On 09/23/06, we started an experiment when we launched Past Five Days (P5D). We decided to publish photos of exhibits, components, and accessories on Classic Exhibits. Mostly, we used the photos taken in our QC Setup Area, but occasionally we used photos from the Rental Setup area. We couldn’t publish every exhibit, which would be unrealistic, but we did want to show representative designs in as close to real time as possible. At the time, it seem risky for two reasons.
- We would be showing exhibits, not as perfect renderings or as show photos, polished to perfection just minutes before the trade show opens, but as exhibits (often) without the final graphics and the client’s product accessories and collateral.
- We would be sharing new designs and innovations with anyone who happened to click on Past Five Days. Including our competitors. However, we quickly realized that the benefit of sharing far out weighed the risk of espionage.
Two and half years later, P5D seems obvious. Distributors and clients want to see photos in addition to renderings, even if those photos are of displays still in production. Renderings are the lifeblood of the exhibit design process. They allow us to illustrate concepts relatively quickly, in both the purchase and design phase. But renderings are renderings. Photos are photos. We need to see both in order to make intelligent decisions about which display to purchase and which exhibit manufacturer to purchase from.
Several months ago, we decided to make the entire P5D photo database available via a dropdown menu. Before that, you could only see photos from the previous five days. It was a good concept, in theory, since it forced distributors and customers to visit our website frequently. However, in practice, customers search for a new display when they need a new display. It’s not like window shopping for shoes or a new car, where you keep on eye on the latest trends.
You can find P5D in two places on Classic’s website. There is an image link on the left hand side, below the Design Monday and the Ask Classic image links. Or, if you are in Design Search, there is a “Photo” button below the “Show/Hide Product Galleries” link. Once in P5D, you have two options. You can browse through the gallery by week ending. Simply click on the drop down menu for “Show Week Ending” and select a week. There are “Back” and “Forward” commands on the top and bottom of each page if you want to bypass the drop down menu and scroll from week to week more quickly. If you want to view P5D randomly, you may want to use the “P5D Randomizer” which arbitrarily selects dates from the P5D database. I really like the “Randomizer” but I may be the only person who enjoys the “Do It Again” feature. You can request information about any of the photos in P5D by clicking on the “Send Me More Information” link.
What’s in the works for P5D. A search tool. Expect to see the Search Tool no later than Summer 2009.