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The Sound of Marketing

There are many aspects of marketing, but many people find themselves ignoring one of the most powerful tools for grabbing customers’ attention: The power of sound!

Many of the staff at Downing have a background working with audio and music. This experience is beneficial in organizing speech or music for presentations, special events, videos, lobbies, retail and trade show displays. But sound is often given the least amount of time and attention compared to other aspects of a presentation.

How can a company best use sound to their advantage? First you have to determine what needs to be accomplished with sound. Is it being used to educate and inform? Is it used to support a claim?Where is it being utilized? Is it for effect? Is it creating a mood?

If the sound is for a live speaker, there’s often a brief discussion right before the event about getting a microphone and sound amplifier. Is it really that simple? It’s not that simple if you want the best results. 

Not surprisingly, there are numerous types of microphones. There are wired, wireless, handheld, headset and lapel microphones. There are carbon, condenser, dynamic, piezoelectric & ribbon mics. Some pick up sound in all directions.. some in one direction. Some mics are made for a higher pitch voice; some are made for a lower pitch voice. Are we projecting only voice, or is there also going to be music or some other audio? Is the audio synchronized to video? Is the sound being projected in a noisy trade show hall, or is the sound in a fairly quiet corporate lobby? These are just SOME of the possible questions. The amplification system should be designed to match the venue of the presentation. It shouldn’t be just an afterthought, and it is definitely not “one size fits all!”

I always enjoy the opportunity to incorporate sound into my designs. The ultimate challenge is to engage ALL the senses in the experience we provide our customers, with the end result being success.

Tim Rasicci

Senior Designer


Downing Display Wins Best in Show at Parker Hannifin!


Downing Enterprises Wins Best in Show at Parker Hannifin!

Each year Parker Hannifin extends invitations to their engineering and business development teams to share their portfolio of innovative new products and submit one for consideration in a contest they call The Best Mousetrap. The competition is held at their headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio.

The display that Downing designed and built for this competition won Best in Show!

We are grateful to Parker Hannifin for this honor and to the talented team from Downing who made it happen.

Downing Attends 2014 HCEA Annual Meeting in Cleveland


Downing Exhibits, as members of the Healthcare Convention and Exhibitors Association, attended and exhibited at the HCEA Annual Meeting in Cleveland, Ohio on Sunday June 22 and Monday June 23.

The HCEA Meeting is the premier event for the industry’s leading healthcare exhibit marketers and medical association meeting and exhibition professionals.

Downing was represented at the show by Rick Harder, Mike Carano and Karen Gallaher. The show was a great opportunity for us to see some old friends and to meet some new ones! The event was a huge success with more than 68 exhibitors and 450 attendees.


Pictured Below is Downing’s Booth at HCEA 2014.

HCEA 2014 Downing Booth

NEC Display Introduces Next Generation of Video Wall Displays

NEC Display Solutions of America announced its fourth generation of video wall products, capable of delivering brilliant imagery to organizations deploying displays for 24 x 7 use in a variety of digital signage, corporate and broadcast video wall applications.

Like their predecessors, the 55-inch X554UNS, the 55-inch X554UN and the 46-inch X464UN are direct LED-backlight LCD displays, which allow for improved brightness uniformity, reduced power consumption and mercury-free components. The UNS model now minimizes that distance to a mere 3.5mm while the UN displays have a bezel gap as low as 5.5mm. With DisplayPort 1.2 multi-streaming, they are capable of delivering ultra-high definition resolutions across the entire canvas of displays comprising the video walls.

In addition, Auto TileMatrix features allow a user to simply set up the size of the video wall on the first display and automatically scale the content through the remaining displays. With the press of a few buttons, the entire video wall is set up. The result is faster installation, which reduces costs and improves the customer experience.

“Video walls are helping organizations bolster their brands in magnificent ways,” said Rachel Karnani, Senior Manager of Product Marketing for Large Screen Displays at NEC Display. “Our company has been a pioneer in the development and installation of video walls. The latest X Series displays take video walls to the next level of customer experience and ease of installation.”

