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Infographic techniques are the best way to create strong, memorable, best practice trade show graphics.
Infographics are all the rage in content marketing, largely because busy professionals appreciate content delivered in easy-to-digest granules. What exhibit marketers can learn from this trends is that clear, bold statements, supported by iconic images, do the job of communicating your message far more effectively than a long list of bullet points.
3D Exhibits shares six best practices for integrating infographic techniques into trade show exhibit graphics:
1. Start with your takeaway. Select the point you’re trying to make, then make every other design choice (color, symbol, image etc.) as a means to communicate that point. Too many people get sidetracked with ancillary messages and add unnecessary visual clutter that ultimately decreases the graphic’s readability and impact.
2. Make sure your point is something that matters to your customers—and not just to you. The more your audience cares about whatever your graphic conveys, the more likely they are to notice and remember your message.
3. Let numbers and statistics speak for themselves. 30% savings is a big deal—as is a 25% increase in productivity or a 15% decrease in waste. Focus attention on these numbers and statistics by placing them in larger type than the rest of your message. Once the booth visitor sees the number, she will most likely read the rest of the statement to put the percentage in context.
4. Integrate simple icons to underscore your point. Think light bulbs, barbells, arrows, plus signs and other symbols that articulate your point.
5. Create images that can be understood intuitively. This photo of a military jeep with a suspension superimposed clearly articulates that vehicle suspensions are this company’s specialty.
6. Use your graphics as a springboard to a deeper dive. Once you’ve made a claim or shared data, your real prospects are likely to have more questions. Rather than squeezing all of that information onto your graphic panel, use the graphic to drive the next stage of engagement. This could be interaction with your exhibit staff or it could be a means to download more information via web link, QR code or iBeacon.
Are you using infographic techniques on your exhibit graphics? If you are, email me some images at ngenarella (at) 3DExhibits (dot) com.
The 3D Exhibits team knows that the only way to stay healthy when you put in long hours at work (and on the trade show floor) is to stay physically fit.
This is something we take VERY seriously. Employee workout room with shower in our facility seriously. Participate in charity race events seriously. And now, Fit Company Challenge seriously.
This year, 3D Exhibits entered four teams of three or four employees. On a cool October day, we competed against 15 other companies (a total of 60 teams).
Our team included Michael Seymour, Kelly Collins, Nicole Genarella, Deb Scaccia, Jessie Rosales, Christian Calstrom, Eric Hogenkamp, Zach Rodeghero, Rose Wolf, Stephanie Coupland, Rebecca Petit, Gene Faut, Bryan Jacobs, Amy Speidan and Dara Lamere.
The Fit Company Challenge is divided into three parts-each competed relay-style. The first tests strength and power with planks, burpees, push-ups and the like. The second part tests speed and agility with cone drills, sprints and hurdles. The final part tests endurance via a walk/run.
What makes The Fit Company Challenge great is that each team can opt to compete on either a beginner or advanced level. This way, ALL employees can participate, regardless of fitness ability. The competition is also divided by size of company—which enables entrants to participate against companies of similar size.
Being the competitive people that we are, 3D Exhibits walked away with a Fittest Companies distinction in the medium-sized company division. The team of Nicole, Christina, Eric and Jessie also earned the title of “Fittest Professionals” in the beginner fitness classification of both part one and part two of the competition.
However, one of the most important benefits of participation is the camaraderie. Every time our company participates in an event outside the office, we learn new things about one another that help bring us all closer together. “We all really know each other outside the workplace—and that helps make us an even more formidable team inside the workplace,” says Nicole.
If this sounds fun to you, we encourage you to look into participating with your company. The Fit Company Challenge holds events all over the U.S.COMMENTS
How, you ask, did Garden of Life accomplish this difficult challenge? By thinking of exhibit staff as one of the key components of its comprehensive integrated exhibit design and marketing plan.
Garden of Life creates organic nutritional products that help people take control of their own health. For Natural Products Expo West, its strategy was to focus on its philosophy rather than its products so people would understand what the brand is all about.
