Category Archives: Hints & Tips

Why a design brief is important.

A good design brief helps develop trust and understanding between the client and graphic designer – and serves as an essential point of reference for both parties. Above all, the brief ensures that important design issues are considered and questioned before the designer starts work.

Why write a design brief

So let’s take a moment to explore this further.

Shooting arrows in the dark.

Even if you have had a face-to-face meeting with a designer, a written design brief is still an important part of the design process. By writing down your thoughts and expectations on paper you will ensure that those thoughts have clarity and have been well considered. If you can’t write down what you want, how can a designer ever hope to capture what you’re looking for? Without a clear brief your designer is simply shooting arrows at a target in the dark. He or she might get lucky, but do you really want to pay for all the misses?

What’s the story?

No-one knows their brand and audience as well as the owner of that brand. A solid brief provides background to your brand story, delivers your hard-earned insights to the designer and ensures that the design addresses these insights. Defining your audience helps the designer deliver the right tone and messaging to ensure your message cuts through. It might seem obvious, but knowing the gender and age profile of the audience affects many of the design choices a designer might make.

That’s not to say a designer shouldn’t push the boundaries and question those insights, but at least they will have a baseline.

Why a design brief is important.

I said, you said.

Having a written brief helps to ensure that everyone is on the same page. We’ve all played Chinese whispers so a written brief helps to ensure the message stays on-track and clear. Remember, garbage in – garbage out. Take the time to write a formal and lengthy brief, and you are more likely to see an awesome final design.

There’s no I in team.

Great design often comes through collaboration. See your design brief as part of this collaboration. It’s your chance to communicate what you think and how you feel this brief might be treated and considered. It defines your expectations and then leaves it to the designer to either meet your brief or question it and offer alternatives.

Time is money.

Designers mostly charge for their time by the hour. A well-considered brief will ensure that your designer spends less time getting things wrong and more time working efficiently to deliver on your requirement. At times you might feel like writing the brief is taking way to long, but honestly… stay focused as it will pay-back in the long run.

Remember, a poorly written brief or a brief lacking in necessary detail will always mean the designer has to spend extra time on the project, and this extra time costs you money!  It is always much better to spend the time up-front getting clear about your requirements and giving the designer the information they need.

How to write a creative brief.

Much like the recipe for any good dish, a great creative brief relies on a number of key ingredients plus a few added extras to spice it up. Don’t be afraid to play around, but always be sure to remain clear, focused and include lots of detail.

Write_A_Creative_Design_Brief

Here’s our top tips on writing a great creative brief.

#1   give us the background story

Remember we might be new to this brand or project so we only know what we know. Tell us all you can so that we build up a picture of what you want, as well as get a real understanding of your project and brand.

It can be really tempting to jump straight into detailing what your design should look or feel like, but first things first. Tell us about your brand mission, who your competitors are and what you think we should all be aiming for.

Design is not a one-size-fits-all solution. You need design that is right for your business, its purpose and your customer base. Go as far as including what you love about your business or what you’re most proud of – the more you show us some of your emotion, the more we can provide you with an emotive response.

Always feel free to send us inspiration materials – no doubt you’ve seen design stuff you like and feel might resonate with your audience – send it through with your brief because great design and ideas can come from anywhere.  Browsing Google Images can be a great way to find sources of inspiration.

#2  tell us what you’re looking for

We don’t want to shoot arrows in the dark in the hopes of hitting the target. Turn on the lights and show us your target – that way we can be sure to hit the mark.

Take some time to define the scope of your project, so we know exactly what you’re after. We still might question it, but at least we have a starting point.

Now we know what you want, how about why you want it. This will give us a deeper insight into your goals and aspirations, and allows us to sense check if the ‘why’ complements the ‘what’.

Because much of our design is 3D-based, always let us know how you plan to use what we are creating. That way we’ll understand where it will be used, how it will be used and who will be using it – this impacts on weight constraints, ease-of-build requirements and material longevity.

Write a creative brief

#3   describe your target audience

This is the most crucial part of your brief and ensures we deliver something that will appeal. Remember, this isn’t about what you like – unless you’re the target audience – this is all about your target consumer. If you can’t define them accurately we may well be destined for failure. Tell us their gender, their age profile, their likes and dislikes, and their socio-economic background. All this helps the designer choose a colour palette and a design style that will appeal.

