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What makes a good Exhibition Stand Design Brief?

The Exhibition Stand Design Brief is a central part of the industry, with every display being touched by the exhibition designer’s hand at some point in the process from inception to completion; but just how much thought is given to the briefing stage?

In twenty four years of designing I’ve seen both extremes, from exhibition stand design
briefs written [literally] on the back of a fag packet, to fifty page essays with a hundred page brand identity appendix! So, what makes a good stand brief?

time_planning_clockGive your exhibition stand contractor time!

Whatever industry you work in, having enough time to do the job properly always helps, and your exhibition stand contractor is no different.  Whilst it is possible to design and build a stand with two weeks’ notice, the design process will be rushed, as will the workshop time, often resulting in a less than optimum quality stand.  Planning to brief your stand contractor at least four to six months ahead (depending on the size of the project) will result in a better thought out stand design and less stress for all involved.

Make your exhibition stand design brief concise and relevant.

conciseTen pages of the history of your company followed by three lines of what you want on your exhibition stand is not a great brief. The exhibition stand designer needs to know what you want the stand to do and look like; if they want the history of your company, they can go to your website and read up on it.  Details of stand content are the most important – the what, how and how much – followed by some direction of the image and feel you are looking to portray to your potential clients at the show.  If you have information on products and services to be shown, then include all relevant brochures and website links.

Exhibition Stand Design research – know what you want.

Vague descriptions are the bane of the exhibition designer’s life!  If you want something a certain way then be specific.  Take photographs at shows, do a Google image search, sketch it out, but don’t expect the designer to be a mind reader!

Give your exhibition stand designer what they need.

No, not a kick up the backside, though it may be on the list at some point.  Artwork. Logos, images, graphics, corporate guidelines….the designer’s time is much better spent designing rather than searching the internet for images and logos that may or may not be correct. And no, a 5kb bitmap does not count as artwork.

Have a realistic exhibition stand design budget.

I’ve always wanted a Lotus Elise.  A yellow one, with black trim.  There’s just something about them that I like.  When I last bought a car I had £6,000 to spend, and still wanted a Lotus Elise.  Unfortunately the Lotus salesman wanted another £25,000 extra for the one I wanted, and said he couldn’t sell me one for £piggy-bank-pink6,000, so I had to buy a second hand Vauxhall Vectra instead.  It still does the same job, but looks a little less expensive and even fits the kids and the shopping in the back, so is probably a bit more practical.  Exhibition stands are a bit like cars: if you only have the budget for a second hand Vectra you will not end up with a brand new Lotus Elise.  £10,000 will not get you a 100 square metre double deck exhibition stand with flashing lights and dancing girls.  And not telling your exhibition stand designer your budget won’t make it go any further; it will just waste time when they come back with a set of drawings that is either over or under designed.  Designers design to a budget, so please tell them what it is!

So, in conclusion, a good exhibition stand design brief will be given out well before the show starts, be to the point and relevant and give an idea of how the stand should look.  It will come with logo and graphic files and a realistic budget. Cover these bases and you may end up with an exhibition stand that your company is proud of, and a happy, stress free stand contractor.