Zero Halliburton – Fly through of Flagship Store Conceptual Design

Zero Halliburton is developing a flagship retail location in New York City. The Displayers were asked to develop conceptual designs and renderings of the environment. Using current marketing materials to identify merchandise and advertising, renderings of the stores interior and exterior from the streets view were created. Below is a fly-through video of the stores exterior and proposed renderings of the environments interior.

Zero Halliburton

DESIGN ACTIVE JOBS 2012Displayers-12zerohalliburtonZEROHALL nyc s

Architectural Digest Home Design Show – 2013

The Displayers has participated in the development of the Architectural Digest Home Design Show since its inception 12 years ago, working with Architectural Digest and MMPI (Merchandise Mart Properties) to develop elements of the show including the entrance, signage, the AD 100 Area, lounge and other sponsorship areas including Lincoln’s installation.


Architectural Digest and MMPI have recommended The Displayers to exhibitors including: 

Artistic Tile | Cortina Leather | Dennis Miller Associates | Ethan Allen | Exquisite Surfaces | Holly Hunt | KitchenAid | Lefroy Brooks | MauraStarr | Moore & Giles | Scalamandre | OrientNJ | Stamberg Aferiat Architecture | Stark Carpet


The Displayers management and exhibit installation services to many of the shows exhibitors in addition to exhibit design, construction, graphics, shipping, storage and maintenance.


We hope the below information is helpful, and if assistance is needed, we are happy to help or provide guidance.  We invite your questions.



We are excited to welcome you to the 12th annual Architectural Digest Home Design Show. Here you’ll explore the latest ideas and products for the home — from furniture and lighting to kitchens and baths. Whether starting from scratch or searching for that single object to finish a room, the Show promises to introduce you to something you simply have to bring home.


Show Hours and Admission

March 21-24, 2013

  • Thursday: 11AM – 7PM  – (Open to Trade and Preview Guests)
  • Friday & Saturday: 11AM – 7PM – (Open to the Public)
  • Sunday: 10AM – 6PM  – (Open to the Public)

We are thrilled to announce that DINING BY DESIGN New York 2013, the premier fundraising event for DIFFA: Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS, will be located adjacent to the Architectural Digest Home Design Show at Pier 94. Be sure to experience this spectacle of table environments created in a variety of magnificent styles.  This portion of the show will be closed to the public on Thursday at 3:00 p.m. and on Saturday at 4:00 p.m.


A world of design inspiration awaits at the 12th annual Architectural Digest Home Design Show. Explore the latest products for the home. Shop from new and established brands. Get inspired by new ideas and insight from top talents in the industry.

  • Exhibits from 420+ exhibitors with over 500 premium brands
  • Keynote Presentation by Margaret Russell, Architectural Digest Editor in Chief
  • Design seminars presented by The New York Times
  • Culinary demonstrations and tastings
  • 40+ amazing table installations at DIFFA’s DINING BY DESIGN NY


About the AD Show:

When and where will the 2013 Show take place?
The 2013 Show will take place March 21-24th, 2013 at Pier 94 in New York City (55th and West Side Highway).

How many people can we expect to attend the Show in 2013?
The Show has been growing in both attendance and exhibitor base for the past several years. In 2012, over 43,800 attendees visited the Show.

Who attends the AD Show?
The AD Show draws a mix of the design trade (architects, interior designers and decorators, showroom principals, buyers) and the high end consumer/homeowner. Although the Show draws an international audience, most of the attendees are from the United States, specifically the Northeast region and the east coast.

Is the Show open to both the design trade and the public?
Yes. The AD Show is open to the design trade (architects, interior designers and decorators, showroom principals, buyers) and the high end consumer/homeowner. Thursday is open only to the design trade (and VIP consumer guests) while Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are open to the trade and the public.


Move in / Move out:


What are the days and times for set-up & moving out?

Set-up will take place:

• Tuesday, March 19, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

• Wednesday, March 20, 8 a.m.-5 p.m..


All Exhibitors must be moved out by Monday, March 25th. Additional details will be included in the Exhibitor Manual



About Us

Management Team

MMPI is one of the largest trade show producers in the country. Our competent staff is fully capable of all aspects of trade show management.


