Archive for January, 2008
Tuesday, January 8th, 2008
As the Art Director of one of Canada’s leading portable display manufacturers, I’ve had many 10′ pop-up exhibit designs cross my desktop. Sometimes the design is not only esthetically appealing but effectively conveys the message in a visual package that is brief yet powerful. It’s simplicity transcends the visual chaos that often occurs when hundreds of exhibitors try and graphically yell “Hey look at me!”. In a sea of cluttered displays, there it stands; elegant, clean, balanced, with one message that says it all. It is a small masterpiece of simplicity and beauty and by it’s traffic flow, my opinion proves shared.
So why are displays of this nature so seldom seen at trade shows? Have exhibit designers lost their edge? Has the world gone mad? (okay that’s another blog).
For those of us who design, we know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder (the client) and bridging the gap between executing good design and pleasing the client can be hard. What starts off a single powerful image with a direct message can end up a busy display with too much text and no real message. Why? The answer lies in it’s misconceived function. A pop-up display is a backdrop, that’s primary function is to be visually appealing enough that a potential lead will give a glance that exceeds the standard 5 second viewing window; enough time for a company representative to make his/her move. It is essentially a 10′ or 20′ billboard along the convention aisle super highway.
Displays become messes of graphs and copy when it’s function gets changed; when the billboard becomes a brochure. In my entire exhibition career I have yet to see someone stop and read a display. It just doesn’t happen and if it did, then the booths could go unmanned. Company representatives, literature and support materials are the arena for providing product details and company info. A trade show display design should serve to answer the most basic of questions in a way that esthetically makes one even care to know.
In 5 seconds, a great design can speak volumes and should clearly convey the following:
- Who? Sounds like a no-brainer but you’d be surprised how many display designs lack the proper positioning or prominence of their company name or logo. Nice booth but who are they?
- What? Now that they know who you are, what do you do? This is where an effective tagline comes into play. Think concise, practical and to the point.
- Where? The presence of a URL in a design is an easy contact to remember and a great way for one to get more post-show info.
- When? Time restricted premium and incentive offers at a show are good way to get people to act now. Show specials can sometimes hasten the process of turning warm leads into sales.
- Why? This is your question. So many exhibitors participate in trade show without a mission or at least not a mission that will matter to those attending. Attending simply because ‘our competitor’s do’ or ‘we have every year’ or ‘we should’ are not reasons to attend. Have a goal and a strategy for accomplishing it, prior to, during and after the show.
- How? That’s where the experts come in. Let exhibit designers design, trust their expertise and look to a reputable exhibit company for guidance. Let us do what we do best so that you can do what you do best. It sounds simple because it is.
Ah, if there is just one less bullet point, testimonial or graph on a pop-up display… then my job is done. A gal can dream can’t she?