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Event stand design: The 4 ingredients to a perfect blend of Art and Science.

Being able to build huge feature areas for organisers, to helping the world’s biggest brands take their marketing plan on the road is one of the finest arrows in our supplier quiver. But who are the ones that help bring those initial ideas into reality? I followed the gentle buzz of Mac computers across the corridor and I managed to track one down, Kevin – one of our designers - and one of the nicest blokes you’ll ever have the pleasure to meet (for a Villa supporter).

So how does Kevin breathe life into the projects he receives? I’ll let him explain in his own words how he went from blank canvas to design proposal for Jewellery & Gem Fair (JGF) Europe 2014:

Each project is a process, and research is arguably 80% of the work. If you ask me, the work I do needs me to be 4 people at once: an architect, a structural engineer, movie set designer and a marketer. Not that I’m complaining about that! I love the variation involved. So how does the process begin?

Fact finding:

Your typical project usually starts life by seeing what has worked (or not worked!) before for the type of event that the client is attending – there’s no point in reinventing the wheel if you’ve done it already. For JGF I looked at previous stands the team had designed which fell into the category of either jewellery, hair or fashion design (we can safely assume attendees of these types event generally fall into similar demographics).

Setting expectations:

Sending over some examples of previous work to the project manager/client helps to get a clearer picture of what features they like and what style appeals to them, it also helps to build a better picture of the clients’ expectations, and it can show them what is achievable for a certain budget range. Doing this initial leg work saves time further down the line (a stitch in time saves 9 as they say), it certainly saves me from going off and making what I think is a master piece but isn’t relevant to the client and having to make another 20 versions (and potentially losing the client in that time!). 

Not reinventing the wheel:

This is where using experience comes into effect. After establishing what the client is looking for and what their budget is, my other research goes into understanding how well features have worked at previous events of a similar type. In the case of our example of JGF: I needed to consider aspects such as the optimal height of jewellery cases and what lighting would give the products the best possible coverage. Then it’s just a case of combining what we know works in a practical sense into a design that works best for the stand space and using the clients’ preferences as the fundamental element. Simple!

Art, meet Science!:

With events like JGF, show security is paramount. So I knew that the entrance on and off the stand had to be controlled and that all the rest of the stand needed to be inaccessible. So making the most of the organiser stand specifications that the stand needed to be an island site, I utilised that feature so that customers would be able to see the clients products around the whole exterior of the stand space (making the most of the available area) but only have access in one particular place (like an island that is only accessible through a controlled port – in this case: a reception desk). This also has the advantage of giving the stand exclusivity without alienating people that wish to see the clients’ products. 

Lighting is also key for this type of project, just like whenever you see jewellery ads on TV, the stones always sparkle perfectly. So to pick out the natural colours of the jewellery I used bright white lighting where ever possible, capping this off with elegant hanging lights to give the stand space an air of sophistication. By staggering the inset jewellery cases it gives the area an interesting appeal and makes the area look modern, clean and simple. Just as a final flourish, I added some butterfly artwork reaching up the exterior of the stand space gives the idea of an elegant boutique.

And that is the Art and Science of what we do, all be it a slightly annotated version (we’re not going to share all the trade secrets with you!).