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International Focus: Putting a Price Tag on Creativity

How Design is Changing its Perceived Value in the Exhibitions & Events Industry

by Crystal Chu

The exhibitions and events industry is constantly evolving and is where information, technology and people coincide. In an industry where businesses are focused on achieving their business and marketing goals, design may be side-lined. Design brings value that may be neglected and seen as unimportant. In the dynamic exhibitions and events space, design has the potential to enhance the visitor experience and bring brands to achieve greater business goals through collaboration, reinvention of its offerings and pairing up with the right digital resources.

  1. Beating the Odds of Technology and Ubiquity

All industries are being disrupted by the fast-paced digital transformation taking place; the exhibition and events space is no exception. Information in this age is obtained swiftly and understood in a fast-track setup. Think of the ease of user experience and the immaculate prototypes of products that have stimulated the ways we retrieve information. As more brands embrace digitalization in its operation, some may choose swift function over elaborated aesthetics. However, the idea of sacrificing the latter over the former does not have to be the case.

Good design draws on the brand’s established identity and finds its distinctive qualities to stand out.  This can be achieved through the theme of the show, the target market and most importantly, the narrative that attendees experience. Not only does design help to make bold statements and loud impacts to achieve a desired outcome, they show this through digital channels to get content across more platform. Through this, the innovative process behind design and technology can work together simultaneously without one impeding on the other.

  1. An Interactive Take

Design has found itself at a crossroad of interactions. With multiple stakeholders and different expectations, it is crucial for design to market itself as the problem solver across the different ideas and concerns. Various players from clients, external designers or even the attendees who have yet to attend the event can contribute to the show’s outlook, shaping the creative direction of a space. Beyond technicalities of the build or look of the exhibit, design has expanded its service into understanding and anticipating experiential and emotive reactions for the attendees. To establish common objectives, client, designer and other agencies go through thorough back and forth communication. More research and analysis is now also needed to understand current trends, attendees reception and to consider fresh ways to execute an exhibition or event. A collaborative and transformative effort is shaping where design is headed.

  1. Rebranding the Service of Design

Even though exhibition spaces are short-lived in the span of an event’s time, good design is able to balance between thoughtful display and efficient function, adding value to the space in unobtrusive ways. Design, unlike a commodity, is an adaptable and innovative process. It integrates “user-centric” approach, reinvents concept and takes risk.

Design for our time should consolidate problem-solving and decision-making approaches to provide a one-stop service. While design as a profession is adapting to the challenges faced, clients, too, have to adapt to the value of the service. Rather than profit or cost concerns, the willingness to pay for a customized service establishes a business partnership. It becomes a consultancy process in which a designer and client collaborate to create an immersive space and communicate information to the world. Putting a price on creativity could be inevitable, but its value goes into creating an experience that keeps people coming back for more.

Crystal Chu is the creative director of Kingsmen Exhibits Pte Ltd, a leading communication design and production group in Asia Pacific, Middle East and the U.S.

This story originally appeared in the November/December issue of Exhibit City News, p. 54. For original layout, visit



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