(A note from Preston:) A little while ago Laura, who wrote this post, approached me with this idea. I thought it was an incredible untapped resource. One I had never realized a designer could profit from. This seems like a great place to find design clients. After reading, let me know if you agree by leaving a comment.
As a graphic designer, having a fantastic portfolio may be impressive but nothing will beat potential clients seeing your work in person. A great way of ensuring this happens is by designing display stands for clients who attend trade exhibitions. With so many companies in one room, prospective customers are all around.
How to find your next great clients at a trade show
An easy way to scout for business is to walk around an exhibition and pick out stands that you do not feel are making the most of their display.
Once the exhibition is over you can approach these companies and say that you noticed them at the exhibition and feel their stand could be made much more appealing and suggest that you pitch a different design to them before the next trade fair.
The designing of a display stand can be very creative and will allow you to come up with interesting and stand out designs that will draw people in, this may even result in companies coming to you to design their stands if yours catches their eye and gains a lot of interest.
Design a standee that knocks their socks off!
Many exhibition stands can be large structures with integrated lighting, projections and videos, but it is important to remember who you are designing for at all times.
While these technologies will of course get you noticed they inevitably cost money so when planning your design be sure to tailor it to a realistic budget for your client.
There is no point designing a stand for a small business when the ideas are clearly outside their financial means, but if you are lucky enough to land a pitch with a national, or even international company, you can let your imagination run wild and let your creativity create something spectacular.
The most important factor to remember is that a display stand is to promote your client first and you second.
Don’t get carried away with design ideas if they will not fit the company’s profile.
For example if you designed a stand for Coca Cola, you would not make the primary colour green, as their signature colour is the dramatic red that everyone recognizes. Your design must reflect the company and the self-promotion which you need will be gained from how well you transfer a business’s brand to the display.
How to cold-pitch to potential design clients
When pitching an idea to potential clients it is vital to have detailed plans and drawings to hand to show the company, but this is a given.
What will really impress is to have a model of what the finished stand will look like so that the clients can visualise it more clearly and point out what they like about it and what needs to be tweaked. This should also put you ahead anyone else who happens to be pitching for the same opportunity.
By creating a stand out design for one client, many more design briefs could come your way. A trade exhibition really is the perfect place to find new clients and show off your design skills.
Have you tried this? Are you going to?
(A note from Preston:) Have any of you guys tried something like this? It seems like an untapped resource that I didn’t even realize existed. If you’ve had success with this sort of thing, please share it with us by leaving a comment! If not, or if you still have questions about it, leave a comment on this post and Laura or I will respond as best we can.