Part of our series called
BEST IN SHOW: The best and worst tradeshow displays at Calgary’s HomExpo 2007
At 2007’s HomExpo, we wandered the crowded plains of Calgary’s Roundup Centre to find the best and worst of the tradeshow displays congregated therein. We knew we’d found one of the worst when we came to Mortgage Intelligence’s corner booth.
This booth was the type of “bad design” that appears professional on the surface, but whose design decisions have not been made with purpose or meaning. The gentlemen manning the booth were warm and informative people, but the banners adorning their open-plan booth were cold and confusing.
Take a look at the two, tall vertical banners that read “ideclare” and “isecond.” According to their website, these are part of a line of “iMortgages” that provide tailored advantages for different consumers. Unfortunately, you wouldn’t know that just by looking.
First of all, the images chosen to represent each product have nothing to do with mortgages. In fact, they are barely even connected to the words attached to them. Sure, a good designer will often employ intriguing photography that leads the viewer to ask questions, but “intriguing” shouldn’t mean “confusing.” The first photo is of a hand making a strange vow-like signal. We suppose that’s a “declaration,” but it comes across as a variation on the Star Trek “live long and propser” sign. As far as the hand holding the genie lamp? We still haven’t figured out what that means.
Secondly, look at the two hands: The first hand is pale and washed out, while the second is bathed in a warm, orange glow. Whenever you have two of the same subject featured side by side, it’s important to make sure that the lighting is consistent. It helps introduce a visual theme. In this case, that tip was ignored, and the result is a duo of posters that are inconsistent, nonsensical, and just plain ugly to look at.
Lastly, we need to point out the enormous “We’ll get ‘er DONE!” sign. If this were a monster truck rally, that would be a great sign to hold up while you cheer for your favourite driver. If you were a construction company, that might even be an acceptable slogan. But for a classy, professional mortgage company, specializing in helping people afford housing, “We’ll get ‘er DONE!” is a loud, brash, ill-fitting motto that makes the company look like it’s being run by a college fraternity.