Exhibition display design: graduate area of work

Exhibition display designers create innovative and appealing display stands that meet aesthetic, budgetary and practical requirements. They might work at venues such as trade events or general consumer shows.

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Exhibitions provide the opportunity for potential buyers to meet a wide range of sellers within a single venue and range from general consumer shows to specialist trade events. Key responsibilities of the job include:

  • consulting with clients about design requirements
  • collecting appropriate background and product information
  • producing realistic, but competitive quotes
  • clarifying design issues
  • negotiating and agreeing budgets and time-scales
  • producing sketches and 3-dimensional computer generated images
  • ensuring that projects meet specifications, keep within budget and run to schedule
  • liaising with suppliers and contractors
  • organising and attending meetings
  • using a variety of media (including IT) to generate solutions
  • delivering final work to clients for review
  • maintaining awareness of current creative trends and influences
  • replying to queries from clients
  • transporting display stands to exhibition venues
  • erecting/dismantling display stands at locations

What's required

Although a degree is not essential for entry into the profession, strong competition for vacancies generally makes relevant experience and/or qualifications essential. Employers may favour those possessing exhibition design, art, design technology, architecture or interior design degrees. Equally, some employers seek candidates with an appropriate combination of personality and skills.

Experience from job shadowing, placements or vacation work is helpful. IT, languages, sales, financial, marketing and PR skills/experience are usually beneficial. Potential employees should also possess creativity, imagination, commercial awareness and must have excellent communication, organisational, team working, interpersonal and project/time management skills.

Where to find out more

There are only a few specialist companies that operate solely within the field of exhibition display design. Employment opportunities more commonly arise with general design companies that work in this area. Vacancies are advertised by recruitment agencies, via the Internet and in local, regional and national newspapers.

Freelance work/self-employment is an alternative option, although this necessitates having substantial experience and a good network of contacts. Networking and speculative applications are advisable. The British Display Society, the Association of Exhibition Organisers, The Chartered Society of Designers and The Design Council are also useful organisations to check out.

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