Mark Falanga
Susan McCullough
Senior Vice President

General Information

Merchandise Mart Properties, Inc.
7 West 34th Street
Suite 1027
New York, NY 10001


Driving Directions

How to get to Pier 94:
55th Street and the West Side Highway
New York, NY 10019

From the North (Westchester, Connecticut, Massachusetts):
95 South (via the Cross-Bronx Expressway) to the George Washington Bridge. At approach to bridge, bear right to lower level. Exit at the last exit in New York-Parkway South-9A. Follow Parkway South (Henry Hudson Parkway/West Side Highway) to 54th Street. Turn right. Go one block to entrance and turn right.

Saw Mill River Parkway/Henry Hudson Parkway/Route 9A:
Follow 9A South to 55th Street. Turn Left. Go one block to entrance and turn right.

New York State Thruway/Major Deegan Expressway/Route 87:
Major Deegan Expressway to George Washington Bridge exit. Stay in the right lane towards lower level. Exit at the last exit in New York Parkway South 9A. Follow Parkway South (Henry Hudson Parkway/West Side Highway) to 55th Street. Turn left. Go one block to entrance and turn right.

From the South (New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Etc.):
95 North to the New Jersey Turnpike, Exit at the Lincoln Tunnel. When exiting the tunnel, bear left. Follow signs for uptown or northbound to 55th Street. Turn left onto 55th Street until you reach 11th Avenue and turn left.

George Washington Bridge to Parkway South:
9A. At 55th Street, turn right. Go one block to Pier 94 New York entrance.

From Queens and Long Island:
Queens -Midtown Tunnel: Take Southbound or Downtown exit to 34th Street and turn right on 12th Avenue to 55th Street where you turn left.

Queensboro/59th Street Bridge:
Take 60/61st Street Exit. Go to 5th Avenue alongside Central Park to 59th Street. Turn right onto 59th Street to 12th Avenue and turn left. Go five blocks to the 55th Street and turn right.

From Staten Island:
Verrazano – Narrows Bridge eastbound to the Gowanus Expressway, to the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel. Exit westbound to the West Side Highway/12th Avenue. At 55th Street, turn left. Go one block to entrance.

By Public Transportation

Piers 92/94 can be reached by NYC Transit Authority via 8th Avenue subway, E or C trains to 50th street, then via M50 Bus line (please note that the M50 Bus does not run on the weekends). Also, bus lines M16 and M42 provide service to 42nd Street and 12 Avenue. For subway and bus information and schedules, call (718) 330-1234.

ESPN – Display Cases

The Displayers have designed and will be constructing Memorabilia Display cases to fit within ESPN’s beautiful and modern offices set within an Armory. The design will allow for a very transparent display to blend into the environment.  Custom metalwork will mount and support a combination of acrylic and glass panels that will partially covered in vinyl graphics.

Stay tuned for more and photos!

MOMA – Labrouste Exhibit

The Displayers will construct tables to match those Henri LaBrouste designed for the Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève in the 1840’s.


The Museum of Modern Art describes this show as:
Henri Labrouste: Structure Brought to Light,
the first solo exhibition of Labrouste’s work in the United States, establishes his work as a milestone in the modern evolution of architecture. The exhibition includes over 200 works, from original drawings—many of them watercolors of haunting beauty and precision—to vintage and modern photographs, films, architectural models, and fragments. Labrouste made an invaluable impact on 19th-century architecture through his exploration of new paradigms of space, materials, and luminosity in places of great public assembly. His two magisterial glass-and-iron reading rooms in Paris, the Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève (1838–50) and the Bibliothèque nationale (1859–75), gave form to the idea of the modern library as a temple of knowledge and as a space for contemplation. Labrouste also sought a redefinition of architecture by introducing new materials and new building technologies. His spaces are at once overwhelming in the daring modernity of their exposed metal frameworks, lightweight walls, and brightness, and immersive in their timelessness.

Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum

Arts | Connecticut

Mournful, Angry Views of Ireland’s Famine

A Review of Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum, in Hamden

Mark Stanczak/Quinnipiac University

PROCESSION A print of a grieving family is projected on a video wall. By SYLVIANE GOLD / Published: January 4, 2013

Most museums that bear witness to a nightmare, like Yad Vashem in Jerusalem or the Peace Memorial Museum in Hiroshima, are hard to visit. Caught between our need to understand the history and our wish to turn away from the horror, we don’t quite know where or how to look.

But Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum, which opened in October in Hamden, is a different kind of place. For one thing, the event it commemorates, the Irish potato famine, happened too long ago for news cameras to capture piled-up corpses and harrowing testimony. It lacks shocking artifacts, like Hiroshima’s charred, stopped pocket watches. And its contemporary accounts, seen through the period gloss of antique typefaces and hand-drawn images, provide safe distance rather than harsh immediacy.

