Exhibitions come in all shapes and sizes, from business management exhibitions to jaw-dropping museum displays about dinosaurs. As diverse as exhibits can be, however, they all share one common trait; they’ve all been meticulously planned and designed. Yes, even the boring ones.

Designing an exhibit is a complex process encompassing many tasks and professionals. Usually, the process of designing an exhibit will draw upon graphic design, content creation, architecture and even interior design. We won’t be focusing on any of those in this post however.

Instead, we’re going to focus on our own area of expertise; audiovisual. The average exhibit draws upon stage lighting and sound to make it more immersive, entertaining and pretty to look at. An exhibit, however, provides different challenges to lighting a stage play, for example.

The first challenge in designing the audio and visuals for an exhibit is considering what tools you have to hand. If you’re planning to hold an exhibit in a conference hall or a museum, you’ll probably already benefit from installed lighting and a stage sound system, so this won’t be a problem.

If not, however, then you might need to consider hiring portable lighting if you happen to be planning a temporary exhibit. For permanent exhibits, it would make sense to have permanent stage lighting and a sound system installed.

If you’re holding the exhibition in your own space, then you’ll likely already have the kinds of lighting and sound you’ll need. For exhibits to be held elsewhere though, you’ll need to compare the specifications of a space before committing to it. This means planning a rough idea of your lighting design before you commit to a space; there’s nothing worse than having a great idea only to be hampered by the limitations of a space.

With that out of the way, you can start on the fun part; designing the lighting and sound. The design of your lighting and sound will depend entirely on the kind of exhibition you’re planning. For example, a exhibition on Mahayana Buddhism would call for soft, calm lighting and soothing sounds, rather than harsh strobes and Slayer blaring from the speakers. For an exhibition on the finer points of thrash metal, though, the latter would be preferable.

Lighting in an exhibit is usually used to convey particular emotions and make the audience feel a particular way. Think about how you want your audience to react to your exhibit when planning your lighting – for example, our business conference friends will need to be alert and inspired, so bright, sharp and efficient (rather than flashy and fancy) lighting will be the order of the day.

This extends to the colour of your lighting. Most people already know what emotions different colours convey (blue is calming, red signifies anger, danger, lust, etc.) so choosing a colour is as simple as determining what you want your audience to feel.

Designing the sound of your exhibit calls for much the same process as designing your lighting, although you’ll also need to consider volume (loud creates excitement and discomfort, quiet creates calm) and the kind of sound you’ll be using, be it music or diegetic sounds. Depending on the size of your exhibition, you’ll also need to consider the number of speakers you use and the position of these speakers.

For more information on designing an exhibit, and more on the lighting and sound systems you’ll need, get in touch with PG Stage on 0161 830 0303.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.