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Ultimate Exhibit Design Challenge


It is the end of May and life is good. As I sit at the end of our dock in the heart of lake country in northern Minnesota, I find myself reflecting upon the 2011-2012 academic year. What a year of opportunity for the Bemidji State University Exhibit Design Students!

One of the biggest highlights of the year was the “Ultimate Exhibit Design Challenge” presented by Optima Graphic’s very own Dave Brown and Gary Camarato. After a conversation with Randy Acker from EXHIBITOR Media Group, Dave decided to take a chance on the new generation of exhibit designers.

In October, 2011, Dave arrived in Bemidji not knowing what to expect from our community, campus, program and students. I think he was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed the experience. Dave delivered a presentation to our Exhibit Design students about the tradeshow industry, Optima Graphics, and introduced the “Ultimate Exhibit Design Challenge.”

The students were charged to design Optima’s 20’x20’ display for EXHIBITOR2012 utilizing Optima’s new Panoramic extrusion system. Through Dave’s presentation the students were informed about the features and advantages of the Panoramic system and the newest technologies in graphics and printing.

The game was on. Over the following few weeks, students worked diligently to design a 20’x20’ display that would showcase the Panoramic system’s features and highlight how the product stood above it’s competitors.

Seventeen Bemidji State Exhibit Design students submitted entries, with great anticipation of the crowning of a winner.

BoothKimberly Hacker was deemed the champion as her design was chosen by Gary, Dave and the Optima team and was utilized in the construction of Optima’s booth for EXHIBITOR2012! In addition to Optima funding Kim’s lodging and travel, along with incidental costs, she also had the amazing opportunity of assisting in staffing the booth and talking about her design and experience. All of the Bemidji students in attendance participated in Optima’s client reception and were given the opportunity to begin their own professional networking by having access to some of the industry’s most influential.

The “Ultimate Exhibit Design Challenge” was an invaluable experience for the Bemidji State students and faculty alike. We hope to continue to work with Dave, Gary and the Optima team in future endeavors. Thanks to all who have contributed to this experience, the lives of young designers have been changed!

Bonnie Higgins
Bemidji State University
Categories: Business, Creative
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