What makes exhibit design a collaborative affair?

There are no soloists in exhibit design.

Even the simplest exhibit design projects require input from content specialists, media producers and fabricators.

As the size of a project increases, so does the number of people involved. Designers can easily end up working with dozens of people as board members, user groups, technical staff, architects and other specialty designers are added to the mix.

Is really necessary to collaborate with everyone?

Absolutely! We have a lot of requirements to juggle: accessibility, usability, through put, life safety, security, conservation, technology, building infrastructure, programing, operations, and maintenance. Even the most accomplished designers would be challenged to address all of those needs without consulting with everyone on the team.

But isn’t that much collaboration time consuming?

You bet! At its worst, collaboration can be messy and confusing. Hours can be chewed up in meetings, clarifying feedback and reworking details.

A good exhibition designer takes the input on the chin (we’re used to it) and integrates it into their creative vision to create a well-planned design. And this doesn’t just happen once in a blue moon. Designers should have frequent, scheduled check-ins with key team members in order to coordinate details, identify knowledge gaps, express concerns, and discuss solutions.

At the end of the day, having collaboration at the heart of the design process pays off beyond simply “getting the job done”. Team members learn from peers and refine their knowledge of other disciplines. Besides that, it can stimulate creativity, leading to innovative solutions for common work products.

And while collaboration may cost a bit more during the development process, it’s a whole lot more cost effective to change a drawing than change something that’s already built.