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How To Exhibit: Explanation And Seduction - September2010

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For Bachelor students at the Industrial Design Department in Eindhoven I prepared a short lecture on exhibiting. The 15 points presented here will aid them in preparing a convincing presentation for their (interim) semester exhibitions.

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How To Exhibit: Explanation And Seduction - September2010

  1. 1. Exhibiton:Explanation&Seduction
  2. 2. 15pointsofinterest
  3. 3. 1The relationship between 3D and 2DCreate a meaningful relationship between flat information(drawings and graphics) and spatial information (prototypes).Just as you need to clarify your project with a good title andmotto, you need to create a convincing positive tensionbetween 2D and 3D visuals.
  4. 4. 2From BIG to small,depending on the messageIn a presentation some things can be madesmall, because they are either some kind ofintimate information, or they are less important.
  5. 5. 3Cognitive SpeedsBe aware of the speed with which visitors scan the exhibition:some are quick, some are slow.It all boils down to their biorhythm and their specific interests.
  6. 6. 4Be Sexy and DeepYou will need to seduce others with your presentation.But at the same time you are required to show Depthin what you have developed.
  7. 7. 5Too much is too wrong:Editing is a MUST.Choose carefully what you want to exhibit.Too meager information might imply a poordevelopment, too much information mightimply a kind of camouflage to hide a poor concept.
  8. 8. 6Be elegant: hide the wiring.After you have tested, re-tested, and then re-testedyour electronics, you need to hide the wiring to thepoint that nobody will get the feeling that everythingis still under development. Be elegant in the camouflage.
  9. 9. 7What might color do to you?Think about the setting in which you would like to presentyour project. Should it be a dark or light setting, and whatfunction could color have in highlighting your project?What would happen if your presentation would bedeep blue, fluorescent red, or virginal white?
  10. 10. 8Give something – be generous.Not only the coach or assessor should be given something,but also the expert who helped you, or somebody whoshows much interest in your project. Make a little something.A booklet, a flyer, a card – anything that is cheap and easyto make, but which at the same time is an elegant gesture.
  11. 11. 9A Motto, a (graphical) soundbiteThink about a concise, evocative, and catching title for your project.This title should be accompanied by a concise, evocative, andcatching motto that covers the design brief, the goals you have setfor yourself, and the ultimate value the project has at large.
  12. 12. 10Messiness presupposes a messy projectIf your presentation is messy and inconsistent,people will think the project is messy and inconsistent.I have seen too many bad presentations of projectsthat were essentially good. Don’t make that mistake.
  13. 13. 11Process versus End ResultIn this ID faculty the design process is considered to be asimportant as the end result. After all, in the design processthe learning experience reveals itself. So you need to createa good balance between the design process and the end result.
  14. 14. 12Explain yourselfEvery member of the team should be able to explainALL in and outs of the project, and, as a consequence,all ins and outs of the design process. It would be verywrong if only the techno buff is able to explain theTechno elements of process and deliverables.
  15. 15. 13Sturdyness equals thoroughnessMake your display environment as sturdy as possible.Don’t make it look like the set of a B- or C-moviewith flapping paper, poor detailing, and a thoughtlesscomposition of 2D and 3D visuals.
  16. 16. 14The Core ElementIf you have succeeded in building a working prototype,then this should be the core element in your exhibition.It would be great if this prototype would be sturdyenough to be touched, handled, and/or used by the visitors.Up to a point the prototype could become a standalone element.
  17. 17. 14Sketches and DiagramsWe like you to draw and draw and draw. Sketchingequals communicating – with yourself and with others.On the other hand a more formal visual language mightbe needed in order to clarify your project. Diagrams anda more ‘iconic’ visual language might do the job as well.
  18. 18. 15StorytellingThe design process can be perceived as a story in itself.Tell that story as well as you can.But in the way the product, system, or service is used,another story can be told as well. In that light youneed to think of building a scenario that aptly explains the(future) life of the product, system, or service.