Mike Graziani, Vice President of Design The Trade Group, World Exhibition Stand Awards 2019 Winner

Michael Graziani The Trade Group

What did it mean to you to win in the inaugural World Exhibition Stand Awards?
It was very flattering to win the inaugural World Exhibition Stand award. The competition is top-notch across the board so it really meant a lot to our team.

What are the big trends in exhibition stand design?
Experiential Design is a big trend. Attendees are now expecting to be engaged by exhibitors and the formal “walls of business” are being shed. The true advantage of face-to face interactions are being explored and utilized. A simple conversation can happen remotely via. phone, video conference, etc. Exhibitors know that they need to make the in-person interaction mean more at the end of the day.

How international is the exhibition industry becoming?
It’s becoming very common for many of our clients. The fears of the international exhibiting process, and the hurdles that were normally associated with it, are diminishing rapidly. Once that barrier is broken for an exhibitor, they realize the bounty of markets that are wide open.

What has been the best innovation of the past 5 years?
Augmented Reality. Blending the physical and digital worlds is the most compelling presentation format, in my opinion. It speaks a level of sophistication and cleverness that digital-alone lacks. And it’s the perfect format for a live interaction.

How are exhibitions and stand design staying relevant in a digital world?
In the exhibit, relying solely on digital content is something of a mistake. The guest can see that same content online from home. The enhancement of the physical via. digital accents is what resonates with the largest audience.

What do you expect the next 5 years will hold for exhibition stand design?
Digital delivery systems will continue to get lighter, more flexible and easier to implement and administer. AR will probably become a show standard with AR glasses or pads provided as guests enter the show. Structurally, builders will continue to search for ways to remove unnecessary bulk and complexity without stripping away the warm environments that we, as humans, are naturally attracted to in a social situation.

If you could change one thing about the world of exhibitions what would it be?
I would like to see a friendlier approach to show services. The reputation at many facilities can negatively influence and exhibitor’s plan for the coming show year. Some cities seem to have realized that, and are making changes for the positive but some still have not.

Does stand size matter?
What are you trying to say??? 😄 😄
In all seriousness, yes, it does matter to some extent. The exhibit needs to be large enough to properly frame the product and it also needs to provide an acceptable buffer out to the aisles so the staff can effectively transport the guest into their brand. A small exhibit never allows the guest to fully disconnect from the chaos and noise of the surrounding show.

What are the biggest challenges for exhibition stand design and build currently?
Shrinking budgets. Unrealistic expectations of those budgets. The mistaken belief that one size does fit all. Fear of pending economic downturn. Other than that, things are great!