Exhibition design is a peculiar task to reach a wide variety of audience. This is used for different purposes in different parts of the world. This is a process which involves collaboration of different fields of engineering and crafts.
Exhibit design or exhibition stall fabrication is the process of developing an exhibit from a concept through to a physical, three dimensional exhibition. It is an ever developing field, drawing on innovative, creative, and practical solutions to the challenge of developing communicative environments that ‘tell a story’ in a three dimensional space or a stall.
Exhibition stall designers use a wide range of technologies and techniques to develop experiences that will be reachable to diverse audience , enable these targeted audiences to access the messages, stories and objects of an exhibit. There are many different types of exhibit, ranging from museum exhibitions, to retail and trades show spaces, to themed attractions, zoos, and visitor centres. All types of exhibits focus to communicate a message through engaging their audiences in meaningful and compelling interactions.
Exhibit design is a collaborative process, integrating the disciplines of architecture, landscape architecture, graphic design, audiovisual engineering, digital media, lighting, interior design, and content development to develop an audience experience that interprets information, involves and engages a user and influences their understanding of a subject. Throughout the process of planning and design exhibit designers work closely with graphic designers, content specialists, architects, fabricators, technical specialists, audiovisual experts, and, especially in the case of museums and other subject oriented or mission based institutions, stakeholders like community members, government agencies, and other partner organizations.
The exhibit design process builds on a conceptual or interpretive plan for an exhibit, focussing and implementing the most effective, engaging and appropriate methods of communicating a message or telling a story. The process will often reflect the architectural process or schedule, moving from conceptual plan, through schematic design, design development, contract document, fabrication, and installation. The first phases establish a conceptual direction and develop creative and appropriate design solutions to achieve the interpretive and communication goals of the exhibit. The latter phases involve in technical expertise in translating the visual language of the designs into detailed documents that provide all the specifications required to frame and install an exhibit.
Exhibition design or exhibition stall fabrication in different parts of the world is influenced by the local culture as well as the availability of materials. Exhibition design in Europe is understood as a meeting place for relationship building while in North America the design is focussed on creating a sense of place and building community.
One of the major advancements or changes in museum and exhibit design in the last decade has been a focus on visitor experience. By identifying the five types of museum visitors and their needs and expectations, museums can design their exhibits to give a positive visitor feedback. Participatory activities are also becoming more popular, Nina Simon has done research describing and identifying themes and trends in museums that will attract visitors and educate them in fun and engaging ways.