Exhibitions that fill your audience’s environment and engage their senses have the power to communicate, educate, delight and persuade. But planning and building these multi-faceted, multi-sensory displays isn’t easy. Exhibition design companies provide the services that take exhibitions from concept to reality.
In this article, you’ll learn about the services and skills an end-to-end exhibition design company should deliver and how to choose the best provider for your next exhibition project.
What does an exhibition design company do?
Companies in the exhibit and trade show design industry offer different exhibition design services depending on their business model and areas of expertise. For instance, a design agency or consultant may provide conceptualization and design services only. This type of vendor will work with you to develop your exhibition idea and design schematics. A fabrication company may perform only the construction of your project.
Other companies provide a combination of services that may meet some or all of your design and fabrication needs. A full-service design and fabrication company will help you develop your exhibition design, build and install it. This combination of services can streamline your workflows and reduce communication demands.
A full-service design and fabrication company offers you a one-shop stop, providing support for your project from concept to completion and owning every detail throughout the process.
An exhibition design company can contribute at any stage of the project lifecycle, but it's never too early for their input. In fact, the earlier you bring them into the project, the more value you'll get out of the partnership, as decisions made in the early stages can have a major impact on every subsequent stage.
How do exhibition design companies work?
The best exhibition design companies will bring creative, technical, and project management expertise to every stage of the project process, which includes:
Planning and preparation
When your design services team is with you from the start, that can guide you as you develop your plan, identifying opportunities and obstacles and advising you on appropriate timelines and realistic budgets.
Once you’ve agreed on the details of your exhibition, your design agency will develop the schematics necessary to instruct its production. This may include floor plans, sculptural and furniture designs, interactive design schematics, digital blueprints and other detailed instructions.
An exhibition can require a sizable investment of time and money. Once it’s complete, you want to be sure that it is functional, engaging and conveys the message you intended. 2D drawing, 3D models, and digital mockups or 3D simulations can provide you with the assurances you need plus one last chance to check out your concept before you build it.
Building the design you’ve developed is an indispensable step in finalizing your exhibition. You’ll need a company that can convert your concept into a real environment.
Not all companies have the same fabrication capabilities. Exhibition design companies with limited services will typically outsource to specialized vendors when a project exceeds their abilities. You'll still get the job done, but this can add extra layers of time, cost, and communication that can compromise an already complex project.
A full-service, exhibition design and fabrication company, on the other hand, will complete your entire project build seamlessly under one roof. For complex exhibit fabrication—where every detail matters—a single team of highly-skilled experts is a truly valuable asset. The best full-service exhibit fabrication companies will find ways to optimize at every turn, saving time, maximizing your budget, and delivering a premium result.
Exhibitions don’t install themselves! You’ll need help to get your exhibit to its location and put all the pieces in place–from prepping the site to performing the final installation. Besides the physical installation process, you may also need support to find an appropriate site and get necessary permits or registrations.
Someone will also need to arrange for transportation to and from the installation site and storage of exhibition items during the installation process. An exhibition design services agency with an extensive network can be a real asset for managing logistics.
Strike and remove
Post-event removal isn’t much of an issue if your exhibition is a permanent installation. If your installation is temporary or mobile–whether it’s a trade show booth, pop-up store, or temporary entertainment venue–you’ll need help to take down and pack up your exhibit for safe keeping. In other words, you’ll need a crew with a comprehensive run of show for success.
You probably have excellent project managers in your organization. But taking on an exhibition design from start to finish can challenge even the most talented cat herder. An exhibition design partner that offers dedicated project management services will offer a single point of contact and take the pressure off your in-house team ensuring your exhibition project goes smoothly (and stays on budget).
What to look for when hiring an exhibition design company
The best exhibition design companies are more than just vendors, they are partners wholly committed to the success of your project. They will have the creative, technical, and project management expertise to deliver a seamless experience from start to finish, and will serve as a single point of accountability through every step of the process.
Ask prospective exhibition designers questions about their experience and their process. Find out who your point of contact will be and what kind of client support you can expect throughout the project. Will they be by your side and responsive at every step?
Select an exhibit company that is willing and eager to work with you to develop a concept that is uniquely yours, while respecting your objectives and limitations. You’ll benefit from partnering with a full-service company that provides comprehensive design and fabrication services in-house. This will save you from the risks that come with cobbling together different services and coordinating responsibilities between multiple vendors.
The benefits of a full-service exhibition design and fabrication company
At its best, exhibition design is more than just simply building a museum exhibit or trade show booth. It’s about creating an immersive, engaging experience that tells a compelling story and has a clear objective. A full-service exhibition design and fabrication company will be a partner in that mission. They will bring a multidisciplinary skill set, complex problem solving abilities, and the highest quality standards to every detail—and they will ensure a smooth, stress-free process that helps you shine in your role.
The first step in learning how a full-service exhibition design and fabrication partner goes above and beyond to deliver unique projects and unforgettable experiences Is to book your no-pressure introduction to Bridgewater Studio and we’ll create a free customized project plan that sets your exhibit experience up for success from the start.