Designing my first exhibit

by Jordan Knox

exhibit design

As a graphic designer who previously worked at printing companies that dealt mostly with 2d, flat mediums, I was anxious about starting my career at ExpoDisplays. The company seemed like a great fit, but I had only minimal knowledge of what the trade show industry was about. My knowledge stopped at banner stands and pop ups. However, that was part of the appeal. Turns out, there’s a lot I can learn by getting out of my comfort zone.

In an industry this big, it’s impossible to know it all. However, working as a marketing designer in at ExpoDisplays, I have picked up a few things in the last year about exhibit design and the trade show industry. Here are some of the highlights:

Navigating trade show terminology is much like playing Oregon trail video game.

Drayage is not something that involves water (like I previously thought- seriously)

Trade show displays are more than banner stands and pop ups. Our custom exhibits absolutely blew my mind. I had no idea there was such a thing as a 2 story trade show exhibit. Whether it be an interactive exhibit, an exhibit that involves a LED car game, or a fully functional waterfall, the bounds we are willing to push creatively as a company is out of this world.

Designing graphics for a booth is MUCH more difficult than I expected. As a graphic designer with a background in various forms of 2d media design, it was a hard concept to grasp designing something that had space, dimension and walls. Doing it really well and maintaining the design intent, however, is an entirely different proposition.

The booth design is as, if not more, important than the graphics that go on it. To me, designing graphics that enhance and compliment the already established booth or display is what makes the final piece so engaging. No level of graphic masterpiece can cover up a poorly designed booth. Similarly, a well designed and thought out exhibit can be diminished if the graphics are sub par.

Collaboration is key. As a marketing graphic designer, most of my projects focus on designing things for the company. How do you design a trade show booth for a trade show company that is exhibiting at a trade show for trade shows? Right?! The answer is: A lot of collaboration, brainstorming sessions, mistakes, patience, and coffee.

The value of a good team. From carpenters, to dealer support, sales and of course the designers, it has been eye opening at the various ways creativity and innovation surface.

Every job comes with its own experiences and unique lessons that stick with you throughout your life.  I’m still a work in progress, and hope I always will be. Im thankful for a work place that I’m able to learn not only my job, but all facets of design and creativity. The atmosphere is conducive for creativity and I think its evident in our success. When you mistake work for fun, you know you’re where you’re suppose to be.