Design Festa: Write-Up & Photos from the Show

Back in early November I had the opportunity to take part in one of Japan's largest art & craft events, Design Festa. I had an amazing experience and wish I could be here a second year to participate again.

I wanted to share with you some behind the scenes, set up shots, and pictures of the many other booths there - art or illustration, craft and otherwise. Before attending the show I had only a vague general idea of what it would be like but not a clear picture. Since there were so many great ideas for booth setups it didn't feel right to not share them with you. Please keep in mind that I don't mean to suggest that any particular booth here is a setup I'd recommend and I realize these are very unique to the venue and Japanese audience.

A huge thank you to my mom for photographing everything and keeping me company for the two days.

The venue, Tokyo Big Sight, and me with all my artwork (prints), banner and booth stuff.

A bit of background. The show allows artists to rent tables and walls for their booths. The walls can be nailed, painted or taped to so it allows for a lot of versatility. You can bring in your own setup but it must stay contained in your, sometimes rather small, space. My space was an average sized 1.8m x 0.9m (5.9ft x 2.9ft) with a rented table and stool. (More show specific info can be found here.)

Setting Up

Setting up my banner at my table. The backdrop behind me is the back of another booth.

The Show

Live Painting

There were several other different areas at the show. One allowed for live painting where an artist or artists could paint during the duration of the day.

A few parting thoughts...

As a first Design Festa show for me I was really happy with how things turned out. Only after having experienced it in person would I consider changing a few things. Here are some thoughts or things I would do differently next time:

  • Rent a black (not white) wall backdrop to mount prints on to display all of my available work for sale. No more flipping through a bin.
  • Use a lower table to allow more of a gallery viewing experience of your work on the wall.
  • Have at least 300+ business cards printed. Without much effort I gave out 150 the first day.
  • Sell something small at a price point of ¥1000. A single bill makes for easy change.
  • A5 prints were my most popular, A4 second. Don't bother setting out A3 prints.
  • Print the price of each print on the back. Numerous people would flip the print over to see it's price.
  • Bringing framed prints as a display only. The market for more expensive framed prints isn't here it seems.