Sizing up your creative options

Posted on Tue 11th Sep 2018 at 8:27pm

In spite of the many nuts and bolts involved, it's worth remembering that making any exhibition presence, from the smallest to the largest, is a creative enterprise, and perhaps the 'amount' of creativity you bring to bear on the project is more important than the amount of money you spend. No matter how large or small your stand is, there is absolutely no reason it shouldn't be a success, because it really isn't about size or budget, it's about working creatively within those constraints to achieve your exhibition goals.
Of course, every exhibition stand should start with the facts - and the balancing of your ambition with realism, when you look at what you can spend, what you want to achieve and whether its worth it. The creativity comes when you start looking at precisely how you're going to spend that money, and achieve those goals. Ideally, you will want to crash through your goals and come back next year with even greater ambition.
When a customer comes to Evolve, Showlite's department dedicated to creative exhibiting, we think very carefully about their goals and apply that thinking to the floorplan, the design, the AV and tech, the graphics, floorcoverings and everything else that adds up to a successful stand. Whether it's shell scheme or space only, we use our collective experience of the changing face of exhibition show floors to build an exhibition presence to achieve those goals, rather than trying to 'keep up with the Joneses' and simply tacking on the latest fad feature or technical trick. By creating the stand as a whole, rather than a collection of features and fittings, we design every facet to work together, squeezing the most value out of the space and budget available.
If you're putting your exhibition presence together, you have a challenge on your hands to make it stand out. But you can arm yourself with some knowledge and experience. Visit an exhibition! Make a note of what you find engaging and what you find discouraging as a visitor, from stand design, colour and shape, to stand features, floorplans and 'gimmicks'. And the stands you don't look at? Go back and take a look - what do they lack that makes them invisible and unengaging?
Walking around exhibitions, I see a lot of what I would consider wasted money. It doesn't matter whether I'm looking at huge, multi-storey stands or tiny shell scheme cubicles, I always see money being spent on screens and graphics that no-one looks at, piles of leaflets left unread and stands with furniture arranged to offer as many obstacles to visitors as possible.
Whether it's space only or shell scheme, a corner site can be a fantastic opportunity, especially if people need to turn that corner to get to or from a main feature like a lecture theatre or refreshment area. By keeping this corner of your stand open and uncluttered, you can take advantage of high, slow-moving footfall on two sides,  where exhibition visitors will clearly see your key messages and features. For those who are interested, they can move out of the crowd into the space of your stand and you can then move back where you can, for example, offer them coffee and somewhere comfortable to sit, a tablet to explore your product catalogue or take in a demo.
If you're going to have a screen on-stand, make it do something more than playing your promo video on loop. Get interactive, something as simple as a game on a phone can become a widescreen attraction if the context and presentation are right. Or give people tablets or iPads instead and use the wall space for something useful, like a clear, well printed graphic.
Keep your graphics clear and readable from at least 15 feet! Not everyone has 20/20 vision or their glasses on, and no-one will stop to read great blocks of small type. Ensures you keep those important messages short and clear, if a visitor can't read your message during those crucial seconds as they walk past, then you've lost that vital, initial communication opportunity.
Whatever size and scale of stand you're planning, make it work towards your goals and nothing else. Use your creativity to overcome your budget and space limitations, and you'll soon have people flocking onto your stand!

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