Learn How Project Managers are Critical to Exhibit Design Process

Project Management at Solid Light

An effective visitor experience pulls together different elements and perspectives of a story to create one cohesive narrative that not only immerses the visitor in the subject of the experience but also makes a lasting impact. As project managers at Solid Light, we work with our clients and creative team to navigate the design process.

For many of our clients, the project we work with them on will be the first visitor experience project they undertake. Effective and strategic planning for the exhibit design is critical. Our project team spends about 3-5 months listening to the client’s goals and strategies, engaging different perspectives, imagining what the project could be, identifying and studying its target audiences and generating the ideas, themes and stories that will populate the project’s Story Map and, eventually, the project space.

The Experience Plan is our hallmark deliverable at the culmination of this strategic planning process. It encompasses the destination’s big picture—things like key messages and story, engaging visitor touch points and appropriate amenities to support a visitor’s desire to learn and contribute to their overall appreciation of the project. The Experience Plan also serves as a plan of action; a road map to achieve a desired outcome for visitors. Visitors come to destinations not for the destinations themselves, but for the opportunity to grow their knowledge and understanding of a topic or idea. The Experience Plan homes in on how the visitors’ journey will look and feel—and what will stay with them long after they’ve left.

Delivering the Experience Plan is meant to give clients the look and feel for the actual experience so they can react and offer feedback before the project team starts bringing it to life. Then we, as Project Managers, steer the ship to make it happen. We keep a constant pulse on the team, communicate and coordinate the details and deadlines with the various members of the crew, and guide the project toward completion.

We came to understand the power of an Experience Plan when we developed one for our own new headquarters. It gave us the opportunity to start from a blank slate and reimagine the Solid Light identity that we as a team wanted to share with the world. Now, we have an even deeper appreciation for how meaningful the Experience Plan can be for our clients!

Their Advice:  

“Have the difficult conversations with us up front. Our collaboration with clients is a partnership, and the most successful projects are those where we’re able to build trust with clients, and vice-versa, very early on in the process. When the project’s intensity ramps up, you’ll be thankful.”

“Be clear about what you want and don’t want and why you feel that way. Workshop ideas with your internal team, create a Pinterest board of visual of inspirations and strategize your goals with key stakeholders. The more information you can give to us at the outset, the more seamless our integration will be and the more effective our process will work for you.”

“Trust in the process, our expertise, and our intention to give you a remarkable visitor experience. We become very invested not just in the work, but in the relationships we develop with our clients. We’re passionate about the success of your project.” 

When they’re not steering projects for clients, you might find the Solid Light Project Managers exploring Louisville’s vibrant arts and cultural scene, checking out the latest foodie hot spot or at a spin class on Saturday mornings.