The Importance of Display Design Timelines

While we know it is possible to produce a fantastic show-stopping trade show display under tight timelines, we want to ensure that your project receives ample time and attention. Otherwise, it leaves little room for changes, costs more, creates a risk of errors or missed deadlines, and can create scheduling issues. Here are a few pointers that will help you manage your design timelines. 

Almost all of the production and timeline issues we encounter in the trade show display world starts in the design phase. When the design goes smoothly, nine times out of ten, the rest of the project moves along quickly without error. Establishing strong communication between the designer and the client is vital when a design project starts. Creating project timelines with clear expectations can prevent hiccups and miscommunications down the road. Of course, we want your experience with us to be smooth, seamless, and one you want to repeat! You are a critical part of this experience and before beginning a new project with us, there are a few things to know. 

Exhibitors new to trade show planning will almost always underestimate how involved the design process is. Depending on the size and complexity of your new display, a good rule of thumb is to start the design process at least 3-6 months before the show date. Design is step one in the process of building a trade show display and from start to final print, where approval can take one week to a month. This includes the time to go back and forth to get the correct files, design the first layout, make changes to proofs, and get feedback from the rest of your team, which can sometimes take the longest.

We’ve had projects where it has taken months to get final approval to move forward with the layout if the design on the client end is “by committee.” At this point, the display still needs to be built or have the graphics printed. There are many steps to the build and print process; we need at least 1 to 6 weeks of production time, depending on the type of display. If you want a banner stand, no problem; five business days is a reasonable expectation for our production department. If you want a 20×20 modular display in a week, we start to sweat! 

Review, feedback and revisions are crucial for designers. Having time to let the creative juices flow is the difference between getting a design you love and ending up with a design you might not be 100% happy with. 

When the design is rushed, it creates the potential for mistakes and errors within the final produced display. To keep a positive rapport with our company’s various departments, as well as our relationship with you, we rely on healthy deadlines. The last thing we want is a spelling error, a slight colour shift, or a spacing issue after you’ve approved the proof because you felt rushed. 

If you have a show in Houston and it has to arrive at advanced warehousing two weeks before the show starts, and you want us to handle the shipping and customs clearance, be sure to mention those details during the initial phone call with your account executive on day one. The shipping and show details are critical information you need to share to help with the smooth, seamless experience we all want.

Communicating all the details and setting clear deadlines with enough design and production time is crucial for both parties’ success. It allows us to go above and beyond to make sure the projects that you, our clients, are investing in genuinely are show-stopping!

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