Name: Ann Vancoillie
What are the big trends in exhibition stand design?
Stands are being designed not just to look good, but to leave a lasting impression. Experiential stands are the future, people want to be amazed and they take home experiences and moments. These immersive stands are being built in ever more sustainable ways. Re-usability and sustainability is key when it comes to the structure, creativity and interactivity are core elements in the design.
How international is the exhibition industry becoming?
The exhibition industry has always been international but is very quickly evolving from international to global. The fact that information is within everyone’s reach, transport is well-organised and that it is so easy to travel, push companies to be present all over the world. New markets are opening up and Brands and Corporate identities spread out globally at a dazzling pace thanks to the internet and social media. This influences the way people exhibit. Think global, act local.
What is driving this internationalisation?
I believe that social media and the internet on the one hand and the creation of large single market economic unions on the other hand have played a very important role in the globalisation of our economy. Thanks to this, distance and language barriers have been reduced to a minimum and allow easy access to the population. One of the fundamentals of our economy is the exchange of specialised solutions. You sell what you are good at and buy what other people do better. Being able to do this in an international setting is beneficial to everyone.
What has been the best innovation of the past 5 years?
Stands are no longer static. Visitors get an immersive experience and go home with a story rather than just information. Communication through images and animations rather than through messages are a trend. Solutions that allow visualisation of these images are game-changing and the innovations in LED technology are a perfect fit for this. Our Aluvision Hi-LED products have been developed with this in mind.
What are clients looking from their stand designers?
Exhibitors are looking for a total approach taking into account every aspect of the stand. Companies want to stand out, people want to be unique. The stand design should fit the companies mission and philosophy. Off-the-shelve solutions rarely succeed in this. The stand should be a total experience reflecting the company’s vision.
To what extent is technology impacting on stand design?
Technology allows a stand to come to life. A stand is no longer just a nice place, it becomes interactive and a captivating tool to tell stories. This is, in my opinion, impacting stand design in a most effective way. The whole look and feel of an exhibition stand changes when adding this animated motion element.
What do you expect the next 5 years will hold for exhibition stand design?
I am convinced that the trend towards more sustainable solutions will continue to grow and there is no future for non-sustainable solutions. More and more people are aware that it is up to us to deal with the impact our way of life has on the environment. We need to act and want to make sure we have an answer when our grandchildren ask us in 30-odd years’ time “you knew the facts, what have you done about it?”
Do exhibitions get the status they deserve versus other marketing channels?
There is nothing like face-to-face. We have noticed that digital and mass marketing tools have increased the importance of a personal approach. Exhibitions are very efficient ways of meeting in person. Let’s not forget “People do business with people”.
What’s the best exhibition stand or event you’ve seen in the last year?
I was most impressed by the ‘Salone del Mobile’ in Milan last spring. Very interesting to see how extremely good design was combined with the creative use of LED technology.
If you could change one thing about the world of exhibitions what would it be?
If I could change one thing, I would eliminate all waste and throw-away solutions in our industry.