Graduates and young businesses preparing to exhibit at New Designers have a lot to consider in the build up to the design event, with pressure building to get work made, finished to a high standard and ready to present to the design professionals, retailers, recruiters and students who will be in attendance.
If you’re one of the exhibitors at this year’s show, take a look at our guide to ensure you’re properly prepared and equipped to present your best work.
Create a checklist
The humble checklist can be instrumental in improving the effectiveness of individuals performing complex tasks, argues high-performing doctor Atul Gawande in The Checklist Manifesto. While Gawande summises that checklists can effectively save lives, their application in your design show should be much less dramatic – while still helping you feel prepared and confident on the day. Your list can cover tasks to complete before and during the show, and could include some of the follow:
- Complete work to a standard you’re happy with, polish/clean/protect as necessary and organise safe, secure transport for your project to the event
- Finalise your key messages and pitch that you’ll present to retailers and talent spotters
- Prepare a ‘show kit’ complete with anything you may need during New Designers, such as supplies for emergency product repairs and business cards
- Do final checks on all your work, including any necessary spell checks
- Plan your own transport to and from the show so you’re not stressed when it opens
- Contact friends and family to invite them to attend
Know your audience
New Designers attracts a variety of different audience members, from fellow designers and students through to talent spotters and retailers who will be keeping their eyes out for the next generation of design talent. Be prepared to discuss your project with different demographics of people in short spaces of time. Practice answering the following questions to help prepare for the show:
- Tell me about your product
- What inspired you to make this?
- What materials and processes have you used?
- What does your product ‘do’ or ‘say’?
- Can you explain your design in 10 words or less?
Ask for a second opinion
Ask a trusted friend, family member or someone on your course to sense check your work before you take it to New Designers. When you’re so close to a project it can be easy to lose perspective on your work, so someone who is slightly outside of it can help to steer you back in the right direction. Explain the brief, your process and project to someone with a fresh pair of eyes to ensure they understand it, and ask for feedback on anything you can improve ahead of the start of the show.
Simplify your message
In the words of Leonardo da Vinci, ‘simplicity is the ultimate sophistication’. Yet when you’ve had your head in your work for semesters at a time, it can be easy to get too involved in your messaging and overcomplicate things. Before you present your work at New Designers, take a step back to evaluate what you’re ultimately trying to say and how you’re going to say it. Don’t be afraid to remove elements of your exhibit that you think aren’t working, as ultimately you only want to showcase the work you are most proud of.
With more than 3,000 new design talents exhibiting at New Designers, there will be a lot of creativity and talent under one roof. Prepare to compete for attention by keeping your message clear and simple. If you can explain your idea and work in a sentence or two, that will help you to connect with audiences and get your message across effectively.
If you aren’t joining us to exhibit this year remember that tickets are still available to purchase online. Save up to 30% when you book in advance