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Design development

With an approved exhibition stand design concept in hand, the designer can proceed to the selection of the specific materials, colours, special equipment, and graphics that will further define the exhibition stand’s character and enhance its interpretive power.

Finishes, hardware, and other fabrication details ate considered, though not necessarily specified yet. The nature and functioning of all interpretive and interactive exhibition components are fleshed out, pending more technical development in later phases. If lighting and acoustics have not been addressed yet, then they must be tackled now and at least preliminary schemes for their design must be prepared. Scripting for audio and video programs should be taking place and computer software development for controls and interactive should be in process.

Design development is also the time to test selected exhibition stand components, particularly mechanical interactives, through mock-ups and/or prototypes.Finally, a thorough budget analysis is critical at this point. Anything not explicitly included in their phase’s budget will be an unwanted addition the next cost estimate. If the designer’s ideas are exceeding the client’s costs parameters (not a rare occurrence), then some combination of scope reduction and/or design simplification needs to be arrived at. This is approached through a process commonly referred to as “value engineering” wherein the design and fabrication teams, along with the client, collaborate to find ways to fulfill as much of the stated mission, goals, and vision for the project within the agreed upon cost limits.

In general, it should be understood that the goal of the design development phase is to accomplish all decision making in anticipation of entering into the next phase- that of producing the actual construction and fabrication drawings and specifications – with as few remaining design questions as possible. At this point a designer should be able to thoroughly envision the exhibition stand. Anything that appears hazy or undefined has not been designed sufficiently. The next phase should be about detailing, rather than designing.

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