We met the marketing manager of Mölnlycke’s Wound Division in a hot morning in late July. As we were getting ready to be briefed by her, we felt the ease of planning our work just before summer, with a comfortable margin for something we expected to wrap up in October. We already had conceived a simple yet effective exhibition space of just six metres by two. To this we may add the relaxed, positive atmosphere surrounding us, undoubtedly connected with the fact that we have been taking care of their participation to these meetings for years. Perhaps we might just draw up a list of their requirements ourselves, a desk, some room for warehousing, a monitor, seats, brochure holders…
…except that we actually can’t, because every year the meeting takes place at a different venue within Italy, so we always need to get in touch with the local exhibition board and ask for all the relevant limiting parameters concerning design, available space, stand structure, and so forth. Also, every time communication will have to focus on a different aspect, which means we spend several hours online to have to peruse the material provided by Mölnlycke Health Care, the mother company, and find an appropriate and effective synthesis; even guidelines change and must be decoded with an eye to corporate policies first, then lay them out creatively.
As is our wont, as soon as we were back in the office we drafted a comprehensive report putting down in black and white each specific request, with every item put in the proper column of an extremely useful “to do list” so that we would always know exactly what was up to us and what would be taken care by the client—for example, what was going to be supplied by them and which procedure we were going to step through!
This practice was even more essential this year as we left the summer break behind and started to materialize our project —a project that gradually became more far-reaching and began entailing other “things to do”: selecting a suitable gadget, designing a custom t-shirt, taking care of invitations to the company workshop, studying the layout of a card for a fund raising…
In September we are going to up the tempo. This is when ideas must be turned into facts: the final project of the stand must be sent to the fitter who will actually set up and arrange the walls, the furniture, the desk and any necessary and expressly envisaged furnishings; final proofs of communication materials must be ready in all formats—for digital printing on PVC sheets, fabric and silicone. We’re about to wind up now: we leave our premises to supervise the installation of the stand. After that, we wait for our client’s presence and final approval.
As for size, our job ranged from 12 square metres to 7 mm. We still remember two typical episodes—with a positive ending.
colours and quite small—8 cm wide, 7 mm thick. What could be simpler? Find a claim, set it using the official corporate font, add the logotype and place them in such a way as not to exceed the allotted space, right? And yet even “simple” and “small” jobs can turn out nasty, when the amount is large and unexpected mistakes appear. In this case 500 pieces were affected: our supplier thought the text was too small to be legible, so hey presto, off their own bat they enlarged the Mölnlycke logotype and moved the small bubbles to the left. Of course, you can’t alter a corporate logotype as you like: Mölnlycke guidelines clearly state that the five bubbles can be removed, but if they are present, they must be above the logotype. Luckily we were able to stop them, shoot down their rather loose interpretation and still comply with all scheduled delivery deadlines and ensure an overall success of the initiative.
Episode number two, once again at the last minute, more precisely just a few days from the installation, when the final proofs had already been sent to the printer for printing on PVC panels: we got a call explaining that product X, advertised on a panel, must not appear, because it had been deemed better not to disclose anything about it yet… it was just a name, some 50-point white text on a grey stripe, a negligible entity within the overall communication effort, yet it had to be removed. Within half an hour we tried everything, from a grey adhesive film patch to a deliberately obtrusive screamer (“COMING SOON!”)… in the end, the simplest approach proved to be the best one: we rang the printer up and agreed upon some “quick response” measures to get us out of that mess. As it happens, it was the one file which hadn’t been printed yet! So we just sent the printer a new final proof—Problem solved!