Two Local Firms Rate Best Of Show

September 10, 2004
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GRAND RAPIDS — A local graphic design firm and its Rockford manufacturing client last month brought home best of show honors for their booth at the World Shoe Association show in Las Vegas.

The design was that of Gould Design, of

25 Commerce Ave. SW.

The client for which Gould crafted the exhibit is Merrell, a division of Wolverine World Wide Inc.

The exhibit was one of more than 1,600 in competition at the show.

Under the direction of Keith Anderson, marketing director for Merrell, the Gould team designed the booth and managed its fabrication.

Leading in the design work was Tim Powers, Gould's creative designer. He teamed with John Tegner, Wolverine's director of events and creative services, and a Los Angeles firm — Premier Displays and Exhibits — that constructed the exhibit.

The exhibit had 5,300 square feet of area on two levels. Its most immediately eye-catching feature was a 20-foot, free-form, aerodynamic-looking screened wall.

Easily visible through the wall's fabric was the exhibit's reception area, numerous selling stations, a second-floor lounge, beverage center, workstations with computers, a conference center, a display of Merrell's packs and bags, and an area for Merrell to exhibit its 2005 footwear product line.

The project called for a special effort because it must serve Merrell for two shows a year between now and 2009.

The World Shoe Association show, held twice a year, is the largest footwear trade show in the country. It attracts exhibitors and attendees from all over the world and features not only footwear but also accessories, handbags and foot-care products.

Each show requires a good deal of shoe leather for attendees — or at least comfortable walking shoes — because it covers a million square feet of exhibit space. Last month's show had more than 26,000 attendees.

According to Powers, initial stages of construction of the exhibit began in June.

But he said the design work behind it got underway near the end of winter.

"We had the function and mood figured out pretty quickly," he said. "But once we settled on the mood, we started getting into all the functional details — determining how much product would be displayed and how we would display it."

Like many of its competitors, Gould — founded three decades ago — has moved far beyond graphics and exhibit design.

The company's seven-member staff is equipped to help clients with strategic planning, identity development, business communications, marketing literature, point-of-sale merchandising and packaging.

According to the firm's owner, Roger Gould, working comprehensively with a client is a necessity because design creativity needs purpose.

"Not only does the finished product need to look good," Gould said, "but it needs to express the position of our client."

Powers explained that the award-winning design "created a space reflective of the Merrell brand's position as leading innovator in the footwear industry."    

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