In the spirit of autumn we’re exploring how you can change your strategies and deliver real innovation at your next event.  Whether you’re planning an exhibition, building an exhibit or redesigning a retail environment, navigating your venue should be easy and effortless for attendees.

Using “fall favorite” activities as examples, let’s explore the three basic layouts of traffic flow. Believe it or not, your existing program most likely fits one of these three options below.  As you read through ask yourself, “Which concept are we currently using and how could we deliver real innovation by changing things around next time?”

Layout 1- The Orchard

Apple picking in the fall is a treasured event. The orchard itself has defined zones for each variety of apple. Macs, Cortland, Red Delicious and others all have their place.  This concept usually has good wayfinding signage or farmers provide maps indicating where everything is located.

A great retail example of the apple orchard concept is the Apple Store (of course). Think about it- each table in the Apple Store clearly contains its crop of products, but you can easily make your way over to other areas. The benefits of an apple orchard concept for your event is that it allows “triage attendees” to quickly get to where they’re going AND it lets them freely explore other areas.

Layout 2- The Corn Maze

I heard on the radio recently that a local couple ended up calling 911 in order to get out of a corn maze.  I can understand the panic if the corn maze was in Iowa, but this was just outside of Boston - how hard could it be?  A corn maze is meant to be fun and a bit challenging for the right audience.

If you’ve never experienced an actual corn maze just go to IKEA.  The corn maze concept, like IKEA, has good signage, but you’re ultimately on a journey of discovery as you make your way to a final destination.

This concept is great for larger exhibits or events that have a “family of products” to showcase and then have hot, new products as a final destination. The layout should be interactive, adventurous, but not too confusing for the attendee.

Layout 3- The Pumpkin Patch

Picking pumpkins fresh from the field is an exploration event.  There’s no defined traffic pattern and visitors can go anywhere at any time. Wayfinding signage is kept to a minimum and there’s usually no big arrow saying, “Best looking pumpkins over here!” This layout concept plays off the same attendee behavior seen at yard sales or flea markets.

Environments known for using this include contemporary art museums, children’s museums and science museums. These types of venues encourage exploration, innovative displays and interaction. The pumpkin patch layout is a free-for-all and if your audience fits that mold… Go for it! Attendees willing to discover and explore will benefit most from this type of event.  It’s rare to see an exhibition or even an exhibit that utilizes this layout, but for some projects this could be a new innovative avenue for attracting and engaging attendees.

All three concepts represent a different method for attendees to explore your space.  Providing engaging experiences for your next event means working beyond the “known” and developing real innovation by restructuring or altering your perception of how things have been done in the past.

Feel free to dig deeper into these three autumn activities because there’s more to explore. Also, share your innovative ideas on traffic flow and wayfinding on our Facebook page.  Happy autumn!