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Career Path: Exhibition Designer

Last updated August 21st, 2018

Remember those exhibitions you went to as a child, or perhaps early on in your career? The chances are that your earlier experiences have left you with one of two stereotypical definitions of exhibitions: either as being dull, dusty and definitely boring; or cold, corporate and lacking in creativity.
But if you haven’t experienced exhibitions much lately, the truth about 21st Century exhibitions couldn’t be more different! Exhibitions are now an exciting strand of event management where visitor satisfaction, involvement and engagement are what it’s all about. And the professional behind each one? A specialist type of event manager – the Exhibition Designer.

The role

This event management role really is all about design and delivery: working with corporations, organisations, industry bodies and authorities or individuals who wish to exhibit an aspect of what they do … could be their company, their progress and development, their products or services, or something else entirely.
But although what these different companies or individuals want to exhibit can vary, what they want to achieve won’t: they will all want the expertise of an exhibition designer who can bring their ideas to life with information and displays, and turn their visitors into engaged customers, colleagues or professional contacts.

Make no mistake, the role of Exhibition Designer isn’t about just designing, it’s also about delivering results.

Coming into the role, new exhibition designers can achieve around £18,000 as an expected annual salary, but this has the potential to rise dramatically for successful exhibition designers who prove creative, imaginative and successful in delivering client outcomes. Salaries of around £40,000 per year are possible for top exhibition designers and even more for those who achieve Head of Exhibition Design / Production roles.

The responsibilities

As with all event roles, responsibilities vary according to employer or project, and this is particularly true for exhibition designer roles:

But whatever form your role takes, there’s a full set of responsibilities that every day, week, month and project are likely to demand from the exhibition designer:

Sounds busy? Well yes but on top of this, in-house exhibition designers – for example employed by galleries or exhibition venues – may find they have additional responsibilities such as:

The right person?

The right person for exhibition design is hard to find: because what’s needed is a diverse person with skills and talents which straddle both creative and commercial skill sets – and have the drive to deliver! You may be the right person if you offer (or can develop) a high degree of competence in:

The route into a role

There are several ways into exhibition management, largely depending on the level at which you’re looking to start.

In all cases, when it comes to stepping onto this career ladder, competition is high so it’s advisable to gain some event-specific training, experience or further qualification, to really help your CV to stand out. You need to be able to demonstrate:

Of course, it helps to find out more from experts, so if you want to get a foot in the door of exhibition design without making an exhibition of yourself, contact us to see which of our courses could offer the experience and qualification you need.

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