#4   detail what you expect delivered

It seems obvious, but many a design has failed due to miscommunication of deliverables. Be clear in your expectations. Is this simply a design brief, or do you require artwork, print and build once you approve the design? Once approved, what elements do you want delivered? Will you be providing all copy or do you require us to write any copy? Do you require artwork at different sizes? Do you have a brand guide that we should use?

If you are presenting concepts to a board, then let us know if you need PDFs, printed visuals or mock-ups to help you sell the design concept.

#5   be clear on timings

Deadlines are always important – we hate to miss them so be clear about what you expect and when. That way we can be sure not to disappoint. If there are key milestones in the project then let us know – perhaps a board meeting where you need to present concepts? Or perhaps a date for final approval of artwork due to print timings that impact on the project LIVE date?

So basically the more you tell us, the more we can design and build what you want. It’s imperative that you write a brief that dictates all your requirements. Only then are we able to create a design that will be outstanding and exceed expectations.

For more information please contact us at Displays2go.com.au

The importance of colour matching.

Colour is something we often take for granted. Whether it be the colour of the sky, the greeness of the grass, or the way colours react with each other, we all see colour in different ways. However, our eyes can be extremely sensitive to subtle variations in colour. While this might not be the case if they are across the room from each other, if items are in our field of vision at the same time, we will often notice a colour difference.

For this reason, if you are at all concerned about the colour output of your printed assets it’s important you supply your printer with a colour to match when getting them printed. Colour can vary significantly according to the material it is being printed on and the print technology being used. For example, a fabric backdrop wall may look a different colour to a demonstration table graphic wrap which in turn look different to promotional leaflets.

Using the right colour profiles.

Most graphic designers create their work on a computer using part of the Adobe Suite, whether Photoshop, InDesign or Illustrator, and use a range of different colour profiles.

It’s important to let your designer know what you intend to use the design for so they can select the right colour profile. For example, anything that is designed for on-screen use will be designed in RGB, but anything that is printed should be designed in CMYK. It is imperative that you select the right profile for the job otherwise there could be a noticeable difference between how the design looks on screen and the final printed product.

Screen Colours versus print colours

But it’s not just on screen that we see a noticeable difference, there can also be a huge difference in colour between printed products such as paper, card, fabric, boards etc. Therefore supplying your printer with a CMYK colour does not always solve the problem. Why? Well there are a few reasons:

  1. colour can look different when printed on different materials;
  2. colours can easily be different if using different printing companies;
  3. inks can be slightly different on different technologies.

How do we combat colour differences?

You will be pleased to know that there are two trusted ways to avoid all of this uncertainty. Option one is to send a swatch of sample colour for the printer to match to. Option two is to use the universal system that all printers and designers use – the Pantone Matching System (PMS).

Pantone is essentially a library of various colour swatches that can be used as fixed colour references during the design process. Almost every professional design application (e.g. Photoshop) supports the Pantone colour profile, thus making it easily accessible.

How do I choose my Pantone colour?

If you are creating a new brand then it’s recommended that you choose a Pantone colour straight away so that all the promotional material can be matched accordingly.

TIP: Try to choose a colour that has a close CMYK equivalent. That way whether you’re printing in Pantone or CMYK, your brand colour will look very similar.

Pantone and CMYK colour matching

However, if you already have your brand guidelines and they do not include a Pantone colour then we recommend getting a copy of the book and selecting a colour that closely matches your CMYK. If your book does not have CMYK references then you will have to do some colour matching by printing off your CMYK colour swatch and matching it with some swatches in the book. This may seem cumbersome at the time, but it will ensure that when you sit back and look at your exhibition stand or display you will see a level of consistency that is pleasing to the eye.

Implications of not asking for a colour match

If you do not ask your printer to colour match, they won’t!  For this reason, if you end up with a colour you don’t want and you haven’t asked for matching, don’t blame your printer!  Many inexperienced event executives will have a stressful colour-related drama early in their careers and will carry the learning from it all through their career – one experience is generally enough!

Displays 2 Go have been in the display and exhibition industry for over 20 years and understand the importance of colour matching,especially when everything is brought together at the end for an event. If you need any further information then please get in contact with one of our sales team who will be happy to help.

