Making the most of what you have
Presenting your work well doesn’t have to mean spending way beyond your budget. After all, this is your graduation show – everyone knows you’re a student. Keep in mind your next steps: don’t blow all your savings if it means paying off debts for the next few months. While high-production values are appreciated, this is also an opportunity to show that you embrace what’s available and can solve briefs within limitations.
A cheaper production material might be forgivable, but sticky fingerprints and slap-dash finishes less so (spirit levels and cloths are hardly bank-breakers!). In Pali’s words: “Presentation is paramount, there’s nothing worse than seeing unevenly hung work and grubby boards.”
If you’re presenting a film, keep in mind the way that people will experience this. If a screen is surrounded by distractions and has limited headphones available at busy periods, it might not hold a viewer’s attention. Consider arranging group screenings at specific times, or if possible, create an allocated viewing space within the location. It’s also an idea to make sure this film is easily found online, should someone search for it after the show.
Keeping up momentum
Don’t spend all your energy on the opening night: keep the momentum of your show up with additional events – from talks to screenings – but do keep timings in mind. “One thing to be mindful of is that [industry] are less likely to visit the shows on weekends,” says Pali, “Ensure most of the buzz is focused on working days when studios will be more willing to pop along after work.”
Edit down supporting work and captions
If you’re displaying something highly abstract or minimal, having supporting insight into process will be useful to anyone wanting to know more about the work. However, keep it relevant – whittle it down to the essentials.
This approach also applies to captions and texts that accompany work. In an exhibition environment, with so much to see, attention spans will be short. Ideally you want one to two lines per caption, capturing the essence of the project.
Branding: Work with the space, and credit it
As branding for degree shows becomes ever-more impressive and elaborate, it’s good to ensure that the exhibition space serves as a continuation of that identity, without letting it taking over. “I remember seeing an identity that was more interesting than the actual work!” shares Pali, “So it’s important that the branding comes to life without over-powering the work on display.”
Branding also presents a chance to make sure the work is properly credited and signposted in a consistent way, which makes life easier for a viewer to absorb information. Ensure that group projects are marked as such, which also includes crediting everyone’s roles in the branding, curation, planning and production for the show itself.