The museum, a project of Quinnipiac University, presents a selection of these prints and periodicals, as well as letters and other documents, responding in real time to Ireland’s starving populace and deserted villages. But in its inaugural exhibition, it lets later artists, both from Ireland and from the countries in which famine victims settled, do most of the talking. This has the surprising effect of simultaneously softening and sharpening the gruesome facts.

What the Irish now call An Gorta Mor (the Great Hunger) began in 1845, when a deadly fungus attacked the island’s staple food. In tandem with the government in England, which could have mitigated the disaster but found many excuses to limit its role, the potato blight brought Ireland a growing tragedy of slow starvation, rampant disease and escalating despair that did not abate until 1852, by which time a million or more had died and some two million had fled.

It took 150 years after the famine’s worst year, Black ’47, for England to acknowledge some blame for it, and nearly as long for Irish artists to begin grappling with its legacy. So the strongest work in the museum is modern, varying widely in material and ranging in tone from mournful to polemical.

Margaret Lyster Chamberlain’s moving bronze, “The Leave-Taking,” is distinctly in the first key, with its 17 bedraggled figures crowding a ship’s gangway that leads to a new life in America — if they survive the voyage. Another striking bronze, John Behan’s “Famine Cart,” is even more blunt: a skeletal horse drags both itself and a wagon loaded with emaciated cadavers to the burial ground. In “An Gorta Mor” Robert Ballagh uses stained glass for a before-and-after triptych, in which a bucolic farm scene and an eviction flank a half-thriving, half-rotting potato plant. If Mr. Ballagh refers to the Catholic Church in his choice of medium, Kieran Tuohy exploits the Irish landscape itself for his sculpture of a “Lonely Widow,” carved in bog oak.

The painters also defy categorization. Lilian Lucy Davidson’s haunting “Burying the Child” packs an intense emotional wallop, with the central figure leaning into his shovel almost as if he were still digging potatoes; but it is a straightforward image of loss. Nearby, Hughie O’Donoghue addresses the hard times in an abstract watercolor, “On Our Knees.” And in “Black ’47,” Micheal Farrell takes an allegorical approach, depicting a courtroom in which five Irish skeletons emerge from a coffin to accuse Britain, in the reviled person of Charles E. Trevelyan, who ran the government’s disastrously inadequate relief efforts.

“There is scarcely a woman of the peasant class in the west of Ireland whose culinary art exceeds the boiling of a potato,” Trevelyan sniffed in his 1848 book about Britain’s blame-the-victim policies, betraying the contempt with which he viewed the “ignorant and excitable” people he was ostensibly trying to help.

This contempt is visible also in the many famine images of apelike Irish peasants in British journals of the day. They are plastered floor to ceiling, along with illustrated newspaper pages from elsewhere, on a circular enclosure that surrounds the viewer and conveys not just specific horrors from the famine years but also the intense public interest in the Irish suffering abroad and the endless, useless wrangling of the political classes.

It calls to mind the debates that have been raging here and in Europe since 2008, circling around the same old issues of austerity, socialism and responsibility. Trevelyan thought his harsh remedies would lead to a smarter, happier, more efficient, more responsible future. In the galleries of Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum we come face to face with what really happened.

Inaugural Exhibition, Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum (Musaem An Ghorta Mhoir), 3011 Whitney Avenue, Hamden. For additional information: or (203) 582-6500.

New York Times Article

How To Commandeer a Tradeshow

Don’t have $35,000 for trade-show real estate? No problem! These guerrilla marketing tips will get you noticed anyway.

Here’s a typical scenario faced by many young companies: You want to raise awareness of your company at an upcoming industry trade show, but you don’t have much money to spend. You know that participating in the tradeshow is the most effective option, but you can afford neither the high cost of booth space nor the booth needed to fill it.  Nonetheless, it is critical for your young company to join the fray and get in front of potential customers, partners and investors. So, what can be done?

In this situation, guerilla marketing can be a great strategy. All it takes is creativity and the ability to pull a stunt or two. No problem, right? Let’s get going.

1.    Understand the geography

Before the show, visit the main venues and surrounding hotels.  Figure out where people will walk, pick up buses, catch cabs, have lunch and meet for drinks. You’re trying to find the best locations for maximum visibility.

During this initial reconnaissance, make friends.  Meet the bell captain in the hotels that are nearby but aren’t part of the official show, say hello to the head of housekeeping and talk with the bar staff at local watering holes.  These folks are integral players in the guerilla marketing game and can often make or break your campaign.

