2015 International Exhibition Design Trends

Every year, excitement abounds at FSD when we get to see what the international industry leaders are saying about the latest exhibition design trends. Following are some predicted trends by world leaders in exhibitions:

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Event Marketing (USA)

Event Marketer (USA) lists the following design trends for 2015 after announcing the Winners of the Event Design Awards for 2014:

• Total transformation

Some designers go for endemic, fluid spaces that fit in with the venue’s surroundings. Winners at the Event Design Awards this year looked past that and completely rethought the environment at hand to suit the needs of the brand in the most strategic way.

• Collaboration zones

Exhibits featuring communal and hacker spaces full of whiteboards, touch screens packed with relevant content and discussion areas, help attendees feel like your brand is part of their ideation team, and this is always a solid play.

For instance, at Google I/O (Event Design Award Winner: Best B-to-B Event Environment), the search giant created a “CodeLab” area where developers could experiment with apps and tools for future release.

• The Devil is in the Details

Little touches of taste that tie a footprint together make all the difference. Well-chosen furniture pieces can lend a nuanced flavour of the brand to the entire space, or a dynamic large format print might ease a tech heavy exhibit toward a more elegant feel.

• Balance and Contrast

It’s no small feat to maintain a cool technological edge while making a space feel warm and inviting, but the best designers leading the pack this year are finding that sweet spot, and setting the stage for powerful consumer experiences by doing so.

Intense Lighting (Event Design Award Winner: Best Trade Show Environment [Under 50′x50′]) at the 2014 International Light Fair Show wanted to show attendees that the brand’s high-end lighting technology can be a real architectural statement. The brand built mahogany walls to offset the lighting and dimensional signage on the raised staging. All of this combined to make the high-tech product look classic and classy.

• Social integration

The lines between social media and real-world exhibition continue to blur. Brands are integrating walls, kiosks and multimedia displays into the architecture to create one, dynamic statement that’s not only eye-catching, but customised to the attendees standing in the booth. The EMC World Trade Show made its Social Lounge a centre piece of the action for the entire show. It included soft seating and networking areas with power stations, and a special “Elect” section that attendees could pay to enter for private engagements and refreshments. It all added up to thousands of social media mentions and user-generated content pouring out from the show floor.

• Custom design

Each client wants a custom design. The work of an exhibition designer is to match that need with a proper solution customised to meet the client’s objectives rather than simply recommending a custom or rental exhibit based on their budget.

By moving away from the financial aspect of exhibiting and focusing more on the desired end result, exhibit firms should be able to take a client’s objective, map it to the right type of experience, and then consider resources available to build that experience.

• Virtual getting real world traction

While technology is not the only form of engagement seen at tradeshows, its growing presence affirms an overall transition from being a novelty in an exhibit booth to becoming a normal experience across all market categories.

A convergence between the physical and virtual world is occurring both on the show floor and behind the scenes. Industry firms provide clients with virtual mock-ups of their booth design while exhibitors treat attendees to virtual experiences.

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The South African exhibitions market: Our thoughts

At FSD, we would certainly be interested to see how strongly some or any of these predicted trends take shape in the South African market place during the year ahead.

We definitely like that most of these trends are leaning towards a more customer centric approach. We are also excited to observe how the digital experience in retail and exhibition display will continue to evolve in the local exhibitions landscape.

With digital solutions on the continual rise, it also remains to be seen whether Chief Marketing Officers will succeed in effectively integrating digital into advertising budgets as part of a bigger collaborative strategy, supporting a health mix of brand and advertising solutions, that is suited to their specific industry, or if (in some instances) it will remain to be seen as a “quick and affordable” standalone fix. With the latter setting the tone for some possibly disastrous outcomes.

Digital has become that conundrum of “connecting the world by physically removing people from it” – we would love to see state-of-the-art exhibition trends challenge this status quo by letting people experience brands again on entirely new levels, whilst simultaneously and seamlessly integrating digital into the entire experience.

FSD manufactures a patented tensioned fabric display system with customised application for exhibitions, conferencing, roadshows and events. They also export to the USA, Italy, UK and Brazil.

For more information contact us on sales@fullstretchdisplay.com or visit www.fullstretchdisplay.com