Exhibitionstand design spans a wide range of disciplines, but all of them have one important thing in common; they all tell a story. Storytelling consists of four elements: a narrative, a narrator, a path, and a context.
When planning the exhibition, most institutions begin by determining the message that they wish to convey to their audience. However, by itself, this is not a story. The message only becomes a story when it is given a narrative thread with a clear beginning, middle and end.
A narrator is needed to drive the story forward. The narrator can be created using any number of mediums, such as text, graphics, or technology. Most exhibition stands employ multiple narrative mediums.
The path is what gives the story its structure, transforming the narrative into a three-dimensional space, which brings the story to life for each visitor. The space must be organized into a sequence that relates to the story and the visitors who will experience the exhibition. This sequence of experiences can be arranged around a timeline, theme, or hierarchy; any structure that has a consistent logic. Exhibition stands provide this sequence of experiences in segments, building up the whole story, but never allowing the visitor to see the entire structure at once. Revealing the story step-by-step or through series of possible steps is a key factor in engaging the visitor.
Often the most neglected part of storytelling in exhibition stand design is the external context. An exhibition booth does not stand in a void; it is integrated into a building or landscape. How the visitor approaches and engages with the booth is as important as the booth itself. The visitorâ€™s introduction to the exhibition stand is not a part of the story, but is crucial to preparing the visitor for the experience.
Telling a story correctly
The obligation of a good exhibition designer is to use space, technology, displays, and materials effectively in service of that story.