April 20, 2024 6:10 PM
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Photo Poll: Trends in exhibit design

EXHIBITOR2014 attendees were asked, “What new or popular trends are you seeing
in exhibit design; what are your customers asking for and what are you

The leading conference and exhibition for tradeshow and corporate event
marketing took place Mar. 16-20 at the Mandalay Bay Conference Center in Las

Anita Mitzel, president, GraphiColor

Livonia, Mich.

“Fabric has been a trend for a while, but what is different today is how
designers are back lighting fabric with LED lighting…allowing for even
distribution of light. Also, dye sublimation print quality is so much better
today allowing for back lighting. When done right, lighting can be spectacular.
I am interested in seeing how trends in lighting evolve, one more thing to
attract people to a booth.”

John Patten, president,
MG Design

Pleasant Prairie,

“Digital content is still is a big way of taking
messaging and using it in the electronic age; it’s easy to change, dynamic and
keeps people engaged.

“I am still seeing lots of lightweight materials being used in exhibit design.
This may not be new, but I am seeing many new fabrics and what designers are
doing with these new fabrics, how they shape it, stretch it, light it…how the
fabric takes the ink, makes it more vibrant. I am also seeing new technologies
in lighting, including LED technologies programming that allows for the
seamless change of effects. It is this dynamic in technology that is driving
exhibit design.

“Another trend I find interesting is designers are using vertical space more
creatively. The footprint is expensive, so they are really taking messaging up
higher as a way to use the space for creative elements.”

Gina McDuffie, senior vice president of
marketing, GES

Los Angeles, Calif.

“The biggest trend for me is completely rethinking the exhibit, so it is no
longer a booth but a space focused on the experience, the engagement. What we did
at EXHIBITOR2014 was create the anti-exhibit: the ‘unbooth.’ We actually have
no hard walls and very little fabric. We have instead put our entire budget
into the experience, the experience of entertainment, the A/V, and allowing our
attendees to actually play the instruments as the engagement.

“I am also seeing a lot more games, social media integration and community
programs. The idea of engaging attendees is not new but really making that the
focus of the experience. ‘Forget the walls’ is what we are doing, and I hope
where the industry is moving.”

Lana Ostrander, director of marketing
& public relations, Hargrove Inc.

Lanham, Md.

“I am seeing a lot more options with furniture, rental and purchase, furniture
that is easy to assemble, comes in multiple configurations, fabrics and colors
that are interchangeable. There is furniture that is highly mobile, easy to
pack and ship. There are just a lot more chic options to enhance any type of
face-to-face environment.

“I am also seeing an explosion in both silicone-edged graphics and extrusion
framing systems that can accept those graphics. Extrusion framing where you do
not need tools are making it very easy to install booths. It’s not that these
are new (silicone-edged graphics and extrusion framing), it is just that we are
seeing so many more options. It is going to change the business.”

Matt Hylkema, director of design &
operations, Zig Zibit

Raleigh, N.C.

“The biggest trend by far is fabric. Fabric and
extrusion systems are taking over this market; large-format graphics. Dye
sublimation printing is booming. The ability to do high-quality print on fabric
is big and, if you look around, you will see most exhibits/graphics [at
EXHIBITOR2014] are using fabric.

“The second major trend is technology, including interactive media solutions
for product demos, content management, gigantic televisions and interactive
media presentations. Communications is where it is at, as is social media.
Exhibitors are bringing the tradeshow site to social media, taking their
messaging out to the world while on site. That’s what we’re doing, grabbing
leads not just through the badge scanners, but through social media.”

Evan Detskas, exhibit design
manager, Skyline Exhibits

Saint Paul, Minn.

“I watch for trends coming out of Western Europe. We take a lot of cues from
EuroShop, much of which makes its way into the U.S. market. As a designer, I am
excited to see a push toward more angular architecture and more faceted forms
and shapes…and the interesting materials used to create the forms and shapes. From
a materials standpoint, I am seeing more use of wood in lighter tones like
white pine and unfinished (matte), raw or reclaimed wood, all being used in
very elegant ways.

“Our clients are also asking for more and more technology integration and using
it in different ways to communicate, to tell a story, to get a message across. For
example, project mapping and LED lighting integration. Also seeing much larger
and much higher resolution LED displays.”

Manny Rodriquez, product manager, WS

Carlsbad, Calif.

“I am seeing a lot more tension fabric that is being back lit…a lot more shapes
and curves – a more organic feel. I am also seeing more innovative modular
displays with a lot more accessories like digital signage, which gives
customers a lot more flexibility in design. Also exhibits that can be set up
without tools.”

Jack Pariseau, account executive &
marketing, 760 Display

Vista, Calif.

“The big thing in tradeshow design is the use of white light. There is light and
negative light (shadows) and how to use them to create effects. There are rules
to lighting that one needs to know to create impact. To do lighting right, you
really need to use lighting experts, bring them in as A/V partners.

“I am also seeing lots of raised floors, less carpet, more natural woods and
displays integrated into flooring.”

Aleta Walther is a marketing communications
professional and freelance writer with several years’ experience as a corporate
exhibit manager. Contact Aleta at
aleta@prwriterpro.com or

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