Agency Spotlight: Rapiergroup

This article is brought to you in association with Macroart

Agency Spotlight, the latest addition to the Event Industry News site, profiles the top of the pyramid, the design and creativity behind brand activations, experiences, exhibition USPs and the greater live event model.

Sponsored by print specialist Macroart, these pages will profile agencies of all sizes, looking at how and why they started, with what ambition, key projects, relationships with the supply chain and a whole lot more besides.

If your agency has a fitting story to tell, get in touch: 

Agency: Rapiergroup
Formed: 1988
Annual Events: 100+
Staff: 50+
Offices: 2
Mantra: Get People Talking

We’re an award-winning creative agency producing exceptional live events, experiences and exhibitions across the globe. Working in the financial, automotive, technology, pharmaceutical, medical, aerospace and defence sectors, we offer all aspects of event, exhibition and experiential marketing. This includes event and conference planning and management, exhibit strategy and design, employee training and engagement, sponsorship marketing, creative content and communications, and digital-interactive media. Founded in 1988 and based in the UK, Rapiergroup delivers passionate professionalism, strategic insight and creative brilliance focused on one thing: to get people talking.


Rapier, as a name, goes back to 1958. It was founded alongside the first ‘technical publications advertising agency’ by two people called Rolls and Parker. They had one client – Plessey Electronics, a defence electronics and telecommunications company – who asked them to handle international exhibitions as well as advertising, so they formed a separate company using the initials of their names – RAP, a small step to RAPier, you see?

Founder: Nick de Bois

Nick’s CV is impressive. Conservative MP for Enfield North from 2010 to 2015, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Events Industry, author of Confessions of a Recovering MP – and co-founder of Rapiergroup.

That company was acquired by the Charles Barker Group in about 1982. Nick joined in 1984, as in his own words, “a very young, very naive, utterly inadequate project manager”. By 1986, Charles Barker sold Rapier to the then management team led by Paddy Murray, who gave Nick a small stake in Rapier Design which was the exhibition and exhibition graphics brand. They also had companies specialising in events, which, can you believe, they called “industrial theatre” at the time!

By 1988 Nick demerged Rapier Design once again from the then Rapier group of companies known as Rapier Associates. We moved from Lamb’s Conduit Street in Holborn to the nearby St. John Street in Clerkenwell with about eight people. “The idea was to have a bit of fun – we were all young, somewhat financially irresponsible and didn’t really think about it as a business so long as we were delivering great projects and had enough money to pay the staff”. Rapier Design as you now know it was born, and Nick began one of the most amazing journeys you can imagine.

Case Study: SWIFT

As well as managing SWIFT’s Sibos exhibition – a leader in the international financial calendar – we’re also challenged with promoting and maintaining SWIFT’s own presence at the event. Acting as a central hub and focal point for the exhibition, which brings together board-level executives from the world’s top banking and governmental institutions, our SWIFT exhibit seeks to provide a mixture of formal and informal spaces for facilitating the high-level networking activity that defines Sibos. 12 meeting rooms open out to a central auditorium space for presentations and debates on SWIFT services, which also includes an interactive game to promote the organisation’s CSR programme. The largest exhibit in the hall, the SWIFT stand does what few others manage: to provide a truly multi-functional space that allows the most important element of any exhibition to take centre stage – the delegates themselves.

What the future holds?

In today’s world the only constant is change. Exponential technology growth will affect the world that we all live and work in. The future will see the continual evolution of the events and exhibition industry. Technology is already playing a key role in the events space but demand for this to be more tailored and delivering a real ROI will be key.  This coupled with the ever-growing amount of data that is being collected and shared will all go towards making events more personalised than ever before. Active and experiential learning will become more prevalent and the need for delegates to actively participate in events rather than just being passive will continue to develop.

As an agency, our core mission has always been to deliver exceptional results for our client and our people. Rapiergroup is celebrating its 30th year in 2018. During the last 3 decades the agency has remained agile in developing its service capabilities to constantly meet and exceed our client’s expectations. This will remain our focus for the years ahead to ensure we deliver exceptional events and continue to – get people talking.

This Agency Spotlight is sponsored by Macroart

Macroart challenges the assumptions about a ‘typical print company’. With a fair bit of cool kit to turn clients’ visions into reality, Macroart’s enthusiastic, committed and talented team delivers some of the most complex print projects in live events, retail and interiors.

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Areas of interest
Adam is the co-founder and editor of Adam, a technology evangelist also organises Event Tech Live, Europe’s only show dedicated to event technology and the Event Technology Awards. Both events take place in November, London.