freelance art director & graphic designer


Designing for Highmark at ExhibitorLIVE! 2015

March 22 2015

Every March, all the companies that design and build exhibits for trade shows get together and have a big trade show of their own called ExhibitorLIVE!. Highmark asked me to help them design their exhibit for this years' show in Las Vegas.

Highmark creates modular structural systems used to create expansive, multi-story trade show exhibits by brands and design agencies across the USA. It's important to note that Highmark does not design finished exhibits for end users. Rather, they provide modular structural systems upon which an exhibit design agency will build a finished product.

Highmark's products are impressive — light, strong, fast to set up, and easy to configure and "skin" by exhibit designers. Naturally, this years' exhibit was designed to show off the engineering underpinning the design. So the environment intentionally allows a lot of the raw structure to show through, which lets visitors inspect and explore how the decks, walls, and accessories come together. A hands-on approach is essential because it helps designers begin to brainstorm many possibilities.

Simplicity was key because there are many different wall frames, panel materials, aluminum extrusions, accessories and structural components built into this exhibit. Layering too many graphics on top would muck it all up, and creating a very finished environment would hide the raw components Highmark wants to show off. So, the colors were flat and large arrows and minimal text call-outs guide visitors toward specific features. Highmark's sales team would be on the floor ready to explain and interpret the technical details.

Below are some photos of the finished deck along with some of my renderings of the graphics prior to production. The generous use of white space, a woodgrain floor, and judiciously-placed bright spots of color are all inspired by a Scandinavian modern aesthetic. This direction helps Highmark further stake its claim as a premium, world-class supplier to the tradeshow design market.


Geometric shapes and patterns are a significant part of the branding DKLLC has developed for Highmark over the past two years. In the ExhibitorLIVE! booth, the triangular pattern is used to highlight specific new products: an internally-lit fabric wall, french doors, and a sliding pocket door.

Learn more about Highmark's incredible line of modular walls, double-deck systems, and architectural accessories at

Exhibit photography is used courtesy of Highmark TechSystems.

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