In my opinion, creativity is over-rated. What is creativity anyway? Dressing up as a pizza slice and lying on the sidewalk as environmental art is “creative”, but does that act have any commercial value? If it’s a Domino’s slice, sure!
“Creativity” is bantered about a lot in the trade show industry, such as ‘green’, ‘eco-friendly’ and modular, but in its final iteration, does the booth speak to the customer, visitor or client? Does it attain the basic goal of advancing the brand awareness or marketing focus of the end user? Creative, but practical use of alternative materials, space allocation, and visuals are all keystones of a “creative” exhibit approach. They add to the equation, but should be implemented in the context of budget, function and clear, concise communication.
We all want to produce exhibits that have a “wow” factor, but does that really matter? A good design is a good design, after the initial visual impression- are there any meat and potatoes? In a depressed economy clients want cost-effective strong presentations that give them a quantitative return on their limited investments. So, think outside of the box, but realize what the parameters of the box really are.
Saying we need to be more creative is fine, but there are no new ideas that are really repackaged approaches. Today, recycled designs and plagiarism are really the norm, but that is not entirely bad. Struggling to produce an exhibit within a budget that functions well and gives the customer good value will result in more repeat business than trying to wring a “look” out of something that doesn’t make fiscal sense.
So let’s be creative, we all try to be, but do it in the context of “practical creativity”. To me a $20,000 exhibit that looks like a $75,000 exhibit and satisfies the clients’ marketing goals is about as creative an exercise as I can think of.