Nail your final year exhibition

Your graduation show is where all the hard work from the last few years comes together. It’s your chance to shine. But what should you include and how should you present it? Here’s how to get the most from that all-important showcase…

Plan ahead
The sooner you start considering which projects you’d like to present in your graduation show, the better. Exhibitions always take longer than expected to prepare and you don’t want to feel rushed or, worst still, run out of time. Think ahead, set yourself deadlines and make sure the work you present is your very best.

Get involved
Take an active role in all the preparations for the show, make sure that you attend meetings and discussions, and are part of the planning process. Not only will you enjoy it, it’ll also ensure that you have the bets chance of getting your work in a good position within the exhibition – and that matters.

Keep it simple
As tempting as it might be to present work that shows a whole range of different skillsets and knowledge, it’s often better to settle on one strong idea and execute it well. Make sure that you don’t overcomplicate your display: keep it clearly labelled, easy to navigate and triple-check there are no spelling mistakes anywhere.

Be professional
There’s every chance that you’ll be approached by design studios or other potential employers on the day. Always be prepared to talk professionally about your work, and anticipate potential questions. It’s also a good idea to have a strong bank of supporting drawings and other materials to hand – visitors will be interested in where your ideas came from.

Take business cards
Whatever you do, don’t forget your business cards. If traditional ones aren’t for you, think about providing other handy ‘takeaways’ of your best work to give prospective employers or future clients something to remember you by. Be proactive: approach visitors and try to make a strong first impression. It’s an excellent opportunity to build crucial contacts.

Think beyond the show
While your final year exhibitiion is hugely important, you should also focus your energies on getting the work that you produce for it out to a global audience. Only a limited number of people are going to come to the show itself, whereas an online showcase can be viewed by thousands around the world.

For more top tips and pro advice on how to make the most of your final year – from how to nail interviews and get your dream job to pricing your skills, gaining exposure and much more – pick up a copy of The Design Student Handbook, available now online, or from WHSmith in the UK, Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million in the USA, Chapters in Canada and other retailers worldwide. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.