2.    Know which assets the show controls and which it doesn’t

Think about all potential “logo real estate” around the show and find out what real estate you can take over that the show is not already using. Look at hotel key cards for non-show hotels ($250 plus the cards). Ask your new friends crucial questions: would the housekeeping, bar or bell staff don a free t-shirt, hat or button with your logo?  Do any of the hotels have in-room programming and can you be included?  A fundraising mantra comes into play here: If you don’t ask, the answer is always no.

Important note: stay clear of the things that are the purview of the trade show itself. You don’t want to get yourself blacklisted from future shows. You just want to take advantage of the larger ecosystem around a show to get some visibility for your company. There is a lot of room for everyone around a big event.

3.     Play the numbers game, to increase your chances of success

Sadly, despite your research, some of the gambits you use to sneak your way into the minds of potential customers will be spotted and removed immediately.  But others will succeed, as the hotel staff will naturally assume someone else authorized you to replace the hotel’s normal coasters in the bar with your logoed ones.  All it really took was a tip to the bartender ($50) and customized coasters ($125).  Try putting large buttons on the hotel maids ($100 tip/$100 buttons) and t-shirts on the bell staff ($200 tips/$150 t-shirts). Find the popular bars and tape posters in the bathroom stalls ($150) or put logoed toiletry baskets in the bathrooms ($250) that will draw attention to your company.

Timing is everything. You want to execute your ploys in close proximity to one another and throughout the run of the show.  As part of the action phase, expect some backlash.  If someone gets mad, apologize and move on. Expect some losses.

4.    Hijack the spotlight

Most tradeshows host large evening events. Think about how you can maximize this off-site exposure opportunity. Give out hats to the local taxi cab drivers who will be transporting party goers and offer a $100 prize to any driver seen wearing one.

Another idea is to hire a college drama group to stage a mock protest or a Flash Mob near the taxi and bus lines to highlight your product (as little as $300). Avoid impeding traffic flow and stick to public streets and you likely won’t run into any problems.

Celebrity impersonators wearing your logoed item and a photographer can attract a lot of attention. Be sure to capture the contact information from those who pose with your stars, so you can send the picture to them and begin building a more meaningful relationship. This is a perfect thing in Vegas.

While your company is starting off, these tips and tricks can make the difference between being remembered and being just another face in the start-up crowd.  Later, when you’re successful and the company has progressed, you’ll have the option of spending $30,000 – $75,000 to do the trade show “properly.” You’ll likely look back on these shenanigans with a private smile.  I still do.

Inc. Magazine – December 12, 2012


5 Steps to Successful Signage



According to graphic-design guru Milton Glaser, “To design is to communicate clearly by whatever means you can control or master.” Simple enough. So why, then, are so many exhibit graphics unappealing, cluttered, and ineffective? Turns out, the key to successful graphics isn’t just pretty pictures. You also need a basic understanding of hierarchy, color theory, fonts, and density. After all, a picture may be worth a thousand words, but that means nothing unless those words communicate your key message. With that in mind, here are five steps that will lead to exhibit graphics that work.

1. Establish Messaging Hierarchy
Hierarchy is just a fancy way of saying “order of importance.” It can be found nearly everywhere, from your own numbered to-do list to the old
U. S. of Agriculture’s food pyramid. It’s an organizational tool that tells your brain how to prioritize informa-tion — a tool that when used correctly, can increase the effectiveness of your exhibit graphics. It directs your eye where to go, giving your brain mental cues on the amount of time to spend ingesting each bit of info. And when it comes to exhibit graphics, that direction is imperative as you have only a limited time to capture your audience’s attention.

“Hierarchy dictates what the primary, secondary, and tertiary messaging will be, and as part of the exhibit-design process, it determines where each of those elements are located within the space,” says Mark Pearlman, design director at Alameda, CA-based exhibit-design firm Group Delphi. It’s the reason you see large banners overhead featuring a company name instead of, say, its mission statement. Exhibit graphics are the physical embodiment of making small talk with an attendee — there’s a beginning, a middle, and an end to that conversation. First, you introduce yourself.

