Ten Questions for Exhibit Designer Nicole Lahr
What does it take to become a trade show booth designer? We posed ten questions to designer Nicole Lahr to find out that it takes undeniable talent, unparalleled ambition and a little bit of luck.
1. How did you get involved in the trade show industry?
I studied computer animation & graphics at Savannah College of Art & Design. I was hoping to get a job in the entertainment industry, or to design video games. A family friend, who was a salesman in the industry, saw my work, and thought I would work well in trade show booth design.
2. What computer programs to do use on a daily basis?
I use Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, After Effects and Lightwave 3D.
3. What would you say is your favorite aspect of your job?
I like being able to see a project go from a visualization to a reality.
4. What is the least favorite aspect of your job?
Sometimes the fast paced nature of the exhibit design and fabrication industry is limiting in the design area based on time restraints for the final build.
5. What has been the biggest design challenge to date?
Professional Disposable Products (PDI) had re-branded with a new, clean look for their company. I was tasked with creating a 30’ x 40’ booth design incorporating custom elements with rental items providing a modern look with an open feel.
6. How did you overcome this challenge?
I designed a 12’h back area with a museum exhibit aesthetic. This space allowed for a walk-through area, a photo-shoot area, highlighting of the client’s new corporate branding, and featured LCD screens to promote their in-booth activity. This area consolidated the client’s needs while still providing an open feel to the rest of the booth.
7. What has been your favorite design?
The corporate interior project based solely on my original design idea for Ansell Healthcare. I enjoyed the process of branding a permanent space and seeing the project come full circle.
8. What was the biggest highlight for you in your career?
So far, being voted one of Event Design’s “23 Women to Watch in the Exhibit Industry” was pretty cool.
9. What are some of the trends to you see in trade show booth design?
I notice a lot of designs are becoming very minimalistic, mod, almost sculptural. Definitely more technology to showcase the company like interactives giving them a less cluttered look, and a more open, clean feel.
10. What hobbies do you enjoy when you’re not at work?
I still love playing video games, I obsess over music, and I enjoy doing invitation and paper product design on the side.
Nicole Lahr is a designer, renderer and computer animator at exhibit design and fabrication firm Loran Associates, Inc.