In order to communicate the company’s commitment to organic farming, Garden of Life worked with 3D Exhibits to create a “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids”-scaled organic garden. The exhibit design—themed “I Dig the Garden” included 13’-high gardening tools wedged into a mound of dirt, towering blades of grass and sprouts, and a 14’ watering can with a honeybee perched on top—which also doubled as a conference room.
Garden of Life assigned its staff the roles of various elements of nature that enrich the garden—after all, an organic garden is a living, breathing thing. This included Air, Water, Compost, Earthworm, Manure, Sunshine and Worker Bee. They created t-shirts for each with fun phrases such as, “I’m a worker bee, let’s pollinate,” and “I’m compost, let’s break it down.”
Via the company blog, Garden of Life set a fun tone by inviting attendees to, “Walk on our soil and bump into Air, Water, Compost, Earthworm, Sunshine and Worker Bee. You may want to avoid Manure, but that’s up to you!”
Before the show, the exhibit staff met to discuss their roles. They were given key messages to share and instructed to have fun with their characters and use their personaes to convey why organic farming is so important and the role consumers can play on moving the organic movement forward.
Armed with a mission, a message, a role to play and permission to make it fun, the staff went all out. They engaged, entertained and educated visitors through out the show, creating a ton of booth traffic and a ton of buzz (excuse the pun).
How do you engage and impassion your exhibit staff?
The 3D Exhibits design team faces this challenge every day: Our clients use words to describe their brand style. We receive RFPs that ask for an exhibit design that is innovative, engaging and forward thinking. But what exactly do these words mean?
Give any two people the same list of descriptive words and they are likely to form very different images in their heads. The word innovative, for instance might mean an Apple Store ambiance to one person while the person next to him is envisioning a Picasso painting. Both styles are innovative, yet the brand these images represent couldn’t be more different.
So when clients come in and request an exhibit design that is corporate, dependable and dedicated, what do we do? We leave words behind and go visual.
Creating vision boards gets everyone on the same page, says Jeff Bartle, 3D Exhibits’ chief creative officer.
“Images enable us to efficiently gain insight, consensus and a collaborative starting point,” says Jeff. As the sample above illustrates, a quick assemblage of images can convey a proposed look and feel much faster and more intuitively than any list of adjectives.
And even more important, images quickly convey the emotion you’d like your visitors to experience when they interact with your brand.
Vision boards—also called brand boards and style boards—have become such a widely used tool that an entire article was devoted to them in this weekend’s T, the New York Times style magazine. The article, Human Emotion: The One Thing the Internet Can’t Buy by Michael Rock, describes brand as “the emotional payoff on an investment in a particular product, place or individual,”—with the point being that the style board has become a designer’s go-to tool for defining what that emotion is.
At 3D Exhibits, we believe so strongly in the power of image to get everyone on the same page, that we’ve started integrating vision board-creation into the brainstorm sessions we conduct with our clients prior to creating a new exhibit. Get the vp of marketing, the exhibit manager, the product manager and the sales director in a room together with a bunch of magazines, scissors and push-pins and the consensus you achieve is amazing
Even better, the resulting exhibit design we create from that vision board ends up being right on the mark with fewer reworks and revisions.
Alternatively, this exercise can be done electronically by filling a Word document, Powerpoint slide, or Pinterest board with your chosen and agreed upon images. Do it at your desk and you have the entire internet full of images to select from.
Your vision board doesn’t have to be polished to be effective. For instance, the board below made it very clear that this client envisioned an environment that communicated both rugged and modern.
Our 3D Exhibits team wishes more clients would do this exercise internally. For instance, before asking five or ten exhibit design companies for a spec design based on a 30-page RFP, assemble your team and create a consensus style board.
The collage you share will save your designers the time they’d spend guessing what it is you really want—and frees them up to invest that time getting more creative in giving it to you.
What would your exhibit vision board look like?