EuroShop, the world’s no 1 retail trade fair in Düsseldorf, Germany is where the trendsetters of the retail and display industries gather every three years. Showcasing what is new and how best to apply it, the show sets the design tone for the foreseeable future.
South African exhibition, events and display specialist, Scan Display, sent a team to exhibit at EuroShop this year. “We have been to every show since 1999,” says Justin Hawes, the company’s Managing Director. “It’s important we are there, so we can learn about new developments in the industry and make them available to our clients.”
This year, Scan Display identified the following five key trends at the show:
Trend #1: Digital innovation
It’s no surprise that advances in digital technology are having a huge impact on how we communicate with our customers. “Video is taking off in a huge way, and LED screens were everywhere – sometimes occupying whole walls of stand structures,” says Hawes.
Improvements to LED screens mean the resolution is incredibly high, while screens are thinner and can be flexible or curved. Ultimately, any surface or shape can become the canvas for AV.
Holograms and projections offer another way to create moving and changing visual displays. And just as LED screens are going onto all kinds of surfaces, so too are projections – onto floors, mesh fabrics, Perspex and other transparent materials, all of which creates interesting effects and textures.
In some cases, AV is even replacing lighting, because it creates enough ambient lighting.
Trend #2: Lighting leaps forward
Technological advancements are also impacting the lighting industry, allowing for new ways to light displays. Front lighting, back lighting, down lighting and lights in the edging of shelves and in other structures all offer different techniques to draw attention to displays. Meanwhile flexible LED lights give designers a tool to ‘draw’ with lighting.
Lightboxes remain hugely popular and have in many ways displaced the traditional graphics panels with spotlights. The lighting quality of lightboxes ensures the graphics are vibrant, and there are no spotlights to detract from the graphic.
Fluorescent lighting has disappeared, and LEDs rule this space, offering improved colour intensity, as well as cost savings because of their energy efficiency.
Trend #3: Texture, texture and more texture
As touched on with the above trends of projecting AV onto different surfaces, interesting textures remain a popular feature of modern displays.
Another way to create texture is by using cut-outs, especially in stand walls where cut out patterns allow partial visibility into the stand, adding depth and perspective. Floating beams add to this effect, as does the use of interesting materials like patterned carpets and marbled floor vinyl.
“Texture is a useful design feature, as it attracts and holds the eye of visitors as they pause to make sense of what they are seeing,” says Hawes.
Trend #4: Sustainability is growing
Global warming has entered the mainstream media and our everyday conversations, which is driving greater consciousness about the impact of business on the environment.
Many of the stands at EuroShop included messaging about their sustainable initiatives. From going plastic-free, to offering energy-efficient and low-carbon solutions, a number of eco-friendly labels and statements were prominently displayed.
Exhibitors are also exploring how best to use sustainable materials – from natural wood (free of varnishes and paints, which can be environmentally harmful and reduce its re-use applications), to lightweight fabrics, cardboard and even paper.
Splashes of greenery were also apparent – although many used plastic plants. While plastic isn’t a sustainable material, it is low maintenance, re-usable and transports easily, which could be seen as having advantages in the long-term.
As touched on in the lighting trends, energy efficiency is on the rise and was especially evident in retail applications like low-energy refrigeration.
Trend #5: Telling stories
Experiential design – using your display to tell a story that engages your client’s senses and imagination – is another trend that continues to dominate this space.
“AV lends itself to telling stories, and interactive technology opens the door to more personalised experiences,” says Hawes. “But the overall stand design, choice of colours and materials, the finishes used – all of these design choices help to tell the story of your brand, and this needs to stay top-of-mind when designing an exhibition stand.”
He adds that, to be effective, it’s critical that your story remains authentic and true to your brand.
“Seeing the trends at EuroShop 2020 is one thing but knowing how to interpret them and best use them for our clients is really where a lot of our energy goes after the show,” says Hawes. “We don’t want to fall into the trap of using a trend because it is a trend. It has to serve a purpose and create value for our customers.”