Then, you briefly discuss a new product or service, and finally, if the attendee is interested, you enter into a deeper conversation about that product. According to Pearlman, the formula for crafting the nonverbal version of that conversation through your exhibit graphics goes like this:

• Primary Level — Visible from 50 to 100 feet away, this level is the intro and contains company identification (such as a logo) and main messaging (such as a tagline). It attracts people to the space and hopefully hooks them within five to seven seconds as they walk by before something else catches their eye.
• Secondary Level — Visible from 10 to 50 feet away, this level enables people to determine what they want to explore in the space. It usually comprises large static graphics and/or dynamic video associated with a company’s products and services to keep people interested and in the exhibit.
• Tertiary Level — Visible from one foot to 10 feet away, this level is for qualified attendees who are genuinely interested in the company and its offerings. It should include graphics identifying demonstration areas, defining product displays, and promoting in-booth presentations.

2. Identify Effective Color Combinations
Once you have determined your messaging hierarchy, turn your attention to color. Your palette is likely dictated by corporate identity or an internal style guide. If that’s the case, your color options may be limited, but there are still guidelines for usage that you should follow, regardless of the hues you choose. “Contrast is key when it comes to color, especially if you’re placing text on a colored background,” says Brendan Dooley, senior graphic designer at the San Francisco office of exhibit house MC². Obviously, you want to pair light-colored text with a dark-colored background, and vice versa. But beyond that, there are certain color combinations that are more pleasing to the eye than others.

To identify optimal pairings, consult a color wheel divided into primary (red, yellow, blue) and secondary (green, orange, purple) color wedges. The color wedges opposite each other — called complementary colors — have the highest contrast, while the colors next to each other have the least contrast. For example, if your back wall is a shade of blue, and you want to overlay copy, choose a shade of orange to ensure your text is legible and your message pops.

If you don’t have an internal style guide, Dooley recommends using other marketing pieces as inspiration. “Stay consistent with the colors used in your marketing collateral, print ads, product packages, websites, business cards, brochures, and so on,” he says. “This will help clients and potential customers recognize you on and off the show floor and across multiple marketing platforms.”















3. Select a Functional Font
With thousands of fonts at your disposal, it’s easy to get lost in a sea of Comic Sans and Papyrus. Think of fonts as a tone of voice — they have the power to change your message, just as a person’s inflection can mean the difference between sincerity and sarcasm.

So how do you choose the right font for your exhibit graphics? Start by deciding if you want to use a serif or sans serif font. “Serif fonts are great when reading the newspaper or a book, but unless they are an integral part of your brand identity, stay away from them in your exhibit graphics,”

Dooley says. “They are harder to read in a trade show environment and may be lost altogether from a distance.” The legibility issue is mostly attributed to the fonts’ serifs, which are like tiny tails that punctuate the letters. Examples of popular serif fonts include Times New Roman, Adobe Garamond, and Goudy.

On the other hand, sans serif fonts, such as Helvetica, Arial, and Futura, are much more legible in larger graphics because of their streamlined appearance. Sans serifs are a great choice for wayfinding signage and any directional info, and are easier to decipher from a distance, making them the perfect choice for exhibit graphics. “Futura, Helvetica, and Univers are very clean, simple, and easy to read,” Pearlman says. “But they’re also an obvious choice for many companies. I like to find a font that differentiates the booth from the other exhibitors.”

In addition to serif and sans serif, there are also script and ornamental fonts, both of which are best suited for use as graphic elements versus informational text. Script fonts often feature exaggerated flourishes and sometimes resemble handwriting, making them hard to read on a small scale. Examples include Edwardian Script and Brush Script. Ornamental fonts are, as the name suggests, ornamental and should generally be avoided in exhibit graphics. “These fonts are often filled with a unique personality that can be very helpful when designing logos or a themed event,” says Eli B’sheart, vice president of creative and innovations at EWI Worldwide, a live communications company based in Livonia, MI. “But remember that legibility is key for any communication. If attendees can’t read your message, they are unlikely to comprehend it.”

4. Determine Appropriate Density
Think of how many times you’ve walked the aisles of a show and spotted a back wall laden with paragraphs of text detailing everything from product specs, testimonials, and company history to info about the exhibitor’s in-booth giveaways. Now consider how many times you stopped to read it all. Chances are, that number is around zero. “Exhibit graphics, like the space itself, need to support the brand experience and not overwhelm attendees with competing messages,” B’sheart says. “Thus, the most important rule of thumb is ‘less is more.’” That rule, as B’sheart explains it, comprises three tenets:

• Size — Break down text into bite-size chunks. A wall of text is useless (unless it’s being used as a design element), and does a disservice to the importance of the information that needs to be conveyed. If you can’t shorten the text, use bullet points to differentiate longer lines of copy.
• Position — Keep text at eye level, between 3 and 6 feet from the floor.
• Format — The clearest way to communicate large amounts of copy may be to develop print or digital pieces that attendees can explore in greater depth. The booth staffer can also help disseminate detailed information, negating the need for copious amounts of copy on your graphics.












