The Designer's Toolbox - First Edition - Meet The Creative Designers

The Designer’s Toolbox - First Edition

Meet The Creative Designers

Welcome to our new blog series from the Creative Team here at Apple Rock. I want to take some time to connect with you in regards to our design process and discuss various topics related to the creative side of what we do.

I’m really looking forward to creating these blogs moving forward and hope you’ll join me and hopefully even share them with anyone who you feel may find them of interest as well. 

To kick things off I want to talk a little about one of my favorite aspects about designing at Apple Rock. The wide array of tools at our design team’s disposal.

Most any creative person will tell you there is no such thing as the idea of “too many tools”.  Well, here at Apple Rock we have one heck of a Spice Rack to pull from. Not only do we have 35yrs of industry knowledge within the company itself, we have experienced account execs, fellow designers, graphic techs, engineers, fabricators, project managers, labor team members, and even an A/V Production Partner all within reach for a quick conversation to answer just about any question we may have when conceptualizing a project for you.  

Don’t believe me? Come to Greensboro for a visit and we’ll introduce you to them face-to-face

In the day and age where so many work remote or send work out to help produce a concept, our model is one that’s not very common in today’s market. After so many in our industry were fractured, if not completely dissolved by the recent pandemic, we place a lot of value on our ability to remain intact and under one roof through that stressful time. It’s not unusual to hear visitors comment about how we are efficiently self-contained in contrast to many competitors’ teams who they cannot actually meet due to them being out of state if not across the country. Now from the design aspect of things, it’s a real treat to have so many resources literally just steps away during the ideation phase of a project. Especially one that may creatively push the boundaries of past projects. 

As I type this, I have only sheetrock and 2x4’s between me and a room full of engineers. And trust me, that accessibility is needed and utilized frequently. Being creative, we naturally want to do something “new” as often as possible.

Repetition quickly becomes boring for us, so every chance we get we try something new or at least put a twist on common elements.

Having easy access to engineers and fabricators ensures we aren’t making a pitch to clients that we cannot produce or has to be heavily modified when brought to life. If you’re in the exhibiting industry, there is a good chance you’ve experienced a design changing drastically from concept to build, and that's no fun at all. It’s the industry’s version of being “catfished.” Some of our engineers are also trained in design with the versatility to float between the 2 departments. This also helps keep the design and engineering teams close and increases communication and build knowledge from the top down.

Teamed up with engineering is the Estimation team. Not only are we regularly checking on structural integrity and build capabilities, we also make a high-level check on cost and whether or not we are able to get any new ideas into the client’s budget. Now, let’s be honest, just like the common car shopper, most clients have a list of wants that potentially exceeds their spend. So it’s common for us to have quick conversations about how we construct something as well as how much it may cost, enabling us to take the most efficient path for each project’s budget. Again, this goes to the idea of being able to actually produce what we are presenting while hitting the projects’ target budget as closely as possible. 

If there is one thing in the event / exhibiting industry you must be well versed in today, its Technology and A/V.

This is where it’s extremely advantageous to have a full-time Fuse partner based in our offices. As any experienced exhibitor is very aware of, LED technology, of varying aspects, is currently very sought after and one of the most potent ways to get attention on an already over-stimulated show floor. It’s so nice to have the ability mid-project to say, “Call Fuse and ask.” And by “call Fuse,” we mean yell down the hall to check on pricing and availability of the best A/V technology there is to offer. 

There is one last extremely valuable tool we are given which ranges greatly from project to project. And it’s given to us by you, the client: 


This one is handed to us within each project and we pretty much always figure out how to use it best in regards to the scope and execution of each project. Being both a custom designer/builder, while also maintaining an extensive rental inventory, we can dance with just about any timeline. Given it’s at least somewhat realistic with the delivery date. Our rental inventory allows us to pull and prep on a dime, while simultaneously building custom elements to quickly create a tailored experience for our clients that others may struggle with without it looking somewhat of a cookie-cutter solution. 
I’m going to wrap this first entry up now and want to thank you so much for your valuable time and interest in the design side of Apple Rock. I’m looking forward to writing many more of these. Please share if you find them helpful and think others may as well.

Finally, don’t hesitate to reach out should you have any project we may be able to help you with. Any interaction helps us to know we are connecting with useful, informative content that makes us all better at any role you may play in the Exhibiting Industry. 

Jonathan Hackler

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