. This question is: What is the secret of a successful trade fair stand? The good news is that there is something that significantly increases the chances of success. The bad news is that there is no universal recipe that can be applied to any trade fair stand. As is usually the case in life, the situation is somewhat more complex. But let's start one after the other.

The exhibition stand is a place

Surely we all agree that a trade fair stand is simply a place at first. And places influence our feelings - we cannot escape them. According to Paul Watzlawick: "We can't feel nothing. So we can be magically attracted to a place - think of Stonehenge. Or we feel small in the face of the majesty of a Cologne cathedral. And a fine example of the impossibility of creating emotionally neutral spaces are official offices, where any decoration is undesirable. We don't feel nothing here - we feel rather uncomfortable, somehow de-individualized and are then glad when we are allowed to leave this place again.


Places influence our experience

As Collin Ellard impressively explains in his book "Psychogeography", since the beginning of human civilization we humans have been creating places to control perception. We build to influence our feelings and thoughts.  So it is always the desire to influence the feelings and thus - very importantly - the actions of people with a designed environment. Behind this has always been the attempt to organize human action, to exercise power and last but not least: to earn money.

So places influence our feelings and feelings influence our decision. Unusual experience gastronomy, chic hotels with an exquisite feel-good atmosphere and food markets with a lavish marketplace character are examples of such places from our everyday world. These places influence our experience, our feelings and thus our consumer decisions.

Intuitive decisions

Since research can watch the brain think, we also know that we often make decisions intuitively - even if we don't always like to admit it. And so we rationally justify our emotional decision afterwards. So we humans don't function like Mr. Spock - "All I know is logic." - who behaves perfectly rationally without a hint of emotion. Homo Economicus also belongs in the moth box of theories.

Feel good.

If you want to reach the heads of people, you have to touch their hearts.

And what does this have to do with a successful trade fair stand? The answer is clear: the effect of design reaches the right hemisphere of the brain - the seat of emotion - almost without detour. A successful trade fair stand thus functions by skilfully using the psychological factors of the elements of colour, form and materiality. In this way, emotional worlds of experience are created that attract attention, invite visitors to look at them and remain in the visitor's memory. The ingenious product alone, however it may be, is not enough to activate people sustainably in the stimulus-flooded surroundings of a trade fair. Products or services need a place that creates an emotional connection to the people of its target group. A successful trade fair stand is therefore a place that surrounds us like a second skin. A successful trade fair stand is a place that consciously controls the emotions of its target group and leaves nothing to chance. It is a place that moves people in the best sense of the word and thus significantly increases the market chances of the exhibitor.

I would like to conclude what I said with a fitting quotation attributed to Bill Clinton. He said:

Tomorrow's winners will be those who dominate the field of emotions.



Bill Clinton


Text: Petra Hallmann

Photos: hallmann messebau + design