A fusion of disciplines and disciples, Exhibit Design, is visual storytelling of concepts and ideas through physical 3D forms. It is how a subject is perceived and conveyed to the aesthetes and leaves a thought-provoking impact. Exhibit designs are meant to convey a message by engaging and interacting with audiences. An exhibit can be a single screen display or an intense multifaceted architectural experience vowing its visitors.

This concept was first experienced around the 17th century on the cabinets of curiosity when people used to travel the world and were fond of displaying personal collections. Now, humankind has designed Museums, Zoological parks, Retail and Trade show spaces, Theme parks, and Visitor centres to enjoy different exhibits. 

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Exhibit Design_©www.pentagram.com

Some of the different blends of exhibit design include: architecture, landscape, interior design, lighting design, graphic design, digital media, audiovisual engineering, and content writing. The material, lighting, and design of the exhibition stands have evolved hugely with time. The designers now design the exhibits in accordance with the objects on display and the ones that are functional and in sync with the taste of the audience. 

For instance, the materials used in today’s scenario are laminates or PVC sheets instead of designers putting plaster and putty on their stands. The evolution of materials and techniques has crossed paths with aesthetics and the resultant is a more precise and pleasing design. The concept of lighting an Exhibit has evolved from flashy designs to those that soothe not only the occupants of the exhibit but also the visitors. 

The not-so-interesting storefront imitations now inculcate the visitor with an overwhelming experience. The materials can be moulded into any earlier unimaginable thought, and the exhibits are more creative, specifically after the 2000s.

How does an Exhibit Designer Work?

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Exhibit Designer working at a museum_©www.twincities.com

The process of exhibit designing begins like any other design with the brainstorming sessions and working on the theme for the project. Ideally, the fundamental steps involve sketching and planning the placement of elements and how the storytelling process will take shape according to the area of the venue and the expected visitor count. The individual designer or the team sits with the organizer and discusses ideas and budgets for the exhibition.

The next step is preparing a prototype of the approved design and making necessary amendments after discussion with the clients. The exhibit designer is responsible for organizing the supplies for the design and management of on-time delivery. The final step is constructing the exhibit; if off-site, then safe transportation is ensured by the designer. Finally, a sensory-stimulating space is presented to the visitors with a message competing with another.

Skills of an Exhibit Designer

Every field demands a particular set of skills that are required to excel professionally. The presence of different traits in a human helps them to perform better and also enlists the fields one can work towards. Having an extraordinary skill set is always appreciable but here listed are some of the basic skills required to be a good Exhibit Designer.

  • An exhibit designer should be well equipped with organizational and time management skills as the task is to be done with utmost precision and profound impact within time constraints.
  • The instilled quality of being a team player works a long way as exhibit design demands different bright, creative minds coming together and working as a team together is of fundamental importance.
  • Good communication is mandatory to convey ideas behind the design to the clients and the team and also being a patient listener to understand and consider their thoughts.
  • The ability to handle pressure and criticism should come in handy to the designer as both knock on the door before appreciation any day.
  • Changes are an integral part of designing and keeping a positive approach towards it is a mandate skill.
  • Strong design, drawing, software knowledge, and artistic skills form the fundamental skills.
  • As an exhibit designer works with a team, it is important to know other creatives involved in the project to understand and communicate the design better.
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Exhibition design team brainstorming for a project_©www.infosec4tc.teachable.com

Qualifications Required to be an Exhibit Designer

Be it any profession, the fundamental requirement along with interest in the field to begin with is being educationally qualified. The criteria for practice varies from place to place and also according to the concerned position in the team.

  • To be an Exhibit Designer, one needs a bachelor’s degree in exhibition design or any field concerned with exhibition designing and a minimal level of work experience with exhibits.
  • Holding a diploma and internship experience at an exhibition-centric place can also suffice for beginning a career as an exhibit designer, which varies with place.
  • To learn and understand more about the field, one can always have an option for post-graduation in exhibition design.

Career Scope as an Exhibit Designer

Anyone pursuing the field unwraps many options for themselves in the market other than being an exhibit designer. Industrial designer, product designer, textile designer, interior designer are some of the fields that can be taken up. It is one of the underrated but highest-paying professions that are in extensive demand currently. Some of the top recruiters of exhibit designers in India include Orient Craft, Shoppers Stop, Pantaloons, Amazon, and Benetton. 

3 Places to Practice Exhibit Design

Exhibit design is fondly practiced by designers who are intrigued towards storytelling through 3d modelling, belonging to any respective field. Listed are some countries that can be considered if one wants to explore the field professionally.

  • United States of America

The USA houses many exhibition design studios across the country, the majority catering from New York. The average salary of a designer is  $54,600 annually as of 2020, with a stable state of the profession in the country.

It is a country with an association for exhibition designers and a rich museum experience promoting Exhibit Design. With an average salary of $13,000, Italy is a fine place to practice the profession.

The capital of Germany, the city with around 175 museums and more than 300 art galleries, can provide a culturally rich experience to the designers and ample opportunities to experiment with different concepts. 

3 Online Courses to Enhance skills as an Exhibit Designer

In a predominantly Virtual world everyone strives to gain maximum skills at the comfort of their dwellings instead of enrolling for offline classes. Moreover online courses help to simultaneously polish different skills along with professional commitments. Here are some courses to understand different aspects of Exhibit design. 

