If you have chosen to do your own artwork for your banner stand design, here are a few tips on achieving a great result. Over time we have developed a system that when starting a new design project helps to achieve the best result and usually 1st time. The most important rule we adopt in our own studio is “don’t jump straight onto the computer and into a graphics program and try to create a fantastic design”. It simply won’t happen!

If you do this it will prove to create a lot of fiddling, wasting valuable time and end up getting you nowhere. You can save yourself a lot of time and energy by researching the topic, finalising your content and starting with simple sketches. The computer is a graphics aid to produce the design once decided, not a design machine. This is often the biggest concept to get over to an inexperienced designer of any caliber.

Before you can start a job you need to know what your client, whether that is internal or external, needs. Asking questions and gathering information has to be the first step of any successful graphic design process. A simple list of questions will give you the required information. This can be supplemented by asking your own questions which may arise out of these basic ones. Be sure to gather as much information as possible even if it seems irrelevant. Also use this session to gather any corporate restrictions, logos, pictures, etc that you may need.

A non definitive list but a good starting point is:
•    Who is the audience you are addressing?
•    What are the age ranges?
•    What is the sales, attention grabbing message?
•    How many pages, stands is the piece?
•    What are the dimensions?
•    Is it being used once or many times?
•    Is there a deadline for completion?
•    Are there any colours, designs to be avoided?
•    Is there an existing corporate brand that needs to be matched?
•    Vital information to go in the copy if any?
Make detailed notes, which you can use later for the next step of the design process.

Now the process starts. Using the information collected in your conversations you’ll now be in a better position to develop an outline design and probably hit the nail on the head 1st time. I know we do!  Develop a few sketches and then decide which suits the best, if not sure run by a few colleagues and ask their opinion. If you have brain freeze and it happens to all designers then the old adage of two brains are better than one comes into play. Have brain storming session. Include some non designers too you will be amazed at the creative ability of even the grey suited accountants. Once a decision on the layout has been made now is the time to boot up the computer and create your artwork – the design has been done!

Tom Bristow
Tom Bristow is the Managing Director of The Plus Group and has worked in the exhibition industry for over a decade. He is passionate about the service his company provides and he eats, breathes and sleeps everything exhibitions.

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The best service! The quality of the banners and displays they have printed have been amazing – and even better is their level of service. They go above and beyond to make their customers happy – and make sure they get their orders on time. I can’t say enough about them – this is why we keep coming back!

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