5. Integrate Imagery

When it comes time to select photos, images, and supporting visual elements for exhibit graphics, balance is key. “Imagery, like messaging, should be used to support your overall brand and enhance the experience,” Dooley says. “When used together, images and text should complement each other and tell a much more engaging story.” But image selection should not be done independent of the hierarchy, color, and font decisions you’ve made.
A good example of text that supports imagery and vice versa is the iconic Absolut Vodka print campaign created by New York-based ad agency TBWA Worldwide. The campaign, which boasted more than 1,500 iterations, featured an Absolut bottle (or outline thereof) somewhere on the page, accompanied by a short phrase across the bottom of the image that always started with “Absolut” and ended with a noun that pertained to the graphic. The font chosen matched the libation’s logo, and the phrase — typically two words — paralleled the construction of the product name.

Granted, that example is the stuff of Don Draper’s dreams, but the traits that made the ads successful can be applied to exhibit graphics. The ad was easy to read and comprehend, and the brand identity was so strong that it became recognizable as an Absolut ad even in installments that didn’t feature the company’s logo.












In addition to choosing imagery that supports your message and brand identity, think about copy placement, a consideration that comes into play long before graphics are designed and produced. “Consider how your image will work with copy in it,” Dooley says. “If custom photography is out of your budget, many of the online stock-photo websites allow you to search for imagery with ‘copy space’ as a criterion. These images will have empty or clean areas to accommodate text and logos.”

However, if text has to be placed on top of the image, follow these three dos and don’ts: First, ensure text is legible and doesn’t compete with the image for attention. Second, don’t overlay text on top of a busy image. If the image lacks an open area, use transparencies or color, such as a tinted text box, to separate the text from the image. Finally, don’t use special effects or additional artwork that conflicts with the image, your brand, or your message.

Regardless of the imagery, font, and colors you select, your graphics still need to serve one primary function: communication. Think of exhibit graphics as your first impression, and make it a good one.


From Exhibitonline

By Lena Valenty – November 2012



Why are Brand Colors so Important?

When it comes to branding, the main backbone of a strong and easily recognizable identity is expressing the right colors through a ingenious graphic design. Without it, the majority of popular brands would not exist in the form as we know them today. So, what do colors say about your brand? Marketo recently conducted a research that they presented in a form of an infographic, showing why brand colors are important:


Infographic: Column Five / Marketo

BY Dorian CiobanAuthor

Dorian Cioban
With years of experience in the fields of photography and graphic design, Dorian is a very creative, skillful and hardworking individual. His motivation comes from a strong desire to do new things that will help express himself in an imaginative and fun way. He is currently a student of Graphic Design & Visual Communications at Faculty of Arts & Design in Timișoara, Romania.  Branding Magazine: Why are Brand Colors so Important? by Dorian Cioban: July 26, 2012


6 Tips to Managing Client Expectations

6 Tips to Managing Client Expectations
Inc. Magazine
Michael A. Olguin
May 7, 2012

These tips will help you build longstanding relationships that can withstand the good times as well as the bad.

So much work goes into winning new business, regardless of the vertical space in which you work; there is the initial prospecting, early conversations, strategic program development, budget consideration, and creation of a deliverables timeline. Unfortunately, all of that work can come to a screeching halt before the ink is dry on the contract when the same amount of time, energy and commitment isn’t placed on managing the client’s expectations after the business is won.

To ensure this is never overlooked, we developed the Super Six: keys to developing excellent client expectations and building longstanding relationships that can withstand good times as well as bumps in the road. After all, it’s easy to keep a client when things are going well; maintaining a client when times are tough is the true test of a relationship. We believe the Super Six will aid in this process:

1. Build a relationship that goes beyond client/vendor I have long maintained that business people like working with people they not only respect, but also personally like. Therefore, we believe that developing a personal relationship goes a long way in building a stronger business relationship. Get to know the client’s family situation, how they spend their free time, where their interests lie and, most importantly, what motivates them on a daily basis. When you understand what makes them tick as a person, you can translate that into your business relationship.

2. Regularly communicate and address problems directly A lack of communication is usually at the root of most problems associated with clients. Any good client relationship will be able to weather setbacks if you are proactive in communicating both good and bad news. When communication is direct and transparent, trust forms and helps to create a foundation for long-lasting relationships.