The X Series displays also support Intel’s Open Pluggable Specification (OPS), which is the first industry-wide standardization in option slots to simplify digital signage. The OPS option slot allows for easier installation, use and maintenance of digital signage. An accessory slot is now included on new X Series models as well.

The X Series displays include the following features:

• Professional-grade LCD panels with advanced thermal protection and sealed panel design for the most formidable digital signage industry requirements
• Picture perfect image quality with 3840 x 2160 ultra-HD resolutions through DisplayPort 1.2 daisy chain
• Ultra-narrow bezels of 3.5mm (X554UNS), 5.5mm (X554UN) and 5.7mm (X464UN), which enable seamless images
• Brightness of 700 cd/m² and 3500:1 contrast ratio, which deliver superior image quality
• Network Control and Communication through RS232C or LAN, which allows the highest level of remote display management
• Auto ID/Auto TileMatrix™ technology for video walls up to 100 displays
• Carbon footprint meter, which calculates and tracks carbon savings
• ENERGY STAR® 6.0, which meets strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy

The X464UN, X554UN and X554UNS displays will be available in March 2014. The displays ship with a 3-year parts and labor warranty, including the backlight.

About NEC Display Solutions of America, Inc.
Headquartered in Itasca, Ill., NEC Display Solutions of America, Inc., is a leading designer and provider of innovative desktop LCD monitors, commercial- and professional-grade large-screen LCD displays, a diverse line of multimedia and digital cinema projectors, and integrated display solutions. NEC Display Solutions develops leading-edge visual technology and customer-focused solutions for a wide variety of markets, including enterprise, healthcare, education and digital signage. It has deployed more than one-million large-format displays worldwide. For additional information, call (866) NEC-MORE or visit the website

VUKUNET, from NEC Display Solutions of America, is the engine that powers the digital out-of-home advertising business. VUKUNET is the only universal ad serving platform that drives ads to any digital out-of-home network, regardless of content management system. VUKUNET makes the buying, flighting and reporting of digital out-of-home ad campaigns easy. For more information, or call (877) 805-VUKU.


Original Article:

Do you want to build a snowman?

Do you want to build a snowman?

DSCF0068It seems a fitting question for the winter we’ve had here in the Midwest.

In my 18 years at Downing Exhibits we’ve never been asked to build a snowman, but we have pulled off some amazing things. This past year, I’ve seen a larger than life roll of Duck tape that wowed not only the client but my peers as well.

My job has evolved from being a production artist / graphic designer to having much more involvement with the clients I work for. I often get asked in the planning stages of a project if something is possible and I always do my best to find a way to make it happen. I’ve had the pleasure of working with some great people with great ideas. These people make my job not only easy but enjoyable as well.

And although I haven’t had to build a snowman yet, I’m always open to the challenge.

Melissa Llewellyn
Senior Graphic Designer

Melissa Photo

Marching Through February

Frozen February

FrozenThe Winter Olympics are over, but snow and cold are still competing here in northern Ohio. We didn’t even have a January thaw this year like we usually do. Though it doesn’t look like it outside, according to the calendar, spring is coming and will be here in only three weeks. (Hooray!)

At Downing Exhibits, we have been busy preparing for the spring trade show season. Currently, we are working on exhibits that will be shipping in April and May. Working ahead of schedule is a way of life for those of us in show biz, and it really helps to keep focused on warmer days just around the corner.

March Madness

BasketballHoopA basketball player might grab a rebound and dribble the ball down the court. It’s not as easy as it looks; the player has to know how much time is left, keep the opposition in view, make clean passes to teammates, look for openings in the defense and all while driving for that looming and unmovable hoop.

Clients of Downing Exhibits count on us to know every deadline and make sure each is met with time to spare. It’s not as easy as it looks; it requires specialized skills to gather information, communicate effectively with clients and vendors, execute each day’s activities, plan ahead for the weeks to come, all while keeping an eye on that looming and unmovable show opening date.

