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The Trade Show Exhibit Design Process – Part 1, Discovery & Information

09/10/15 by Brandon

We’re going to be starting a five part series on the Trade Show Exhibit Design Process, which can be broken down into Five Phases.

  1. Discovery and Information
  2. Design
  3. Approvals and Signature
  4. Detailing
  5. Fabrication

The first component, the Discovery and Information Phase, is probably the most important part of the entire process. It is during this phase that the information required to make the exhibit is gathered. The more thorough a job done here means an incredibly suited exhibit on show day that meets all the customer requirements and looks great.

The exhibit company will need to get as much information as possible to accurately transform your marketing goals and objectives into a visual presentation. To accomplish this, you as the exhibitor, can prepare yourself ahead of time to provide the display house with as much information as possible. At Exhibit Edge, we provide a “Design Parameter Questionnaire”. This questionnaire covers 5 distinct areas of information that will help us create your unique trade show exhibit design.

  1. The Corporate Mission Statement
  2. The Corporate Marketing Program
  3. Target Audience
  4. Exhibit Requirements
  5. Your Exhibit Fabrication Budget

The objective of the questionnaire is to understand your company and attract attention to your space by knowing your current marketing program. We want to best represent the goals and objectives of your company, so we will use your corporate mission statement as a guide to determine the overall look and feel of your exhibit. For example, if your company is more service and people oriented, we tend to lean towards warm finishes and a comfortable atmosphere. If your company is more high tech, we would lean toward metal finishes and a sleek polished environment.trade show exhibit design

Using our own mission as an example: “We care, we serve and challenge the ordinary to maximize our customers’ vision and success.” There is a service component, but for this mission statement we would lean toward a high tech look to highlight new exhibit technology.

The next area is the marketing program itself. You’ll need to be able to answer questions such as:

  • What type of promotional campaigns do you use?
  • Do you use television commercials, brochures, radio, billboards, magazines, or internet?
  • What could we incorporate into an exhibit?
  • What are the key symbols and graphics that currently identify your company?
  • What makes your company identifiable and memorable?
  • What do you do better than your competition?
  • Who are your competitors?
  • What colors represent your company?

The third area, the target audience, is a great exercise. Who is your ideal customer? This is the customer that drives your marketing. At Exhibit Edge our ideal customer is a client with about 10 to 25 shows per year with a variety of different exhibits ranging from 10 x 10 to 50 x 50. Of course you will help all customers but you want your exhibit capability and message to focus on the type of customer that best fits your model.

Next are your exhibit requirements. If you can get this information narrowed down ahead of time it will go a long way to identifying the functional requirements of your exhibit. Here is where you get specific in your needs.

  • What is the largest size exhibit you need?
  • How many different size booth spaces are in your show schedule?
  • Are there any special requirements such as a vehicle in the space?
  • How many workstations?
  • How much storage?
  • What equipment will need to be displayed?
  • What about reception areas, theaters, conference areas, games, and refreshments?
  • Do you want motion in the exhibit?
  • Do you want an overhead sign or special lighting? Motion and lights are a great way to catch people’s attention.

Last, but certainly not least, is to identify a budget. It is crucial to the quality of the design to know the budget up front. If you don’t have a budget then please provide a budget range. I know what you are thinking: If you give the salesperson your budget numbers then they will use up the entire budget in their design, but look at it from the exhibit company’s perspective. We don’t want to show you something that is outside your budget. We want to put our best foot forward and design to an exhibit that is in your price range. We most likely will go to the top of the budget number you give us and then we can remove elements if you need to bring the numbers down. Make sense? It is important to understand what goes into the budget to know what you can expect. We will cover that first next week as we look at the design of the exhibit.