The Future of Exhibition Design: Museum, Trade Show & Beyond

The Future of Exhibition Design: Museum, Trade Show & Beyond
by Chris Wilson / March 24, 2022

For decades, the term “exhibition design” was reserved for physical displays meant to be visually observed at museums, trade shows, public spaces, and other settings. Today, modern exhibition design is a celebration of technology and creativity that engages all the senses, immersing audiences in one-of-a-kind, interactive experiences. It’s raising the bar for brands, increasing visitor expectations, and making huge waves in the media and popular culture.

Brands are expected to think bigger than cookie-cutter displays and booths, pushing the boundaries of creativity with innovative, custom exhibition design. The more brands respond to audience expectations, the more potential there is to generate word of mouth with shared photos and videos across social media channels. Successful exhibitions can also earn significant media attention, driving awareness like never before. 

In this article, we’ll explore the trends, technology, and tactics that are leading the way toward a bright future for exhibition design.

Emerging Exhibition Design Trends

From exhibition design in museums to trade shows, branded exhibits, and more, the landscape is rapidly evolving. To stand out in a sea of competitors, trade show exhibit design has transformed from the standard booths of yesterday to fully-immersive experiences. Public art installations serve as clever photo opportunities in unexpected locations, blurring the line between art and marketing. Museums and touring exhibits are marrying art, science, and experience to attract a much wider audience. 

Today, the best exhibition design strategy for any venue is one that forges a connection with the target audience. Emerging exhibition design trends that are engaging audiences in new ways include:

  • High-tech design and interactives
  • Pre- and post-experience communications
  • Bringing the offline experience online through social media and PR

With the help of modern fabrication technology and an experienced design studio, brands can create these immersive experiences using 3D visualization, 3D printers, and CNC equipment, with a wide variety of specialty materials. Brands that take advantage of these innovations, as well as modern exhibition design principles, can create experiences that attract and engage audiences on a whole new level.


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Technology in Exhibition Design 

Today, exhibits are infused with technology that not only enhances the physical spaces they occupy, but also blurs the line between online and offline experiences. The right balance of multimedia design elements, such as analog and digital assets, can guide visitors through an immersive exhibit with a story. Video walls can provide information, entertainment, or both, to attendees. iPads and tablets can streamline staff operations at an exhibition, allowing employees to quickly capture leads and execute follow-ups. 

Additional technology components can include:

  • Kiosks 
  • Mixed and virtual reality
  • Interactive video, images, web content
  • Projection mapping and other engaging visual content

To blend technology components into the look and feel of an exhibition, the best exhibit fabrication companies will design custom displays, media consoles, and other furnishings. When everything comes together in one seamless environment, audiences can fully immerse in the experience. 

Exhibition Design Elements

Exhibition design elements can include anything from sculpture to signage to custom furniture and seating. The capabilities of modern 3D printers and CNC equipment can bring a new level of detail to these custom components, creating anything that design and fabrication studios can dream up. Recently, brands have created fun and inspiring exhibition design elements such as:

These resources enable brands, museum exhibitors, and marketing teams to create one-of-a-kind environments using custom furniture, lighting, cabinetry, shelving, and much more. 

Customized Exhibit Design Without The Headaches

Brands no longer have to choose between quality, budget, and durability when it comes to exhibition design. From custom signage to larger-than-life exhibit displays, an experienced design and fabrication studio can help brands open the door to unlimited possibilities, as well as the most efficient use of resources. From start to finish, an experienced exhibition design partner will help brands:

  • Define the story they want to tell
  • Plan the deliverables, timeline, and budget for the project
  • Capture the concept visually 
  • Use CNC machining and/or 3D printing to build assets
  • Manage shipping and perform installation

Throughout the process, the right studio will guide material choices, streamline the workflow, manage logistics, and ensure that exhibition designs deliver the intended visual story without compromise.

Creating An Engaging Exhibit Design

Brands that invest in exhibit design can—and should—create one-of-a-kind exhibition experiences their audiences will remember and share. While highly-customized exhibition design projects can be complex, the right partner will own every step of the process and anticipate every challenge and need. For this reason, many brands choose to work with a full-service design and fabrication company. 

To learn how full-service design and fabrication can take your next exhibition design project to the next level, schedule a no-pressure introduction to Bridgewater Studio today. We’ll customize a free project plan for your exhibit, so you’ll be set up for success from the start.



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