If you are looking for a teammate who can make your trade show experience a slam dunk, contact Downing Exhibits now at 800-398-4425 or email us at

Success Story 01 – It Must Be Magic!

It Must Be Magic!

At this years National Retail Federation Annual Convention and EXPO in January, Downing had the pleasure to serve Infor, a front runner in the software solutions industry that is changing the way information is published and consumed in the business enterprise. They were generous enough to share their experience with Cindy Smalley,  National Account Executive here at Downing and the rest of the design team:

Downing made magic happen for us. I personally pride myself in having a few tricks up my sleeve, but knowing we engaged only three months before we needed a show-stopping (and brand new) 20’ x 30’ island booth – professionalism, determination to please the client, and skills aside – it must have been magic.

As the event manager assigned to NRF 2014, I knew I had to work across business units to make them come together to present Infor’s Retail Solution Suite as one cohesive industry software solution to the retail attendees. This is a huge challenge, knowing that usually each business unit does their own industry specific booth. Cindy and her team were given the task to come up with a non-cookie-cutter booth to carry my vision of this cohesiveness to the show floor.

As I started to define and develop the go-to-market plan internally, they took revision upon revision patiently, even though time was running out and the holidays were upon us.

New concepts and ideas were shared over a matter of weeks – some elements were selected and carried forward while others were determined to not work for us – and in collaboration with internal sources, we tweaked several layouts to come up with the best trade show booth presence we ever had (well, since I’ve been employed 😉 ).

The onsite support was tremendous and the booth went up without any complications. The compliments on our booth started to come in from other exhibitors, from the attendees of NRF and the visitors to our booth. Some of them hadn’t planned on stopping by, but were drawn to our non-conventional set-up and color scheme. The kudos didn’t stop coming in until the show closed and it was time for tear-down.

Eye-candy is the word for our latest island booth, but most importantly, we had a booth that looked and felt like Infor – innovative, beautiful, and the best in class!


Parisa Hamidi

Marketing Specialist, 3rd Party Events


Proposed Color Rendering

INFOR NRF_Rendering

Final Result


Make It Work!

Below will be the first in our Downing “Team Spotlight” series! Stay tuned on the last day of each month to learn a little more about a different member of our amazing team!

My daughters have been fans of the television show Project Runway for many years. One of the supervising designers on the show has a tagline that he says on every episode when giving advice to the competitors. “Make it work!” I borrow his line when I tell my kids about what I do at Downing Exhibits.

I make it work.

image002In thirty years of experience in the cabinetmaking and exhibit industries, I’ve seen hundreds of remarkable design concepts for furniture, cabinetry, museum displays, retail interiors, trade show exhibits, and corporate lobbies. My job is to find the best way to turn these concepts into reality while maintaining quality and staying within budget; a true balancing act.

Sometimes this can be done by using time-tested materials and processes; sometimes I have to invent something new to make it work. Usually, it’s a little bit of both. I sweat the details so our customers don’t have to; every process, material, fastener and finish contributes to the success of the project. Nothing can be overlooked.

In the end, all these factors can be reduced to one simple question: Does it work? If so, our clients are happy and I’m satisfied that I’ve done my job.


Dave Miller

Senior Project Manager

Dave Miller


Happy New Year!

Happy New Year from Downing’s Design department!

In 2013, we made a conscious effort to ramp up our awareness and use of the latest technology that will assist us and our clients in the challenges that face us in the fast-changing world of marketing and sales. In 2014, we hope to bring our clients an even higher level of service and support. We’re investigating exciting and groundbreaking solutions to improved efficiency and productivity!

The ways we communicate, create, illuminate, interact, listen, navigate through spaces and ideas, present and display, produce, secure, think and visualize.

This year, I hope we all can challenge each other to think outside the box, think big, and harness the technology for the purpose of educating, stimulating and increasing the interaction that ultimately elevate and improve our levels of business.

Tim Rasicci
Senior Designer