This year NgageContent was pleased to collaborate with Ohio University Adjunct Instructor Heidi Salo of Salo Design, and the Interior Architecture students of ART 2620 to bring their vision for a 2022 Inbound Trade Show counter and booth to life with a custom design. Students were offered the opportunity to demonstrate their proficiency in a range of new design skills — and challenged to fully translate the NgageContent brand itself into the physical realm. Beyond the design aspect, students were also tasked with effectively balancing the expectations of the NgageContent team and successfully presenting their design.
Setting the Stage
The challenge set ahead of the students was no simple or easy feat. For the trade show design, the NgageContent team tasked the students with cultivating a welcoming, high-tech, and engaging environment that reflects NgageContent’s brand and mission: “To provide our clients with simple, helpful solutions that grow their businesses through inbound marketing.”
Loren Shumaker, the NgageContent team’s Art Director, collaborated with Heidi Salo to outline a few key brand guidelines and industry best practices for the students to follow. The trade booth design was to include a greeting and reception area, lounge, demo stations, a private conference room, and a small storage room for personal belongings.
Unraveling The Trade Show Design Process
Using NgageContent as a case study, students were empowered to completely transform a 30’ X 30’ exhibit space by translating the brand through architecture. After having in-depth conversations with Mike Cottrill, NgageContent Partner/Strategist, and learning more about space planning and industry trends through class lectures, students then used sketches, bubble diagrams, and 3D models to bring the Ngage brand to life.
The built-in client conversations this interior design course outlined offered students a unique opportunity at Ohio University unlike any other. Unlike traditional design courses, students learned essential client relationship management skills, including how to effectively pull information to meet client expectations. Beyond developing a range of design skills, students gained life-long communication and presentation experience.
Here is what Ohio University Instructor, and OU Alumna, Heidi Salo had to say about the trade show design project and unique class design:
“Being back at my alma mater made this project and experience even more special. It was an honor being asked to come back to the place where I had once spent so many nights designing. Now I am able to open the door for other interior design students and help them enter a completely new and growing industry. It was a privilege helping my students interpret and translate designs for a corporate brand, build presentation skills, navigate client relationships, and offer them a real working knowledge of the field.”
Final Trade Show Presentations
Needless to say, the Ohio University students successfully delivered on it. The NgageContent team was delighted to sit in on two class presentations showcasing innovative branded trade show counter and booth designs. Students, on the other hand, had the unique opportunity to receive critiques from a client’s perspective.
Every design hit the nail on the head by translating the brand into design using clean lines and a modern aesthetic. Exhibit spaces cultivated by Ohio University students Athena Dom, Anna Aman, Lauren Hailey, Madison Fantelli, and Lea Strauss went the extra mile to fully translate the brand experience. These designs incorporated LED lighting for a high-tech look, alongside well-lit exhibition spaces, color-coded zones, backlit screens, and rear-illuminated graphics. A well-lit hanging sign was initially requested — and can be seen across every exhibit to capture attendee attention from the show hall.
Ohio University Trade Show Designs Go Above and Beyond
The NgageContent team was beyond excited to find that the Ohio University students went above and beyond on their booths — some going so far as to consider the trade show experience itself. The team was delighted and inspired by the NgageContent LED lanyards that were passed out, alongside the aromatic coffee beans and other hospitality-inspired snacks.
Mike Cottrill, NgageContent Partner/Strategist, had much to add on the level of creativity and ingenuity demonstrated:
“The students really blew me away with their designs and creativity. One thing that really amazed me is that we knew the designs would be fun, but they came up with incredible ideas for the booth itself. Things like in-booth video games, interactive screens, live plants, a bar, and on and on. It was an amazing group.” — Mike Cottrill
A Brand Brought to Life With One of a Kind Trade Show Designs
Here we invite you to review a few of the most eye-catching designs that truly brought the NgageContent brand to life.
Looking Forward to Another Fruitful Year
When it finally came to summarizing his experience collaborating with Ohio University design students over the trade booth design, Mike Cottrill had a few parting words:
“We were so thankful to Ohio U. and the students for involving us in this class. It was a great way to be creatively involved in a great educational experience.”
Heidi Salo will continue to teach students how to interpret and design for a brand and expose them to the growing trade show industry with another Interior Design course and case study this 2023 spring semester. To learn more about her extensive experience in the industry, visit her at Salo Design, get inspired by her own trade show designs, or discover the next project her OU students undertake.