Free Designs are Routine
Receiving a free/complementary design from an exhibit house is routine. To keep design costs within what we feel is a fair range so as not to burden all clients we have initiated a per square foot/client budget/design complexity matrix resulting in several hours that can be legitimately assigned to a project. This is not for a client to pay but rather it tells our design department and our account executives when the design time is getting out of hand and must be ended.
All Designs are Not Equal
Each exhibit house offers a different level of the free design; they come in an incredible number of varieties. The largest of exhibit houses such as show contractors push out routine copy and paste line drawings with the largest exhibits just a step or two above. Smaller exhibit houses do not have a designer in house; either as a distributor they use a manufacturer’s design team such as Nimlok or Classic and that company’s product line or they contract with an independent designer. These are usually very nice designs however revisions become a major issue because in both cases the exhibit house is paying top dollar for these services.
Design is the Cost of Doing Business
Then there are the exhibit houses that have one, two, even ten designers on staff. If they are busy you get into the design queue, move to the top, get a design and again if multiple revisions are needed there are also multiple wait times. Who ultimately pays for your free design? Design is considered a cost of doing business. If you rent or purchase part of that cost is spread across an invoice in cost of goods sold. The rest is added into the design department budget. However, what if you do not make a purchase? The money is taken from the Design department budget. Very similar to today’s healthcare plight in that the escalating cost of health insurance includes paying for those who cannot pay.