A new approach with cohesive branding, modular properties, and engaging exhibits.





Project Brief

Gates Corporation, a leading manufacturer of power transmission belts and fluid power products, has a vision of continually pushing the boundaries of materials science to advance the way the world moves. 

With a history spanning more than a century, Gates has grown considerably by expanding product lines. As product lines were added, they often operated independently—including managing independent trade show programs. This meant little to no crossover in exhibit assets from one product line to the next (and consequently, a weakened brand in some markets).

After a successful partnership with Derse on a new customer experience center in their Denver, Colorado headquarters, Gates turned their focus to overhauling the scattered trade show program.


With a trade show portfolio of fragmented and unengaging exhibit properties from various business units and a new brand to promote, Gates sought to overhaul their face-to-face marketing program. Gates challenged Derse to design an engaging and modular exhibit program with several requirements:

  • Maintain a reliable design language across all booth sizes.
  • Develop a strong and consistent brand presence across all product lines.
  • Focus on modularity of properties so major components could be easily used across multiple industries.
  • Elevate the overall attendees experience – through education, entertainment, excitement, and engagement.


Tackling the programmatic needs first, Derse analyzed Gates’ trade show schedule. Gates’ show schedule was segmented into tiers defined by booth size thereby making it easy to determine the frequency with which each modular component would need to be used. This was essential in determining how many of each component would be needed to accommodate concurrent or overlapping shows. Finally, using those constraints, Derse designers created assets that formed complete exhibits across the show schedule.

Gates Kit of Parts Exhibit

In past exhibits, Gates’ products were presented in the booth through static, non-interactive displays. To deliver on education, entertainment, excitement, and engagement, Derse created (and continues to create) virtual reality, augmented reality, and gamification interactives for tier-1 shows (exhibits with a footprint of 20’ x 45’ and larger). These customer experience elements allowed Gates to tell their manufacturing story in a more exciting way—and more importantly, educate participants on the superiority and capabilities of Gates products.

Gates Trade Show Exhibit


The result was a stunning set of exhibit components that were scalable, flexible, and comprehensive. Properties could easily be mixed and matched to suit any show footprint.

With modular pieces shared by all business units, Gates was able to maintain cohesive branding throughout their show schedule. Derse’s creative solution meant that fluctuating booth sizes did not dictate the look and feel of the Gate’s presence. Rather, the flexibility of the modular properties meant a recognizable and consistent design regardless of booth footprint or exhibiting business unit.

Gates Trade Show Exhibit

Customer engagement activities created for individual industry segments (oil, automotive, construction) entertained and educated attendees in a variety of interactive ways. Through their partnership with Derse, Gates’ exhibit program transformed into an innovative and effective way to reach target audiences face to face.

Gates Exhibit Gallery

More images of Gates Exhibit.