Exhibition stands have come a long way – they are nothing like they used to be. In fact, the exhibitors have been quite experimental with their shapes & styles, designs, materials, lighting and technology, and anything and everything.
Shapes & Styles
The days of trying too hard for the so-called cool exhibition stands are long gone; today, the exhibitors are smart enough to realise that if they come up with a stand that provides a comprehensive overview of the equipment, the solutions, and more importantly, their brand, the attendees will come and visit of their own accord. Booth designers too have started emphasizing the need to build stands that are highly functional and in sync with the what the customers demand or expect. Some other factors that have crept in over the years, for good, include but may not be limited to:
– The need to understand the theme or the very purpose of the exhibition. For instance, those in the HVAC industry mostly go for insular and/or peninsular stands. They are unlikely to go for anything quirky, and would rather invest in a high-tech stand, one with a minimalistic and simple design.
– Bulky awkward constructions have also been let go. Instead, the focus now lies on providing a suitable environment for work and negotiations; anything that could act as an obstruction is a big no-no.
– The features of the product or the equipment on display seem to have taken over. The shapes of the stands nowadays give a clear picture of what’s in store for the visitors.
– The use of 2-level stands is also on the rise. They have always been there, but their use is more common now. Even today, the exhibitors believe that a second floor can give them more room for talks and in-booth meetings with the VIP visitors, but then, they don’t let their budgets take a hit; such floors are only constructed if the investment is worth its salt.
Materials and Decoration
Well, the materials in use are pretty much the same, but they are being taken advantage of in newer forms. Wood, for example, is widely used even today, but the emphasis is on putting its derivatives like fiberboard and chipboard to good use. Also, the modern equipment makes it possible for the designer(s) or the carpenters to get the wood cut and processed with higher accuracy. Again, not much has changed in this context; even good old sheet metal is still widely popular, and so is aluminum. Having said that, the all-glass stands are increasing in number, but then many also condemn them citing safety issues. Here are some more changes that have taken place in the recent times:
– The classical technique of painting the stand has been shown the door. No one wants to putty the surface and work on alignment and priming; the designers today have the resources to do a much better job. They are often seen resorting to decorative plastics, laminates, polystyrene and even composite materials that go down well with the intensive lighting.
– While printing has been in use since time immemorial, it has more or less evolved – exhibitors now prefer direct UV printing on PVC, metal, chipboard, and believe it or not, the carpeting.
– Live and artificial plants are being increasingly used for decoration as they make the booth more inviting.
This element has also undergone a drastic change from how it was perceived say a couple of years back. The focus these days is on reducing the eye strain and making the stand more comfortable for not only those who occupy it, i.e. the exhibitors and their staffers but also for the visitors. For this very purpose, the designers are increasingly using floodlighting, in addition to the fluorescent lamps that can be seen almost everywhere. The idea here is to smooth out the contrast between light and shadow, thereby making it easier for everyone to get a better view of the products. And of course, LED systems are the need of the hour – LED searchlights, LED spotlights, and LED backlight strips – they are all now an integral part of the stand design.
There have been quite a few other changes as well – in terms of multimedia, and even more surprisingly, the human factor. Virtual reality and robots are more common than ever, but yes, if they are attracting the visitors, who’re complaining?