Creative for exhibitions and conferences must have at it’s heart an understanding of the outcomes required of it.
The design of a stand should generate multiple touch points and engagement with the visitors. Driving participation in the stand content of varying degrees of duration and depth on involvement. Without this the stand remains unmemorable and the brand experience forgotten falling short of the exhibitor’s objectives and goals.
We use several options to deliver stand engagement, which broadly come under the objectives of Encourage, Enable and Guide.
Provide digital tools to encourage further brand immersion – an iPad for instance linked to further product knowledge or digital | web assets.
Often stand visitors need to touch and feel the products on display, which can require the development of tactile component or experience.
Finding innovative ways of displaying clients feature products on a stand requires some clever lateral thinking as well as saying dialed in to the “qualitative” expedience around the product.
Visitors need to feel the action and hear the clunk of their door locks and get a sense of how secure they are.
With a selection of stands all fighting for presence, clients often ask us to ensure they stand out from the crowd. We create unique brand experiences and introduce game-play and activities into our stands to ensure a memorable interaction between stand, brand and visitor.
For some clients, an exhibition stand is where deals are brokered. Participation is face to face and requires a longer engagement time, discussing sensitive topics. For these, more private and seated space is important – an oasis away from the crowds and noise of most event halls.
Designing for an exhibition, conference or event is not like designing for a poster or an ad campaign. It requires a special set of skills that combine 3D design, large format artwork production, good knowledge of printing processes and a solid understanding of stand materials.
Designing in 3D
At Brandstand, we’ve been creating exhibition stands for not only some of New Zealand’s biggest brands but global brands too. Coke turned to the Brandstand team when they needed a solution for a mall activation. Heineken came to us when they needed to stand out at the Rugby World Cup. Agencies and brands alike realise that design for exhibitions is a specialised area and one that requires a specific type of designer with very specific skills and experience.
Often an exhibition designer will be a mix of graphic designer and interior designer, understanding the nuances of flooring whilst at the same time suggesting the placing and type of lighting that should be used on a stand.
Designing experiential and exhibition stands has to be a mix of pure creativity mixed with a good dash of practicality. Often the briefs we receive have very clear deliverables. It would be easy to design the most incredible solutions but if the brief asks that the solution fits into the back of a car, then we must build this requirement into our design and tailor our solutions accordingly. It’s this ‘real world’ practicality that has won us many fans over the years and explains why clients like Fonterra keep coming back to us.
Often our designers need to consider the flow of people around a stand, and take into account key messaging and where it should appear within an exhibition stand to drive maximum effect. When we design an exhibition stand we must consider where it will appear and how it will be used.
In order for the design to be effective, we need to know the objectives that it’s trying meet. For instance, are we trying to push volume through the stand or do we need to spend quality time with a few key individuals? This will affect where and how we include meeting areas.
On a corner site vs a centre site, people will flow around the stand very differently. As designers, are we happy to accept free movement and flow, or do we need to design a user journey into the stand layout, forcing behaviour through design and build?
Brandstand has over 20 years of experience in creating and producing exhibition and event stands that deliver to agreed objectives, on time and on budget.
Any project starts with talking (and often a coffee too!). We ask plenty of questions and our clients explain their needs. Sometimes we might upset the status-quo a little, play devil’s advocate even so that by the end we’re all happy with the brief and all on the same page with the task ahead.
Our Creative team works either direct with the client, or in some instances direct with the client’s marketing agency, to create initial designs and mock-ups. Once we’re agreed on an approach then we complete the production of scaled 3D CAD drawings that properly provide a view of the final stand. These provide the very best insight into how the final stand will appear, and include details of materials and specs to be used.
Once the CAD drawings are signed off then the stand moves into production. Brandstand’s designers work closely with our Production and in-house Print teams, all overseen by the project manager. Timescales are agreed, key milestones signed off and then the stand begins to happen. Our designers produce all the required artwork files for print, and then our production team applies them to the stand materials, where required and as per the CAD drawings.
Our designers often need to work with large format artwork, manipulating it for various materials, such as metals and fabrics, and understand how different colours will be represented across various materials. This is important if the final look of the stand is going to be consistent and true to brand guidelines – never is this more important than with large global brands.
So as you can see creativity is a lot more than just thinking outside of the box and at Brandstand we certainly have the skills and experience to produce a display that works for you and your requirements.
It would be crazy to design an exhibition stand without taking into account various measures for success. As part of our stand design process, we build in KPIs and ROI measures so we and our clients know whether the stand has delivered on it’s original brief.