All posts in “Design”

Do you want to build a snowman?

Do you want to build a snowman?

DSCF0068It seems a fitting question for the winter we’ve had here in the Midwest.

In my 18 years at Downing Exhibits we’ve never been asked to build a snowman, but we have pulled off some amazing things. This past year, I’ve seen a larger than life roll of Duck tape that wowed not only the client but my peers as well.

My job has evolved from being a production artist / graphic designer to having much more involvement with the clients I work for. I often get asked in the planning stages of a project if something is possible and I always do my best to find a way to make it happen. I’ve had the pleasure of working with some great people with great ideas. These people make my job not only easy but enjoyable as well.

And although I haven’t had to build a snowman yet, I’m always open to the challenge.

Melissa Llewellyn
Senior Graphic Designer

Melissa Photo

Success Story 01 – It Must Be Magic!

It Must Be Magic!

At this years National Retail Federation Annual Convention and EXPO in January, Downing had the pleasure to serve Infor, a front runner in the software solutions industry that is changing the way information is published and consumed in the business enterprise. They were generous enough to share their experience with Cindy Smalley,  National Account Executive here at Downing and the rest of the design team:

Downing made magic happen for us. I personally pride myself in having a few tricks up my sleeve, but knowing we engaged only three months before we needed a show-stopping (and brand new) 20’ x 30’ island booth – professionalism, determination to please the client, and skills aside – it must have been magic.

As the event manager assigned to NRF 2014, I knew I had to work across business units to make them come together to present Infor’s Retail Solution Suite as one cohesive industry software solution to the retail attendees. This is a huge challenge, knowing that usually each business unit does their own industry specific booth. Cindy and her team were given the task to come up with a non-cookie-cutter booth to carry my vision of this cohesiveness to the show floor.

As I started to define and develop the go-to-market plan internally, they took revision upon revision patiently, even though time was running out and the holidays were upon us.

New concepts and ideas were shared over a matter of weeks – some elements were selected and carried forward while others were determined to not work for us – and in collaboration with internal sources, we tweaked several layouts to come up with the best trade show booth presence we ever had (well, since I’ve been employed 😉 ).

The onsite support was tremendous and the booth went up without any complications. The compliments on our booth started to come in from other exhibitors, from the attendees of NRF and the visitors to our booth. Some of them hadn’t planned on stopping by, but were drawn to our non-conventional set-up and color scheme. The kudos didn’t stop coming in until the show closed and it was time for tear-down.

Eye-candy is the word for our latest island booth, but most importantly, we had a booth that looked and felt like Infor – innovative, beautiful, and the best in class!


Parisa Hamidi

Marketing Specialist, 3rd Party Events


Proposed Color Rendering

INFOR NRF_Rendering

Final Result


Make It Work!

Below will be the first in our Downing “Team Spotlight” series! Stay tuned on the last day of each month to learn a little more about a different member of our amazing team!

My daughters have been fans of the television show Project Runway for many years. One of the supervising designers on the show has a tagline that he says on every episode when giving advice to the competitors. “Make it work!” I borrow his line when I tell my kids about what I do at Downing Exhibits.

I make it work.

image002In thirty years of experience in the cabinetmaking and exhibit industries, I’ve seen hundreds of remarkable design concepts for furniture, cabinetry, museum displays, retail interiors, trade show exhibits, and corporate lobbies. My job is to find the best way to turn these concepts into reality while maintaining quality and staying within budget; a true balancing act.

Sometimes this can be done by using time-tested materials and processes; sometimes I have to invent something new to make it work. Usually, it’s a little bit of both. I sweat the details so our customers don’t have to; every process, material, fastener and finish contributes to the success of the project. Nothing can be overlooked.

In the end, all these factors can be reduced to one simple question: Does it work? If so, our clients are happy and I’m satisfied that I’ve done my job.


Dave Miller

Senior Project Manager



Happy New Year!

Happy New Year from Downing’s Design department!

In 2013, we made a conscious effort to ramp up our awareness and use of the latest technology that will assist us and our clients in the challenges that face us in the fast-changing world of marketing and sales. In 2014, we hope to bring our clients an even higher level of service and support. We’re investigating exciting and groundbreaking solutions to improved efficiency and productivity!

The ways we communicate, create, illuminate, interact, listen, navigate through spaces and ideas, present and display, produce, secure, think and visualize.

This year, I hope we all can challenge each other to think outside the box, think big, and harness the technology for the purpose of educating, stimulating and increasing the interaction that ultimately elevate and improve our levels of business.

Tim Rasicci
Senior Designer