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Judging Criteria for Exhibition Design Awards

The following notes aim to help exhibitors and their designers by clarifying the criteria employed by the judging panel.

How to Enter

You do not need to do anything to be considered for the IBC Exhibition Design Awards - all exhibitors (except ‘outside exhibits’) are automatically entered. The awards are presented to the exhibitors that show the most flair and innovation in exhibiting and demonstrating their products or services. There are three award categories:

1. Best Smaller Free-Design Stand up to 100 sq m

2. Best Larger Free-Design Stand over 100 sq m

3. Most Imaginative Use of Shell Scheme Space

A panel of independent judges decides on the awards; they will visit each stand ‘incognito’ during IBC.

What the Judges Look For

The judges will seek out exhibits showing a strong, stylish and confident visual presence that highlights an accomplished and differentiated brand.  Success is not dependant on scale; but the designer must think in terms of creative brand strategy as well as aesthetics – what sets him/her apart.

In other words, has the designer successfully manipulated the built environment of the exhibit to ensure that it is a front-line expression of their client’s corporate message, their core brand values and their ethos?

Delivering effective brand communication and generating emotionally resonant brand experiences that reach, entertain and inform critical audiences depends upon the successful delivery of key messages to visitors.

Some key considerations are:

  • does the exhibit satisfy the basic pre-requisite of brand identification, ie is the client’s branding clearly visible from all available approaches?
  • do the key messages form an integral part of the design and are they immediately accessible to the visitor?
  • can the visitor move freely and logically through the exhibit architecture enabling them to fully ‘engage’ with the brand?
  • is it immediately clear what the exhibitor is selling?
  • do the forms employed in the design allow the client to take command of the space they occupy?
  • does the design leave an indelible impression at every touch-point?
  • does it connect with the audience?
  • has the designer successfully leveraged the intrinsic power of colour in a focused, refined and strategic manner?
  • has the designer exploited lighting successfully in the creation of a memorable experience for their client?
  • have they sought to explore new and interesting materials or possibly determined to use traditional materials in a more imaginative and interesting way?
  • is the stand ’fit for purpose’?

What are the Rules for Entry?

To win an award, all exhibitors have to comply with the IBC Exhibition Rules contained in the exhibitor’s manual.  Judges note, in particular, the guidelines relating to the provision of disabled access on to stands.

How Will You Know if You’ve Won?

If you are a winner, a member of the judging team will visit your stand on the Saturday of the show. They will present you with a plaque to display on your exhibit, and invite you to the IBC Awards ceremony.

The winners are publicised widely throughout IBC, including coverage in the IBC Daily News. They will also be posted on this website, ensuring the winners a high profile.