  • The Ziegler academy-Art Management and Exhibition design

It is an online course on Udemy taught by a contemporary art curator and art fair director, Tina Zieglar. It speculates on three topics: art gallery management, art exhibition design and curating, and art handling and installation. It helps with all aspects of gallery management and business, especially for those who are willing to work in this particular direction and be extremely pocket-friendly. Here is the link to the course https://www.udemy.com/course/a-complete-guide-art-gallery-management-exhibition-design/

  • Courses by The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

MoMA offers a varied range of courses discussing art, museum teaching culture, architecture and art, paintings, and strategies of interacting with art that will help a learner understand art better and ultimately positively affect their craft. Any of these courses can be pursued as additional learning to enhance your skills at Exhibit Design. Here is the link to the course https://www.coursera.org/moma

  • Exhibition Design by Tiziano Schucrh

It is a course by Node Center- A first e-learning program for curators and art professionals. This course provides conceptual and technical tools that help in formulating ideas into Exhibits. Along with a deep level understanding of exhibit planning, participants will have an opportunity to design their exhibits every week through simple methods like hand drawing or 3D paper models. Here is the link to the course https://nodecenter.net/course/exhibition-design

Examples of some Awe-inspiring Exhibit Designs

The profession is growing and developing at a fast pace around the world and numerous uniquely varying exhibits are designed talking about different aspects of design with a hidden, direct or indirect message for visitors generally. Here are listed few examples of beautifully and thoughtfully designed Exhibits.

  1. The Victoria and Albert Museum Exhibit by Alexander McQueen– Savage Beauty

This exhibit was initially displayed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2011 and, after the death of Mcqueen, again exhibited at this museum. The focus was on conceptualising elements with varying notions of Romanticism, Gothic, Naturalism, Primitivism, and Nationalism. No room fails to enthral the visitor narrating different stories of heaven and hell that trigger curiosity and excitement.

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Exhibit Design_©the Victoria and Albert museum
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Exhibit Design_©the Victoria and Albert museum
  1. Think: An Exploration into making world a better place

It is a multimedia exhibition that accosted light onto various advantages of innovations by Humankind. The focus was on how technology accelerates progress, and it was ensured that every detail is scientifically correct. It was supposed to be engaging and informative for adults and fun for kids.

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Exhibit Design_©www.segd.com
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Exhibit Design_©www.segd.com
  1. YOU! The Experience, Museum of Science and Industry

It combines human personality, traits, and the surroundings and presents exhibits that examine and celebrate Human life. Just a few moments into the exhibits will leave you thinking and intrigued about what it is to be you. The vibrant, colourful graphics give a new flavour to an Exhibit about the Human Body.

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Exhibit Design_©www.enjoyillinois.com
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Exhibit Design_©www.huntdesign.com

An informative experience, a not-so-familiar career option, a well-paid profession, a creative hunt, an amazing process of storytelling or conveying the message and a never-ending learning process combine and indites EXHIBIT DESIGN. Constant dedication and out-of-the-box thinking should be hands-on for a striking Exhibit.

References

Careers360.com. 2021. Exhibition Design Courses, Subjects, Colleges, Syllabus, Scope, Fees, Eligibility. [online] Available at: <https://www.careers360.com/courses/exhibition-design-course> [Accessed 16 August 2021].

En.wikipedia.org. 2021. Exhibit design – Wikipedia. [online] Available at: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exhibit_design> [Accessed 16 August 2021].

Howarth, D., 2021. Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty exhibition at V&A London. [online] Dezeen. Available at: <https://www.dezeen.com/2015/03/12/alexander-mcqueen-savage-beauty-fashion-exhibition-london-va-museum/> [Accessed 16 August 2021].

Industrial Designers Society of America – IDSA. 2021. THINK: An Exploration into Making the World Work Better. [online] Available at: <https://www.idsa.org/awards/idea/environments/think-exploration-making-world-work-better> [Accessed 16 August 2021].

Nodecenter.net. 2021. Node Center. [online] Available at: <https://nodecenter.net/course/exhibition-design> [Accessed 16 August 2021].

Segd.org. 2021. What is Exhibition Design? | SEGD. [online] Available at: <https://segd.org/what-exhibition-design-0> [Accessed 16 August 2021].

The Museum of Modern Art. 2021. Online courses | MoMA. [online] Available at: <https://www.moma.org/research-and-learning/classes> [Accessed 16 August 2021].

Udemy. 2021. The Ziegler Academy: Art Management & Exhibition Design. [online] Available at: <https://www.udemy.com/course/a-complete-guide-art-gallery-management-exhibition-design/> [Accessed 16 August 2021].

XS Worldwide. 2021. Exhibition Stands: Then And Now – The Evolution!. [online] Available at: <https://xs-worldwide.com/2017/12/19/exhibition-stands-now-evolution/> [Accessed 16 August 2021].

Author

Aastha is an architecture graduate who is enthusiastic about playing with words and inditing the stories waiting to be told. Apart from being an expressionist she is an avid reader and a philomath on a journey to make a difference with her deeds.

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