From a fabricator’s perspective, exhibit timelines seem to run the gamut from nano-seconds to eternal. Usually when a client starts with “how long does it take to produce/build/design?” we are already on the shorter end of that spectrum, and ready to kick it into high gear.
One of our most stunning custom exhibits, this 1600 square foot exhibit for Port Covington – Sagamore Development, went from concept to show floor in just a few short weeks. Although such a tight turnaround is certainly possible, this dramatically condensed timeline is far from ideal.
Whether the timeline is weeks or months, even a year or more – the delivery date will always be “whenever you need it!” which ultimately equals the day and time the show opens. However, there are many checkpoints in between, and those can be somewhat more fluid.
In planning a custom exhibit, there are many decisions to be made, many moving parts and many deliverables which are dependent upon completion of prior tasks. In a bespoke world, each client dictates priorities based on their project drivers. It is the job of the exhibit house to remain flexible with these in the time period prior to exhibit delivery and construction.
With fifteen years’ experience in custom exhibit design and fabrication, Acer has worked out the suggested time frame and estimated duration for each of these processes leading up to installation of a custom new build:
Month 1 (Project Start):
Discovery and conceptual design (2-3 weeks)
Design refinement and selection (2-3 weeks)
CAD Engineering and approvals (2-3 weeks)
Production scheduling and initial preparation (1 week)
Structural fabrication (8-10 weeks total)
Structural fabrication continues
Graphics production (2-3 weeks non-fabric, 3-4 weeks fabric)
Schedule show services (based on show requirements)
Exhibit staging, final modifications and packing (2 weeks)
Shipment and transit time (1 week)
Month 6: Show Time!
These guidelines are comfortable and applicable for a large, complex exhibit. For any given project, some steps may take longer, while some may be far shorter. Factors which can affect the duration of any particular step in the process include revisions, production capacity, seasonality, exhibit size and project complexity.
The account team and project manager will create a customized timeline for each project. Once the project kicks off, though, even a custom timeline can change quickly. For example, this Rockwool exhibit, although large, didn’t need much design time because the client required very few modifications from the initial rendering to the final product. Close collaboration and communication between clients and Acer allow both parties to efficiently navigate shifting timelines.
If it’s time for you to start thinking about your next exhibit build, get in touch with Acer today to plan your project!