AND SOME FREE–ASSOCIATION
By Paul Bridson
DIAMOND V had designs on the table from a competitor of ours who hadn’t shown them anything impressive from a design aesthetic point of view. Brainstorm’s vast design library served as a springboard for everyone’s creativity, and we soon settled on a general configuration to begin with. Kudos to the Diamond V design staff for their clear directions... and kudos to Brainstorm’s designers for their color 3-D renderings! The finished display - 20 x 30 footprint includes tower with personnel door and storage, 8 x 18 conference room with locking doors, cool fabric graphics complemented by maple laminate, 2 workstations with locking storage - low ship weight and easy setup, all for under $45,000, ALL INCLUSIVE.
So why did this project go so right? First of all, the client had put serious thought into their likes / dislikes / needs / wants and goals. Here’s what I (display designer) got at the first meeting:
• A list of things that they felt were wrong with the previous booth.
• Photos of displays from a recent show they had attended depicting some elements they found interesting.
• A laundry list of “must haves” such as how much storage, literature and counter space.
• Some ideas of future needs. in Diamond V’s case we knew that at some point we’ll need to add a big screen to the tower, and I’ve designed that expectation in already.
• Goals. In their case, the goal was to look modern, clean and cutting edge, to reduce cost of ownership, and to keep the cost of refreshing graphics to a minimum.
• A budget. A booth designer needs to know a realistic budget up front if he’s going to work efficiently. Try not to think of an exhibit as a commodity, where low price rules. Find a designer/builder that you feel you can trust and give them the information they need to succeed. Look at past projects they’ve done, interview their customers and visit their offices. Shop for competence, not price, and require them to stick to your budget – you’ll do much better!
When a client puts this kind of thought and preparation into the purchase, two things always happen: they get a better exhibit, and they spend less money. Diamond V gave me such a clear picture of what constituted success to them, that it was far simpler for my team to put it all together.
By Paul Bridson
HERE ARE the basic principles our award-winning designers use to create graphics that work!
1. Make them stop and look
In just three to five seconds, graphics should communicate who you are, what you do and how customers can benefit. Graphics are the first impression an attendee has of an exhibitor at a trade show, so it is important to make the right statement.
2. Consider your show goals
Consider how to convey your show goals graphically. Aim to grab attention with full-blown, interesting and vibrant graphics. Make graphic images life-size or greater for the highest impact.
3. Project the right image
Understand what image you want to project: traditional, hi-tech, dependable, etc. Your company's image will dictate choices in typefaces, artwork, color, etc.
4. Design for the audience
Design your graphics to your target audience. Focus on customer benefits. Use your graphics to show how your company differs from the competition. Design images to stimulate your viewer's imagination to think beyond the con- ventional. Avoid designing down to particular audiences, e.g. white for doctors, diagrams for engineers. Convey technical information using good design principles and carefully planned graphics.
5. Use different types of graphics
There are a variety of graphic solutions available including front and backlit photographs, digitally printed images, murals or detachable signage. Your trade show consultant can also show you how you can build dimensionality into your graphics, using standoffs or spacers.
6. Have an integrated approach
Plan to use your graphics on other collateral material for a thematic, integrated look. For greater memorability, use color rather than black and white.
7. Use light
If you don't adequately light your graphics, you may as well not have done them. Lighting is one thing that's hard to overdo in a trade show display.
8. Include special effects
Pull in your audience with graphics coupled with other effects. Attract attention with movement. Consider adding an LED message sign to your display, adding motion or using 3-D imaging.
9. Limit copy
Limit the total amount of copy as people rarely spend time reading a mass of type on a graphic panel. Use simple language. Write copy in short sentences and keep your paragraphs short.
Superlatives, or the "brag and boast" syndrome, clichés and overused metaphors, superimposing copy on your illustration or reversing out large amounts of copy (white type against a black background), and periods at the end of headlines as they stop the reader from reading any further.
Paul Bridson and Kelly Sargent
We've been helping companies achieve lofty goals for over twenty years now. Here's the benefit of our experience!