 

What’s trending right now..?

Everyone talks about things that are ‘trending’ but what does the term actually mean?

A trend is a general direction in which something is developing or changing. It is something that people are attracted to, they resonate with and are drawn to because they find it attractive or useful.

Often the current trends in the furnishing and interior design industry are reflected in our exhibition stands, pop up shops or sampling tables. Companies will ask us to encompass these trends into our designs as a way to connect with consumers.

Here are a few highlights from one of the latest trends…

Scandinavian Look

The whole Scandi look and feel is something that we are seeing a lot of at the moment. The light-coloured timbers and wood grains, the exposed beams and the hessian mats. This look makes for a fresh, modern, stylish feel with clean lines.

Scandanavian_trends

A great example of the Scandi look and feel

The colour scheme follows some simple rules. It has to look natural – hence the use of wood – and the main colour is usually black or white. The timber used in the stand gives the display height, and the black of the furnishings draw the consumer’s eye to the products on show. The look is usually quite minimalistic so whatever product is being exhibited should be a real showcase on the stand.

Exhibition_trends

Lighting is also a fundamental part of this trend with lots of lights hanging from the beams. These tend to be made out of natural elements such as brass, wood, or simple metallic fittings. The lighting is not bright but adds a warm, cosy feel to the stand and can be used to highlight certain products on show.

The final important element in this trend is the use of greenery and plants. This not only adds some colour to the stand but continues the ‘natural’ theming and brings life to the display. You will often see plants presented in ceramic or glass pots, or used as hanging foliage to complete the natural look and feel.

Scandinavian_exhibition_trends

If you would like to know more about incorporating this trend into your next display activity, give us a call on 1300 240 250.

ROI VS ROO: Which Should You Measure?

Marketers have been throwing around the words return on investment (ROI) for centuries as a yardstick of effectiveness for every post-event report. It’s been a common term for so long that it’s often an assumed goal for almost any business project or activity.

ROI, at its root, measures the effect of an event based on financial value. But what about when event success isn’t directly attributed to revenue value? Does it have to be? Many an accountant would say that everything reverts back to a monetary return. But we believe that it’s possible in some cases to measure ‘return’ in different ways.

Enter: return on objective or ROO!

ROO recalibrates the marketing focus and allows marketers to look at post-event reports with a richer perspective, rather than just looking at the revenue alone. So whilst ROI focuses on ice cold sales, ROO focuses on defining metrics like increased awareness, brand impact, and purchase intent. It creates a set of metrics to build on, driving towards purchase of course, but not fundamentally built on this one measure.

ROO takes into account that events are instrumental for increasing brand awareness, accelerating anticipated timeframes for purchase, and strengthening customer loyalty to increase likelihood of recommending the brand. These metrics may not be directly tied to sales and may not have an immediate value but are most certainly crucial for creating movements in the sales funnel for future value. Is it not better to nurture a loyal customer than one who makes one purchase and then never buys again? Some campaigns can and should focus on loyalty rather than instant sales.

Exhibition standWhen it comes to events, it pays to understand that audiences don’t go to events wanting to be viewed as potential revenue. People come to events to be part of some amazing interactions and have a great experience. When analysing event success, it’s also worth noting that it takes some time after the event is over to really make a true and realistic evaluation of an event’s impact. So instead of just talking about event ROI, it’s also important to understand ROO and let its data drive marketing objectives beyond the numeric value.

The bottomline? ROI is all about the long game, but ROO helps check progress and goals throughout. Taken together, ROI and ROO provide a complete picture of the business value an event can create.

At Displays 2 Go, we are a strong believer of understanding data metrics and analysing results that come from organising an event. This includes not only sales, but also the importance of customer relationships and brand building as a whole. When we look at a brief, we always want to understand the objectives the client is searching to tick off. And interestingly, they’re not always about sales!

Global trends to watch out for in 2018

The events and exhibition industry is a rapidly growing and competitive market. Every year we see new technology being developed and new display solutions being created, all designed to appeal to attendees.

We’ve taken a look at the exhibition and events industry and highlighted four global trends that we think you should look out for:

  1. Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality (VR) has definitely enhanced the experience perspective – and will continue to do so in the upcoming year.

