My life in exhibition design started in 1978, many years before the internet and the whole computer explosion. I recall being told (by my new manager), that the year before I started in the company, a client had commissioned a £100,000 stand. This was 1977, Jubilee year, and therefore £644,000 in today’s money! But it was most definitely the end of an era!

Over the subsequent decades, I have noticed trends in the exhibition design sector, which have been seen in all industries. These trends are mostly linked to finances, but also have also been created by new approaches to marketing.

I recall an early advocate of the internet, saying that “the interactive CAD designed exhibition stand’ is only just round the corner, it will be the death of the exhibition industry”. Well, computers and CAD have most certainly had an effect on exhibitions through design and production methods – in a very positive way for our industry. Exhibitions are a shop window, and as such, they need to be continuously reinvented in order to attract new visitors. Organisers took some time to realise that you can’t just keep putting out the same show year after year. Particularly now that change can be seen through the internet both instantly and universally.

However, the fact of the matter is that we, the public, will always want;

  • To see the purchases we wish to make
  • Taste the food we wish to purchase
  • Listen to the music we love to hear
  • To feel the ambience of the products we want to have in our lives

The internet cannot, and will never, replace our senses. So to the point: when companies need to reach their clients and potential new customers promptly and effectively, exhibitions are still an effective and efficient means of communication.

As such, HDL (and our contemporaries) are still here designing and building exhibition stands.

No doubt you already understand that the most direct way to promote your products or services is through exhibiting.

You know that a face to face meeting, if only fleeting, is infinitely more rewarding than almost any other form of contact.

Within the exhibition sector, both trade and public, there is a feeling that exhibitions are growing, that they’re busier, that the exhibitors are taking the process much more seriously. As a consequence of this, we are finding that our clients are exploring new exhibitions, booking bigger stands, and putting more weight into training for their time spent on the stand.

There is plenty of evidence to back up this ‘feeling;’

British Marine Boat Show has reported –‘110,000 visitors to the Southampton Boat show’

Exhibition News -‘Grow Expo ‘has delivered its best ever results with record numbers of visitors’

Event Magazine – Media 10 has reported a 28% year-on-year rise in visitor numbers for its eighth Grand Designs Live Birmingham show last year.

I believe we at Holdsworth Designs are not alone in getting a great feeling of satisfaction from the positive feedback we receive from our clients.

We look forward to the challenges our clients give us, in their quest to exhibit!

Martyn Holdsworth


Holdsworth designs Limited

(This post was written for LinkedIn Publisher)