3. Agree on strategy, goals and timelines Until you and your client agree on strategy, goals and timelines, you are always at risk of them not understanding what success is and how it should be measured. We always suggest creating a scope-of-work document that outlines the program details, budgets and metrics. This will alleviate any confusion over expectations and hopefully eliminate a difficult conversation.

4. Be a  Agree on strategy, goals and timelines When you offer your client advice, direction, input and business counsel, you become a truly valuable partner. This style of open dialogue helps to establish the respect necessary to ensure better project management. Clients hire outsourced marketing services because they want an objective opinion. If you fail at giving that POV, you subject yourself to being a “yes man or woman,” which will ultimately be your undoing.

5. Be a good listener Listening is one of the most misunderstood and least used tools in managing client expectations. Many clients are unsure of what they are trying to accomplish or not very good at articulating it. As such, you must have excellent intuition and listening skills in order to identify key messages being communicated. One of the best ways to compensate for a client who communicates poorly is to repeat what you have heard and ask them to confirm the accuracy of key takeaways, which will ultimately impact expectations.

6. Budget is not a bad word Most relationships will go south very quickly if you are not open and honest about budgets. To start, you must be realistic about setting a clear understanding of the budget required to execute the desired program. Throughout the course of the program, you must have regular dialogue about budgets. If you don’t address the client until you have an issue (i.e., operating over budget), you will not only have an unhappy client, you may also find yourself eating the overages.

At the end of the day, your ability to manage client expectations is going to hinge on how well you choose to communicate. If you leave things up to chance, chances are you and your client will both be disappointed. However, if you take the time to listen, be proactive about communicating openly and address any issues head-on, you will keep client expectations in check and be in a good position to grow your relationship over time.

Obesity and Other Targets of Children’s Museums

PLAY WITH A PURPOSE   EatSleepPlay at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan is intended to promote children’s health.

CHILDREN’S museums do not usually have exhibitions that involve crawling through a giant digestive system.

A child exits a maze designed to explain the function of the intestines in the digestive process.

But such an installation — along with a play center where visitors learn the power of pedaling, bouncing and jumping and a place to meet superpowered vegetable heroes — is part of a larger effort by the Children’s Museum of Manhattan to help prevent childhood obesity.

While children’s museums are primarily known as activity centers to divert the younger set and to help form future museumgoers, they are increasingly focused on social outreach. “Part of our mission is to provide access,” said Andy Ackerman, executive director of the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. “Social issues, education, health and creativity — it’s all a continuum, and we can connect those domains and reinforce each of them.”

The Port Discovery Children’s Museum in Baltimore has adapted museum exhibits and programming for children with special needs. The Young at Art Museum in Davie, Fla., has an afterschool arts program for homeless students. The Providence Children’s Museum in Rhode Island helps children in foster care find permanent families. And the Children’s Museum of the Arts in Manhattan provides a place for foster-care children to reunite with their birth parents by making art together.

“As resources become more and more scarce, everybody’s looking to children’s museums to fill varying kinds of needs for children and families,” said Janet Rice Elman, executive director of the Association of Children’s Museums in Arlington, Va. “These are places where families can learn through play — from science to early literacy skills to parenting — in settings that are joyful.”

Many of these programs involve collaborations with other organizations that have specific expertise. The Children’s Museum of Manhattan on the Upper West Side, for example, developed its so-called EatSleepPlay effort with the National Institutes of Health and collaborates with the City University of New York on training at-home child-care providers in teaching literacy, math and science.

The Children’s Museum of the Arts in SoHo has joined with Henry Street Settlement’s Urban Family Center to bring free weaving, printmaking and sculpture to children living in transitional housing, culminating with a children’s art exhibition and a reception for families and friends. And the Boston Children’s Museum is joining with Head Start, Boston Public Schools and the City of Boston to prepare students for kindergarten.

“We want to be relevant to our communities,” said Jeri Robinson, the vice president for early childhood and family learning at the Boston museum.

Museums are also developing continuing relationships with outside experts. The Children’s Museum of Manhattan, for example, has worked closely with health advisers like Dr. Judith Owens, director of sleep medicine at the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington. Her research helped the museum develop the sleep section of the EatSleepPlay exhibition,  covering topics like preparing for sleep, what happens during sleep and how much sleep children need.

Rather than serving as just one more recreational option, children’s museums are recasting themselves as essential anchors in their communities — “the hub or the center,” Mr. Ackerman said.

“Educating through the arts,” he added. “That’s how you change behavior.”