Boursin Virtual Reality

According to the 2018 Global Meetings and Events Forecast published by American Express Meetings and Events, the use of VR will continue to create a level of advancement in the way attendees interact at exhibitions and events. The incorporation of this immersive technology may come as no surprise, but still draws major excitement and will continue to change the way attendees interact at events. In Australia we are seeing more and more articles published on VR, so it is clear that it is THE tech talking-point of the moment.

  1. Hybrid Events

You’ve probably heard it already – hybrid events succeed on virtually every level.

In 2018, hybrid events are predicted to make an impact on the end-to-end delivery of event communication.

Furthermore, the “live” in-person event with a “virtual” component has become extremely valuable in deriving greater reach and participation, valuable data collection, and cost effectiveness at events. The big tech companies do it very well, but now the technology is available to other companies, combining several communication channels into one event.

  1. Engaging the Apps

Mobile apps may have emerged years ago but their usage at meetings and events continues to evolve.

Along with other technology innovations, mobile app usage is extremely effective in transforming the way event owners and attendees communicate, inform and engage with each other. In 2018 mobile apps will go from a nice-to-have to a must-have. They have proven themselves in improving attendee engagement, sharing agenda details and facilitating networking among attendees.

  1. Wellness

Enhancing attendee experience is not limited to having fun activities on your exhibition display. A 2018 Global Meetings and Events Report also forecast Wellness as an emerging trend to watch out for throughout 2018.

An increasing number of companies are now looking to appeal to attendee well being throughout meetings and events. This trend is predicted to be seen more in hotels around food and beverage offerings. Meeting and event owners also take this emerging trend as an opportunity to differentiate themselves and focus on healthy lifestyle and work with purpose.

Wherever you are in your planning for events in the upcoming year, these global trends indicate how much advances in technology impact the whole industry. It’s always important to create a meaningful engagement with your attendees, to stand out on the show floor and get noticed.

At Display 2 Go we are always updating our display solutions to accommodate these changes and to keep our products fresh and new. We offer a broad range of interactive digital solutions that help to give attendees a more immersive experience. Our range of inflatable products deliver a portable display solution that gets noticed – it’s fresh thinking combined with design flair.

 

Importance of Photographs at Events

Events offer a great opportunity to promote products or brands to a large crowd. There’s a tremendous amount of effort that goes along with organising an exhibition or event but, with its temporary nature, some may ask the question: what happens after the event is completed?

This is where photography comes into the picture. Photographs narrate your events in the form of images and help spread the word about your event even after it is done – in contrast to what could simply be two to three days of onsite marketing.

pop-up Kiosk

Example of a pop up display in a shopping mall

We live in a visual world where society loves to digest information using images whether it be through social media, websites, magazines or brochures. This makes photography all the more essential not only to remember your events but to effectively market it.

How to seize the moment at your event through photography:

  1. Think about what you want to communicate

Set out your expectations early on and decide what kind of photographs you want to achieve at your event. Do you want to capture a professional vibe? Or perhaps images of your exhibition stand with bustling people or guests in conversations? Do you need different shots of your display stand with varying angles? Or pictures of guests trying out your products? For visual fanatics like ourselves, this is an important part that cannot be overlooked as this helps communicate your brand image – just the way you want it to be – in your marketing communications.

  1. Coordinate with the photographer ahead of time

Don’t underestimate the power of a clear brief! Be sure to prepare this for your photographer ahead of time so they know exactly what you want to achieve with the photography. Let the photographer know the activity running order for your event. Make sure he/she has all the necessary details to capture every important moment, like ribbon cutting or a special presentation. Include the details of who is involved, and when and where each activity will happen. Onsite, things can change right up to the wire so be sure to inform the photographer of any last minute changes!

  1. Consider the image format

Brief your photographer with information on the kind of image formats you wish to have – layout wise. Make clear instructions on whether you need more portrait photos rather than landscape photos or if you’d like a good mix of both. Portrait images work best on magazines whilst landscapes are perfect for online. How about the file format? Do you need a jpeg or tiff?

