Sign & Digital Graphics

September '14

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90 • September 2014 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S Flexibility "Institutions with changing needs require exhibits that can change. Our design approach is to build in as much flexibility as possible and to give the cli- ent the tools to evolve and develop many different exhibit presentations and dem- onstrations over time. The community also needs to feel empowered to make new exhibits. This requires easy and cost effective methods for fulfillment, as well as the psychological encouragement." Simplicity "We stress an approach that keeps the presentation simple. At the same time, we do not give up content for the sake of simplicity. Layering of information can provide a content rich exhibit that still appears simple and easy to understand. We believe effective communication comes from knowing what you want to say through good research and discus- sions, then saying it clearly and directly." Economy "Economy is another important con- sideration for us when designing exhibi- tions. We design exhibit presentations that are as dramatic and informative as possible but at the same time make good use of the time and materials involved. Today's ecological concerns, diminish- ing resources, plus common sense, all suggest we try to discover more effec- tive, less expensive, less wasteful ways of doing things. Authentic, Honest Design "Making sure exhibits are fun and entertaining as well as informative is, of course, one of the keys to creating a successful exhibit. We attempt to maxi- mize impact without compromising content information. We have planned and designed many hands-on interactive exhibits for many of our exhibits. We have incorporated high-tech but non- invasive A/V techniques into a number of our exhibits, with audio/visual presen- tations in a variety of theatre and mini- theatre settings. But of course with AV you always have to be careful about being too "preachy". Learning is about discov- ery, not listening to lectures. "Instead of rows of exhibits, we like to create three-dimensional spaces that visitors can explore. Don't show it all at once, draw people in, invite them to explore, make choices about where to go and what to see. Successful exhibits allow the visitor to explore to their own level of interest, whether it be quickly scan- ning a title or spending an hour to learn every detail." Management Organization and Project Delivery DJA has developed effective manage- ment techniques for successful project delivery. Jensen says that success means not only creating an effective and infor- mative presentation but also ensuring that all schedules and budgets are well maintained. Using critical path method- ology, the project schedule and costs are monitored monthly to bring the project in on time and on budget. It is worth noting that on all projects over the last 37 years DJA has never gone over budget or missed a deadline. Facilitation vs. Design I learned a lot from my interview with David Jensen. He and his team pride themselves on being good listen- ers as well as effective designers. They have extensive experience in bringing together diverse community groups to define goals, direction, content and exhibit approach. He says that the facili- tation and the consultation process that precedes the design process are more important to the final outcome than the best design in the world. An exhibit is not successful for its beauty alone, it is mainly successful if it achieves the desired goals of the stakeholders and is relevant to the visitors. At DJA they believe that beauti- ful design can only follow facilitation, not lead it. In Jensen's words, "We are more facilitators than designers." SDG Quick Tips for a Great Exhibit Here are some quick tips on creating a great exhibit offered by David Jensen, founder of the exhibit design firm D. Jensen & Associates Ltd. • Choose a team with an inherent interest in the material to be pre- sented. • Establish the goals early in the pro- cess. • Budget enough money for thorough research. • Don't draw conclusions too quickly; always be prepared to challenge your concepts and change them if necessary. • Make sure that early decisions are sound building blocks for future decisions. • Successful projects require people who are good listeners as well as doers. • Be honest with the viewer and respect their intelligence, curiosity and desire to know more. • Encourage people interaction; peo- ple are the best communicators. • Always be aware of expectations— the client's, the viewers' and yours. EXHIBIT & DISPLAY

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