Are you ready to communicate with them?
Technology is the language and the fashion of this generation. Extremely savvy and constantly wired this generation could be the most educated in American history (according to a study conducted by Pew Research Center). Being "digital natives", they are on a path of constant learning, upgrading and sharing. In her book, Chasing Youth Culture And Getting It Right, Tina Wells discusses how crucial technology is in their lives. "If you want to engage with Millennials, you must understand the role technology plays in their lives. When we get scared of it as marketers, we tend to disconnect with our consumers. Technology doesn’t kill magazines or newspapers or music. What hurts these media is when we decide to stop innovating. Content is king, and always will be. Create an engaging experience with content, no matter what the platform, and consumers will engage"
Trade shows are ideal environments for face-to face marketing and an opportunity to experience your brand in a very unique way. As Tina Wells points out, communal consumption and existential experience is huge for this generation.
As trade show mavericks what does this mean? Create a designer space that is equipped with wi-fi, internet, ipad and the likes. You do want them to be tweeting and uploading content from your exhibit space, about your exhibiting brand. As a marketer you want your stories to go viral. Arm your millennial visitors with easy user interface to do so. To them it is all about speed and ease to use.
When it comes to existential experience, it is very pivotal for the millennials to have “once in a lifetime experiences.” This could be from a simple “coffee experience” to life changing service experiences in places like Africa. Measure for yourself how does this add up to your exhibit design. Your exhibit design is the home for your brand experience. Design a space to skillfully reflect the nuances of your brand's reputation, memory and product. Provide for a space that intelligently interacts with the 5 senses. Think about smell, sound, touch, lighting, the presentation of products, and everything else that goes into delivering a memorable brand experience. Your exhibit design is the one touch point that your audience actually gets to experience. Give them an experience of a lifetime, one that they can’t wait to share with their friends.
Simplicity is the shining armor of Zen.
Derived from the Sanskrit word Dhyana, Zen found its way to Japan via China in the form of motionless meditation. The word Zen paints a picture of peace, serenity, waterfall and rounded stones. It has become a part of our every day lexicon, yet we hardly practice what it exhorts. Be here and now. Turn off the filters. Dissolve all preconceptions. Perceive directly. "Dissolve into the eternal now, and realize that the Universe itself peers out through your eyes, hears through your ears, and breaths each breath." Experiencing each moment as it is. According to Chinese Ch’an and Zen, understanding comes only by ignoring the intellect and heeding the instincts, the intuition. True perception comes from vast emptiness.
Whatever the philosophical construct of Zen may be, we all seem to have a visual concept of what Zen is. We talk about Zen like design, we muse on the elegance in the absence of abundance and of course the Zen Master of Subtraction: Steve Jobs is still very alive in our mass psyche. One of Jobs’ great strengths was knowing how to focus. “Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do,” he said. “That’s true for companies, and it’s true for products.”
In his book, The Laws of Subtraction (that will be available on October), Matthew May states 6 simple rules for winning in the age of excess, very much in keeping with the 5 principles of Zen Design Simplicity:
The relevance of this message in our busy business of trade show clutter is huge. Noteworthy, are the first 3 points. Usually, as trade show exhibitors we tend to blast away all the features that our products are capable of. But as Matthews puts it; What isn’t there can often trump what is. He cites the example of Scion. Designers essentially used this strategy in creating the fast-selling and highly profitable xB model, a small and boxy vehicle made intentionally spare by leaving out hundreds of standard features in order to appeal to the Gen Y buyers who wanted to make a personal statement by customizing their cars with trendy options. It wasn’t about the car. It was about what was left out of it.
The discipline to discard that does not fit is the bedrock of Zen design. All aspects of your brand can only stand tall in an intelligently designed space that is anchored in elegant suggestive simplicity. It is the suggestive simplicity that engages human imagination, thus injecting it with the merit momentous memorability.
Seth Godin, the famous icon who popularized opt ins and permission marketing and very successfully conceived the idea of hybrid publishing just came out with this blog: (I extracted only a portion of it.)
A tacky mess: the masses vs. great design Designers prune.
