Losing Touch with Reality: Exhibit Builders, Renderings and Portfolios

Digital rendering for Novarad's exhibit at RSNA 2012

Would you put down payment on a wedding cake if you only saw pictures of what ingredients the baker uses?  Of course not. So why do many exhibit houses fill their portfolios with renderings instead of final products?  They’re trying to make sales, not prove customer satisfaction.

Unfortunately, what you see isn’t always what you get in this business.  Having skilled designers and drafters is important to any trade show exhibit builder, but there is no point if the fabrication staff can’t follow through.

Trade show attendees don’t see what the exhibit was supposed to be, they don’t get to see the potential in initial designs, they only see what is installed in the hall.  Fabrication is what counts.

Are they embarrassed by the final product?  Do they not care enough to take pictures at the show?  Whatever the reason, not showing finished exhibits implies a lack of something important.  Whether they’re missing skill or respect, it doesn’t sit well with us.

Final fabrication of Novarad's custom 2012 RSNA exhibit.

Even with orientation changes, a completed exhibit should be reflective of the original rendering’s design.

It’s sometimes hard to uncover the true merit of exhibit builders these days.  The most useful tool should be a portfolio.  Even with occasional photoshopping and small sample size, an impressive portfolio full of actual pictures gives the most transparent insight to a company’s abilities.  The ones filled with completely digital mockups only show the vision, not the effort.

If you are currently in the market for an exhibit builder, pay attention to what a potential partner includes in their portfolio and what they choose to leave out.

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