10 things you need to know before writing an exhibition stand design brief…

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Marketing execs and project managers be honest, how many times have you created a brief for an exhibition stand design only to be left disappointed with the end result?

Designers be honest, how many times have you been left frustrated with the quality of the design brief you have received giving you little opportunity to do anything but disappoint your client?

In this blog we will explore some top tips for writing a successful exhibition stand design brief for your next exhibition stand.

An exhibition stand by design is created to attract people. Everybody would like their stand to feel exciting, look eye catching and captivating in fact, it would defeat the purpose of exhibiting at all to ask for your next exhibition stand to blend in and not cause a fuss. But describing how you want your next exhibition stand to look and feel is the easy part. Conveying what you would like your Exhibition stand to do is where it gets tricky and it is in failing to do so where invariably design briefs fall down.

Below are our top 10 tips for making sure your next exhibition stand design brief ticks all the boxes maximising your ROI and getting you not only the stand you want but also the stand you need.

1. Remember, you are not a designer

It seems obvious, but it’s worth remembering you are not a designer. The problem here lies in the blurring of the lines between a creative director and a designer who is looking to turn creative ideas in to a stand that works on a functional level in order to achieve its goals and objectives. Remember, your designer will be able to meet your brief far more effectively if you include as much information about what you want your stand to achieve in addition to how you want your stand to look.

How does that design match our design brief?

2. Meet with a designer early

By meeting with a designer early in the creative process you stand a far better chance of achieving an effective design brief and ultimately a better stand. A designer can help inform your budget, advise on modern design trends and help advise you how to get the most from your next show. Most designers will be happy to help and discuss ideas prior to a brief been fully completed.

3. Self-exploration

The first step in starting to write your brief is not to think about what type and style of stand you want but to think about who you are. Any potential designer will want to know about your company or organisation. Sure, they can Google your website but whilst they are googling they are not designing. Be specific about what product or service you are looking to promote, about why you have chosen to exhibit and what you hope to achieve. For a full guide and check list download our free eBook (How to write a successful stand design brief) at the bottom of this post.

4. Who is your target audience

You know who your customers are right? You know your industry, your competitors and the reasons why you have chosen to exhibit at a particular show. It is vital that you are able to convey this information to your designer as part of your brief in a concise manner and that often means thinking about who you are looking to specifically target at your next show in much more detail. Who is attending the show? Who do you want to visit your stand? Are there any potential types of visitor you would like to avoid? Make sure your designer is aware of all of these factors. Your customer identification should constantly inform your on-going discussions with your designer. Its an old cliche but its never more true then when collaborating on a design, communication is absolutely key.

5. Measures for ROI (Return on investment)

It is easy to get carried away in the creative process but it is vital that you are clear about how you plan to measure your return on investment (ROI). Again this should inform all your discussions with a designer and be included in your design brief. It is easy to forget that an exhibition stand is more than a reflection of your own creative flair and personality. You are exhibiting to get business, promote a product or service and network and from drafting your brief to delivering your stand you and your designer should be able to constantly refer back to the measures you have set for the show.

6. Research, Research, Research

With a treasure trove of information and images of exhibition stands and designs online there is no excuse for not having at least a quick look around to see what you do and don’t like. Your aim is to create a bespoke design but that design will be determined by modern build techniques and design trends. If this isn’t your first time exhibiting then information regards what has and hasn’t worked for you in the past is invaluable to a designer. Ultimately a design brief should help a designer create your vision and the clearer you can illustrate that vision the better.

7. Deciding on the look of your stand

It is easy to fall prey to the idea that bigger, brighter and louder is better but that is not always the case. The look of your stand should be determined by what it is you want to achieve and who you want to attract. An open plan stand will attract a lot of footfall, perfect for a broad ranging target audience and selling product but a more closed environment with tasteful branding may attract more business to business clients where privacy is required in a more formal meeting room environment. As mentioned in tip 2 Engage with a designer early to make sure you are able to explore all the design options available to you.

8. Technical specification

The technical specification of your stand can be tricky to decide upon and also relay in full to a designer. If this is your first time exhibiting you may not appreciate the differences in cost and practicality for example between having a flat floor or a raised floor and staging area. If you have however, thoroughly researched and considered points 1 – 7 your brief should be in a good place for a designer to be able to help you with all the technical specifications so that your stand can function correctly. Our free E-book (How to write a successful stand design brief) which can be downloaded below features a full technical specification checklist to help you write the technical part of your brief.

9. Budget

The difficult conversation. It is important to be realistic with your budget. The greatest designer in the world cannot deliver a £20’000 concept for £10’000. You need to be aware what you are spending and so does your designer. Be up front regards what you are willing to spend and make sure that any alterations and amendments to design are fully costed and quoted for as and when they occur. Again, by engaging with a designer early they can help guide you through your options to help meet your aspirations whatever your budget.

Client Budget vs Client Expectation

10. Continue the conversation

If you have read this blog and downloaded our free E-book below then you should be in a great place to write a design brief that communicates effectively the vision you have for your next stand this however, is only the start of your journey. You will often find your brief is not complete until the day the stand is built and the show opens. Make sure you continue to communicate with your designer and build team; your goals are their goals. Regular contact and effective communication is essential to delivering the exhibition stand you want but also the exhibition stand you need.

Once you are happy that your exhibition design brief is as detailed, concise and relevant as you can make it you may be wondering what to do next. We would advise sending the stand out to tender to no more than 4 designers. If you have researched your suppliers correctly then any more could be a waste of time and money. For more information regards choosing a supplier follow our blog where next time, we will be discussing “How to choose the right Exhibition stand supplier”.

If you would like further information on how to write a successful exhibition stand design brief download our free eBook.

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