Event photography

  1. Check the lighting

This may seem like the last thing to check on your list but it’s important to inspect the lighting at your event. Indoor venues can be challenging for photographers especially if the event isn’t well-lit. The best thing to do is to inform the photographer ahead of time so he/she can bring the right camera tools or equipment necessary to capture every moment. Or if possible, have the photographer view the location in advance.

  1. Create Buzz through Social Media

Bring your exhibit to a larger audience! Posting photos about your event on social media is a priceless form of publicity and can even go a long way to encouraging brand followers to keep tabs on your next event!

Most photographers can supply photos on the day of the event but be sure to communicate this in advance.

Fab brows mall activation event photographs

  1. Post-Event Analysis

Post event analysis is essential to study and improve your events! Create a post-event learnings checklist for your event and have a think on what went wrong, what could be improved, and what could be adopted for upcoming events. Did you get the images you need? Write notes about your learnings to ensure you get better results for the next event!

Our team here at Displays 2 Go can offer advice on how you could get the most out of your events. Contact us today to find out more about what we can do to create an impact for your business.

Follow up on leads – it’s worth it!

Never been easier

Data capture and following up on leads from an exhibition or trade show has never been easier. No longer do you need reams of paper to collect names, phone numbers and email addresses as it’s all captured on a tablet and sent straight to your database, ready for you or your sales team to follow up on. Or is it??

Lead Generation and Data Capture

Research has long suggested that the vast majority of leads generated by trade shows never receive any follow-up by company representatives. A recent study estimated that less than 70% of exhibitors have a plan in place to follow up leads after the show.

 This is crazy!

With the likes of MailChimp, Asana and other database marketing tools that can be automated to contact leads after the show, this really should be a simple task and one that can be set up weeks before the show. But so often this part of the sales process gets forgotten in the ‘whole trade show plan’ and the leads that you do generate become worthless. 

So here are a few ways you can make sure this does not happen to you:

Create a Trade Show Plan

A trade show plan does what it says on the tin. It is created for a specific show and covers everything from the layout of the exhibition stand, lighting, connectivity, devices, staffing and promotions. However, one of the most important things it should include is ROI and lead generation. Without a plan in place for what happens after the show these leads are in danger of being forgotten.

Create a Data Capture Page

A data capture page will create a new database where you can keep all your leads from the show. You could encourage visitors to leave their details by offering a reward, whether in the form of a competition or further information. If possible have a dropdown list on the data capture page that can categorise the leads into specific targeted groups. This way when you send them info after the show it will be relevant and targeted to their industry.

data Capture at an exhibition

Have a Post-Show Plan

Have a plan in place for after the show covering how and when you are going to contact these leads and who is going to do it. Ensure your follow-up plan offers a range of options for further engagement, like a free download or a demo request (don’t limit this to one option, give them a few to capture everyone’s interest). And make sure that you remind prospects of any announcements or special offers that you made at the show. Basically, make your email count, make it drive some action.

Make it Someone’s Job

If after-show contact is not a job for you then find someone who can own it and run with it. Ensure that person understands the plan and then has all the tools to make it happen. Include conversion analysis in your plan so that you can understand how many leads converted into sales and their value – sometimes this kind of info helps you negotiate with event organisers the following year.

We love warm leads

Any lead created at a show or exhibition is considered a warm lead. These are people that have visited your stand, have given you their email address and have shown an interest in your product. Contact them and make the investment you made at the exhibition give you something in return.

Make every lead count.

 

If you need help with your next exhibition stand or want to design some collateral around data capture give us a call on 1300 240 250.

 

Supplying the Right Logo File for Printing?

Most companies will have a logo  – a logo that customers can instantly recognise. A logo design can be made up of different elements; whether it’s the colour, the font or an image, this is what depicts your brand. It’s crucial that when you use the logo it looks good on whatever medium you are displaying it on.

When a logo file is designed it is usually created using software in the Adobe Design Suite, such as InDesign or Illustrator, meaning it can be saved in many different formats and resolutions. It is crucial that you get a good mix of file formats from your designer so you are able to use the right file for the right job.  It doesn’t matter if you can’t open all these formats – it only matters that graphic designers and printers can! 

Using a logo for your website

If you are using a logo for a website it needs to be a comparatively low resolution because it needs to load quickly, and only needs to be large enough to see on a screen. This type of file is typically a ’picture’ file like a TIF, JPG or PNG.