Left to its own devices, the mob will augment, accessorize, spam, degrade and noisify whatever they have access to, until it loses beauty and function and becomes something else.
The tragedy of the design commons.
An Apple product designed with user feedback would have thousands of extra features, multiple input methods and weigh 18 pounds.
(The best exception to this rule are some--not all--places where people live, including parts of Manhattan and Kibera, Kenya. But even in the best instances, as soon as commercial interests are served, it starts to fail).
It seems democratic and non-elitist to set it and forget it and let the users take over. But the tools we use (Wikipedia) and the brands we covet (Nike or Ducati) resolutely refuse to become democracies.
Note the profound meaning in the words: resolutely refuse to become democracies.
Our high technology society has given us a brand landscape studded with similar clones where we peddle the same products touting enhanced benefits; giving rise to what Youngme Moon describes as category connoisseurism. Never in the course of written history has there been such abundance of choices in a single category. There are more upgrades, flavors, add-ons, new and improved features between brands in a category that all looks the same. They have managed achieved the sameness of the flat lands of North Dakota and the exhibiting industry is no exception to that. Consumers, are now category connoisseurs. Again, in the words of Moon, “connoisseurs can discern subtle differences based on nuanced asymmetries”, while an ignoramus will lack the necessary know-how to predict differentiating subtleties.
When a a brand creates a competitive advantage in a category, it gains rapid momentum. A momentum orbits around expectation and anticipation that leads to the longevity of a brand. Competitive advantage comes with a value proposition that is highly valued and not in abundant supply. We are proud to say that Envoy III is one such design leap in the pre-fabricated world of booth designs with a value proposition that will help brands to break away from the limiting norms of exhibiting and helping our clients to be perceived with expanded frame of reference. A definite delineation from the mediocrity of the masses.
Create a compelling environment. Unleash the memory capsule.
Any designer who does not appreciate or know about good food is not a very good designer. The planning of a meal and it presentation - the texture, the color, the tastes, the hot and cold temperatures - are the same concerns that affect an environment. Robert Kime, Architectural Digest
Pattern, texture, color, light are integral parts of design that aids to the memorability of a brand. Patterns come in various forms and colors. Thy may be abstract, anthemion, argyle or art deco, batik or basket-weave just to name a few. Patterns when combined with texture makes the architectural design rich and beautiful. The space either achieves harmony or excellence. Textures and or patterns are salient features that plays an important role in defining the rhythm of the exhibit design. Textures are recognized by touch and sight. As William Morris so elegantly puts it: "If there is a reason for keeping the wall very quiet, choose a pattern that works all over without pronounced lines...Put very succinctly, architectural effect depends upon a nice balance of horizontal, vertical and oblique. No rules can say how much of each; so nothing can really take the place of feeling and good judgement."
“Light is the magical ingredient that makes or breaks a space." Add lighting to the mix and you construct the element of feeling. The space starts to communicate to you at a cellular level. Light when diffused off textured surfaces form interesting patterns. Directional lighting amplifies a texture, producing variations in shadows; soft, diffused lighting, on the contrary, minimize contrast and shadows, making textures difficult to read. A perfect example of the play of light, texture and color comes from Evonik Industries. PLEXIGLAS® Textured Sheet RADIANT creates colors that change according to the viewing angle, which is known as the Radiant effect. There is a colorful play of hues that is set off to particular advantage by the surface textures.
Patterns and textures have been part of our life since the per-historic era. Evident everywhere from cave paintings to skin art they play an important role in everyday life and have cultural, religious, and philosophical significance. Our ancestors derived their inspiration from the organic world and everyday objects. Their art has not been forgotten. It dwells deep in our psyche."Old patterns seem excitingly fresh when rejuvenated by a contemporary palette."
One perennial design feature always to remember: Contrast is the magic key. The light and the dark "the old and the new, the rough and the soft. The clash of it all is very sexy."
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In my writings I am often an explorer, a map maker, sometimes a voyager of the human mind and other times: a creator who is tormented by the inner longing to expand, express and delight !