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What to watch 2014

February 4, 2014 | James Rook

Now we’ve waved farewell to 2013, all eyes are on future trends in the exhibition and events world. From augmented reality, gamification with gumption and stand design which reflect the current zeitgeist for angular v rounded lines, at Nimlok we’re already well ahead of the curve!

Here’s a round-up of how 2014 is shaping up and the best trend predictions we’ve spotted on our creative travels:

1. Telling it straight

Since the 2012 Olympic logo, car design, architecture, and consumer projects like Diesel headphones, Starbucks Thermo cup and Delongi’s new kettles are leading the charge with the fashion for exciting new angles. Everything is sharpening up as designers move on from the rounded edges of the iPhone era that’s dominated for the past 5 years and instead look to make the most of interesting and often irregular angled lines. Nimlok’s forward looking design and R&D team, spotted this emerging trend 3 years ago, and have pioneered exciting new solutions that they’ll be incorporating into cutting edge exhibition stand designs in 2014. This has already lead to an investment in a more sophisticated cutter to mitre aluminium structures with sharper angles, and has featured heavily in development of a new wall system and additional shaped range of architectural features (Counters, Pelmets & Archways) that Nimlok has added to its unique Custom Hire inventory for 2014.

2. Content gathering

In 2013, more than 70 percent of our stands offered some kind of digital engagement. We see this continuing apace in 2014 with a key emphasis on bringing together exhibitor content for visitors attending shows. Software such as http://www.eventifier.co/ and https://eventstagr.am/register/ offer some creative ways to construct a shared experience and turn a conversation or presentation into a crowd pleaser.
Digitally we are responding to this need by continually expanding our in-house AV inventory and through our partnership with our in-house agency Creative Bridge, who creates bespoke digital content which we integrate with the stand design and client’s engagement strategy. Branded/themed games, surveys, e-brochures, interactive product navigators and media suites are all enhancing the visitor experience and exhibitor ROI when approached holistically as part of a well rounded exhibition campaign. Tools which maximise that will be very much welcomed by clients.

3. Handcrafted

As the Daily Telegraph has it, a key design trend for 2014 will be ‘making’. With The Great British Bake Off and handcrafting already the talk of the town, a focus on how things are made – including a major exhibition In the Making, showcasing objects in their mid-manufacture stages, from an unfinished L2 coin to a fairly flat football boot – puts a greater emphasis on production values.

Structurally in the events’ world, the past few years have been about hiding it, but increasingly the structure is starting to feature as part of the overall look again, much in the way that architects will purposely not clad, plaster or polish every structural or working part of a building. Capturing the authenticity and provenance of products and reflecting this back in the stand design as well as content is something we expect to see more of.

4. A sense check

Marketing Week also offers a valuable trend insight for our sector, with one of its 2014 highlights being sensory branding. On stand it makes complete “sense ” to capture sight, smell, taste, touch and sound, and now technology is making multi-sensory brand experiences a reality.

For food and beauty brands the link is obvious but according to the research commissioned by brand consultant and author Martin Lindstrom, when brands appeal to more than three senses, and therefore different parts of the brain, sensory print can increase brand impact and engagement by more than 70 percent.

And with a processor reportedly created which ‘takes smell and taste and digitizes them’, or in layman’s terms means that your iPhone can smell and taste, multi-sensory experiences might become all that more important.

5. Going mobile

Access to the internet in the UK using a mobile phone more than doubled between 2010 and 2013, from 24 percent to 53 percent, and it’s now estimated that 28 percent of all internet traffic comes from mobiles. It’s predicted that over 50% of all web browsing will be carried out on a mobile device in 2014, and so the importance of mobile marketing strategies will come to the fore.

On stand, it will be crucial that video and digital content matches the user’s preferred device and there’s likely to be an increasing use of exhibition and event apps and online check-ins on a par with our cousins across the pond. Also expect mobile networking to become a feature of the events world, with wearable technology also creeping in around the edges.

So, let’s raise a Google glass to the potential of 2014. And in the meantime, keep an eye out for all the latest event architecture and exhibition stand design ideas on our blog!

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