Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Using space to tell your story

Over the weekend just past, I had the opportunity to visit the King Tut traveling exhibit here in Dallas. It was a great sensory experience and really brought the artifacts and story to life.

Keep that in mind when you design or lay out your trade show exhibit.

The Dallas Museum of Art transformed itself for this exhibit. I am fortunate to have seen some of these artifacts when they first traveled the US back in the late 1970s. A lot has changed in what they show and how they show it. The three key things I came away with as an exhibit person were these:

  1. Use light to your advantage
  2. Be consistent and clear with your message(s)
  3. Don't clutter the space
Using light. Each artifact in the displays was lit carefully and correctly based upon it's material and place in the story. Glass or plex cases surrounded artifacts to not only protect, but enhance (with light) what was being shown. The absence of light was also used and floors, walls and ceilings were black or dark colors to not distract from the photos or artifacts.

Consistent messages. The displays were arranged in such a way as to tell a story. It was a chronology of sorts so that you understood Tut's family origins and the history of what he dis politically and culturally. By the time you reached the "burial chamber" you knew who he was and what he brought with him. And where he seems to be "going" into history yet written.

Clutter. While there were thousands of artifacts found in the burial chamber, only a select few (and those Germain to conveying the tightly-formed story) were used. Photos of the actual excavation and discovery in 1922 were hung in key locations. Technology was used carefully and when appropriate.

If you get the chance to see this exhibit, please do. It's both a treat for the student in us all as well as the exhibitor that works within us.

Lesson learned: craft your messages and use light and space carefully and sparingly to reach your audience.


No comments: