Making a display is like telling a story. You can keep it simple or you can add drama. That's what newspapers do. They use adjectives. On TV they talk about major disasters and massive disruptions. Plain doesn't do it, drama does.
Why shouldn't we use that knowledge and apply it to our displays? We want to arouse interest, make a point, draw attention and maybe showcase a fresh point of view.
What to do? Not everybody has a creative mind that pops up ideas like bubbles in a fizzy drink. But there are ways to come up with ideas. One of them is brainstorming. It might sound silly and over the top but the surest way to get ideas is by writing down what comes up in your mind if you think of a topic.
Get books that cover your topic and look at their covers, view the titles and read the blurb. The more you dive into your topic the bigger the chance your mind will come up with an idea.
Draw a plan: even if you don't stick to it, a drawing will give you a reference point. You can visualize easier when you put an idea on paper. Sometimes that fantastic idea doesn't work when you draw it and you have to alter parts of it. More often it will rouse your imagination and ideas will flow.
Make a list: When I prepare a display I 'think' in stages. Suddenly a material or item crosses my mind. I need to write it down or it's gone after helping a student or doing research. Crossing off materials as you acquire them is a good way to stay on track.
Prepare: Building a display often needs to be done in a short time frame. It saves time and energy if you can grab the title, images and items you've made beforehand and pin them to the board without cutting and pasting and trying to make it fit.
Use titles. It points the viewer in the right direction. A good title reveals what the display is about without disclosing too much. There needs to be room for imagination. Don't panic if you're not the poet who comes up with fantastic slogans that say it all. Scroll through the material you want to display – turn pages, scrutinize your material – somewhere you will find exactly the right saying…
Enjoy: A good display is a display that is still interesting after a couple of weeks. Be critical but also enjoy your own work. You've created something to be proud of, celebrate that!!!
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