Take a look at the example below – this is our logo used on our website.

  Low Resolution file - Displays2Go

Now look what happens if we try and enlarge this logo – the resolution used on a website is very low and unsuitable for large format printing.

example-og-large-low-res

So what type of file should I supply for print?

To use your logo for print, whether it’s media print or large format print, the file needs to be “high resolution”.  In simple terms, resolution refers to the quality of the image.  The more dots of resolution you can cram into the width and height of the image the better quality the image will be, hence the higher the resolution will be.

For most printing you will need a high resolution file, and the larger you want it to print the higher the resolution needs to be.  Artwork files can come in a variety of formats, including PDF, Adobe Illustrator (identifiable with the file name extension ‘.ai’), or ‘.eps’ format. If you don’t have design software on you computer, you will not be able to open or view these files, but your printer can. You can also provide a TIF, JPG or PNG in high resolution, but these files would generally need to be at least 1 MB in size in order to present well when printed.

Here is an Illustrator file the same size as the website file in the first example.

Illustrator file - Displays 2 Go

Below is the Illustrator file enlarged. An illustrator file stays sharp as it is enlarged.

High Resolution File - Displays 2Go

As you can see, the high resolution image is crystal clear, and this is what you want any print work to look like.

Remember that when you are sending out your logo, think about where it is being displayed and then select the correct format and resolution. If you do this you will ensure your logo and brand will print well.

If you have any further questions about sending us files just give us a call and we can talk you though the process.

How to fix common errors with artwork setup

Every day our clients send us artwork to be printed.  These files come in all styles and sizes, but unfortunately not all files arrive print-ready!

As we see so many pieces of artwork it puts us in a great position to know the common issues that people struggle with, so we have designed a few “how-to” guides to help our clients achieve great results the first time around.

How to Guides - Print

To make it easy for you we have written step-by-step guides to walk you through the process. We’ve also included the instructions in video format, as well and a downloadable PDF for you to keep on file and print if you need to.

Five Common Problems

Here are the five most common problems we see with print files:

  1. The colours have not been set up for CMYK/process printing
  2. The die-line is not set up correctly for printing
  3. The file has not been flattened correctly
  4. The text has not been outlined
  5. The client is struggling to manage the file as it’s too large

Each of these issues can be resolved by following the online tutorials, but it’s important to understand why you need to to do these things so mistakes are not made when sending a file to print. Below is a quick summary of WHY it’s important to check your file for these elements.

  1. Why do I need to convert colours to CMYK?
    When we prepare a print ready file it must only contain the four CMYK separations to print correctly. If there are any components in the file that are set to a spot colour or RGB colour, it can render highly unpredictable results when converted to CMYK.  Click here to see how to convert all colours to CMYK.
  2. Why do I need a die line?
    A die line is used on artwork to enable it to be cut or folded to a particular shape once it is printed. If this has not been set up correctly then it can affect the finished article. Ensure that the dieline has been placed into the artwork as a separate layer, which allows the user to ensure it is correctly located relative to the print component. Click here to see how to create a die line.
  3. Why do I need to flatten an image?
    Flattening images basically ensures that what you see on your screen in what comes out of the printer. Part of the print process involves converting the file’s information into ‘printer language’. It’s in this conversion process that some printing software may interpret the file differently, producing unexpected results. Flattening the file removes the possibility of this type of error. For a step-by-step guide on what it means to flatten an image.
  4. Why do the fonts look different from my file?
    When an artwork file is opened on another computer it will search that system for fonts in the file. If it cannot find the fonts it will try and substitute the font, or open the file using another font. Either of these will change the result, so to stop this from happening it’s important to outline your fonts.  Outlining the font effectively means you are changing the text into an “object”, and in so doing it means any computer ceases to recognise the font as text. Click to find out more abut why fonts change and look different.
  5. Why can’t I send you the file?
    We all know how frustrating it can be when you have finally got your artwork to be print ready and then either your computer slows to a grinding halt or you cannot send the file because it’s too big!  There is one setting that can resolve this issue and reduce the size of the file by 95%. Click here to find out a simple way to send your file to print.

If you have any other questions regarding your print file then at Displays2go we are always happy to talk it through on the phone.