The question us Exhibition and Event companies get asked more than any other is “What’s a design brief?”
And even when we tell them that it’s an important written explanation that gets handed over to a designer, telling them the aims, objectives and milestones of your exhibition design project; people often aren’t sure where to start!
So, we’ve put together a little guide to help you create that all important fantastic design brief to get you that critical starting point of the design process…
Why is the design brief important?
A good, articulate design brief is crucial to help develop understanding between the you and your exhibition company, and helps you focus on what you want to achieve with your finished stand. It serves as an essential point of reference for both of you and makes sure that important design issues are considered and questioned upfront. It allows the project to flow as smoothly as possible.
If there isn’t a good design brief upfront, when queries arise throughout the process it can slow things down, cost you more money, and can ultimately affect the outcome.
So, how do I start…?
It’s always a good idea to begin by setting some goals, and detail what you want to achieve. Say how you want to achieve it, and by when.
Then write a little bit about you! Give a short, honest overview of your company and industry sector, and provide links to your website, corporate identity guidelines or promotional material. This give the designer a great starting point.
And your products too – are they going on your stand? How big are they? What do they look like? Details, images and dimensions of everything are really useful.
You said “set some goals?”
Believe it or not, some companies see exhibiting as a flag waving exercise. Doing a show for the sake of it without much thought behind what they want to get out of it. And they’re missing out on a lot of opportunities. Good design can have a huge influence on the success of a company’s marketing strategy. But to be successful, clear goals have to be set.
In your design brief, make sure you list everything you’d like to achieve at your show. Some common goals for exhibitions include:
- I want to promote a new or existing product or service.
- We need enquiries and want to generate sales.
- We’re after information from customers and suppliers.
- We need to push the brand out there and get ourselves known.
- I’d like our stand to provide hospitality, and entertain visitors.
- We want an experience or activity, theme or hook.
- We want to look modern and include the latest technology.
What other details should I include?
Well, when you sit down and write your brief, it will help you focus and clarify your thoughts. It might even make you rethink or question what you originally thought, and it’ll help you form a vision as to what your end result will be.
But away from the goals and the vision comes the detail.
Your designer and exhibition team will need information about your show or event. Where is it? When is it? How big is your stand?
Attach the floorplan, and a link to the show or event website. Supply the username and password for the exhibitor only section on the site, so that they can get every last detail they need without hassling you, and design the best solution for you.
It’s also good to provide examples of what you think is effective or relevant design. If you want to be consistent with your brand, include samples of your company’s current marketing materials. If there’s a design style that you like or dislike, say why. You can provide any ideas or inspiration in any medium. If your favourite restaurant or store provides the atmosphere that you want to achieve, then include it. Express your opinions in the best way you can.
When do I need it ready by?
Get your brief in to your project team as early as you can, and include important dates and deadlines that they need to factor in to their project plan. When do you need to present the design to your board? What’s the tender submission date?
Do I need to include my budget?
It helps, but a ball-park figure should be ok to start with. That’ll give your exhibition company a good idea of the type of solution they can provide.
An important thing to think about when you’re looking at budget and cost: How many times will you re-use your stand, or elements of it? “Futureproofing” your stand and off-setting costs is a very important consideration when it comes to what you can, or would like to spend.
What else do I need to do?
Ask opinions. Talk to colleagues and discuss the brief. They might have new ideas or questions that help. If you can include as much detail as possible at the beginning it will save time and money overall.
What about the social networking aspect? Tell us what you use and how. Do you want to integrate social networks into your design and event? They can be a great way of promoting your organisation to a #targetedaudience.
So, the design brief isn’t a test. It’s just a necessary and common-sense approach to kicking the stand project off on the same page as the company you’ve chosen to handle your exhibition or event presence. Throughout, you (and the designer) can use the brief as a reference tool should you need to, and you’ll be amazed at what a difference that bit of work at the beginning of the project can have on your end result!
Want more details? Contact Equinox on 0113 244 1300 or firstname.lastname@example.org for further info on all your exhibition, event and interior queries.