The New-York Historical Society is seeking to educate with its new DiMenna Children’s History Museum, which opened last fall. Young visitors learn about prejudice by studying the life story of James McCune Smith, the first African-American to earn a medical degree. They learn about money and credit by visiting the Alexander Hamilton pavilion. “All of the exhibits we’ve developed are focused on teaching a skill or a behavior,” said Louise Mirrer, the president and chief executive.

The museums are also reaching beyond their walls to take their programming more aggressively into underprivileged neighborhoods. The Children’s Museum of Manhattan is replicating its exhibitions in East Harlem’s public housing. It sends two artists to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center every week to work with children. And it is running health and literacy programs in the Bronx and New Orleans.

And children’s museums are making a concerted effort to draw specific groups of people who might otherwise not come through their doors. On Mondays, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan is open to children with autism and their families, as well as to school groups. “They need a quiet venue,” Mr. Ackerman said.

The ARTogether program at the Children’s Museum of the Arts brings foster children together with their biological parents to create art, led by a clinically trained, licensed art therapist. The museum recently expanded the effort to include families with children at risk of being placed in foster care. It has hired staff members who speak Mandarin and Cantonese.

“You can come to our space and participate alongside other folks who maybe aren’t having the same challenges,” said David Kaplan, the museum’s executive director. “You want to be supportive of families in the program but you want to be empowering them — you don’t want them to rely on you forever. Eventually you want them coming to the museum on their own terms and on their own time.”

In opening a larger space last fall, the Children’s Museum of the Arts hopes to generate more revenue to benefit children at risk, to provide a “nice, safe environment for people to come to,” Mr. Kaplan said.

Not only are children’s museums seeking to educate, they want their visitors to feel comfortable entering cultural institutions for many years to come and to see exhibitions that affirm their own experience. “The audiences who are living here want to be able to come here and see their lives reflected,” said Ms. Robinson of the Boston museum.

In some cases, the exhibits also take the visitors to places they have never been. The museum now features a Japanese silk weaver’s house that was a gift from Kyoto. “Many of our kids will never go to Japan,” Ms. Robinson said. “But they can have an authentic Japanese experience by coming to our house.”

By Robin Pogrebin / Published: March 14, 2012 / on page F2 of the New York Times

Grand Central Holiday Fair – Design Concept Flythrough

The Displayers managed the installation and dismantle of Grand Central Terminals Holiday Fair for (6) years.  Installation of the Holiday Fair required the handling and installation of (43) crates to assemble and fill the 12,000 square foot Vanderbilt Hall over a (20) men to assemble over (5) days.

Jones Lang LaSalle and The MTA asked that conceptual designs be proposed to replace existing system.  The renderings and fly – through was The Displayers proposal.


Design 960 des GCT Holiday Fair concepts pg4-9 12-19-08-1 540x960

design 400 90 des GCT Holiday Fair concepts pg1-3 12-19-08-2

Crain’s New York – The Displayers

An article about our beginning.


Display maker puts together a solo effort

THE FAMILY BUSINESS CAN BE a frustrating place for a budding entrepreneur. Eager to make his own way, Greg Rathe abdicated his position as third-generation heir apparent at Rathe Productions, a big designer of trade shows and museum exhibits. Instead, four years ago he founded his own outfit, The Displayers.

“Growing your own company is something you don’t get a chance to do in a 55-year old family business,” says Mr. Rathe. Naming his company after his grandfather’s biggest competitor in the 1950s.

Mr. Rathe targeted an eclectic array of businesses, designing and installing trade show booths, exhibitions and showrooms.  Mr. Rathe says he made a specialty of fast turnarounds, calling on relationships he’d built up with suppliers during his years at the family business and assembling a melting pot of specializations on his staff.

The company balances display design with corporate identity work. Projects include in-store marketing materials for Apple Computer stores and acrylic logos for DKNY stores in Europe.  Museums may offer the most fertile ground for growth, as the size of The Displayers’ projects for that segment is increasing. The Displayers served as construction manager for the renovation of the Jewish Museum’s permanent exhibition and recently won a commission to create a 3,000-square foot exhibit at the New York City Police Museum.

The Displayers has grown to 1.4 million in revenues and eight employees.  That’s a far cry from Rathe Productions’ army of almost 100 architects, graphic designers, carpenters, metalworkers, engineers, computer specialists and artists, but Mr. Rathe says he has no regrets. “It’s like a fishing village – the sons go off and get their own boats,” he says. “There’s plenty of fish for everybody.”