A beginners guide to exhibitions, spaces & systems

This handy guide explains everything you need to know about exhibition stand options…

There are three basic exhibition stand spaces you can choose to book: Shell Scheme, Space Only or Island.

Shell Schemes are a very popular choice. They look like rows or ‘corridors’ of terraced aluminum uprights forming walls which are made from rigid foamex panels. You can book one Shell scheme plot or several together to create a larger stand space.

Space Only plots are set in rows similar to Shell Scheme, but with no pre-existing structure to segment the stand spaces. You will be required to create your own structure and dividing walls (if you want any).  Unlike the three sided Schell Scheme, the lack of structure in Space Only plots allows an exhibitor to build a stand of various shapes and sizes without the restriction of walls.

Islands are just that. They will sit apart from any other stands and will not have any pre-existing structure or neighbors. These sites are the most expensive and will generally host custom stands.

The cost of stand spaces varies depending on the size, for example 3 x 2 or 3 x 3. Cost also depends on what type of space you have booked and the position of it within the exhibition hall.

After you have chosen your exhibition stand space, you will want to consider which stand system will work best for you. Consider the features of the systems available including their:

  • Functionality – What do you need it to do? Display products or a presentation? Be interactive? Include storage?
  • Transportability – Do you want to be able to carry it yourself? Do you have transport or would you need to hire any?
  • Configurability – Will you re-use it for other events or spaces, if yes, you need it to be re-configurable.
  • Durability – Does it need to last? If so, invest in premium hardware and graphics.
  • Price – Decide what is more important: Low up-front costs and one-time use Vs Higher up-front costs and greater medium to long term Return On Investment (ROI)?

The systems

Variations of systems are being brought to market all the time, but this guide will give you an introduction to the basic types available to you.

Pull Up/Roller Banners are lightweight and portable and are available for a range of budgets. The graphic is attached to the base of the system and rolls up inside the base when it is not being used, making them easy to store. When they are being used, the graphic is pulled up from the base and attached to a pole, which holds it up.

Don’t be tempted by the very cheap options as they break easily and the graphics are printed on inferior material, which can curl or be slightly transparent.

Roller Banners have traditionally been standalone systems, but now a seamlessly linkable version is available, called the Link2.

Two or more Link2 systems are fixed together to create a seamless back wall of graphics. They are flexible and portable making them an affordable choice for small to medium Shell Scheme spaces.

They are also a flexible and professional looking option for Space Only plots, thanks to their ability to create a wall of graphics. They can be used alonsgide other systems as an impressive backdrop.

Pop Up Display systems or Pop-up Display Units (PDUs), are lightweight, portable aluminum curved or straight frames that are transported in wheeled hard cases. Rather than ‘pop-up’, they are actually pulled up and expand into a fixed structure. Onto this structure rollable graphics are attached magnetically, which forms a seamless backdrop of graphics.

Pop-up displays can be used as a standalone feature alongside other systems and create depth and interest on a large Shell Scheme plot due to their curved shape that stands away from the walls.

However, they are not ideal for small stand spaces due to their depth.

They also work well in medium sized Space Only or Island plots as standalone structures or linked, using “Ghost panels”, to form a wall of graphics.

 


Graphics onto Shell Scheme

If you want to utilize the existing wall structure of your Shell Scheme plot, you can purchase graphic panels in two forms: rollable or rigid.

Rigid panels are produced using Foamex boards. They require delivery by a dedicated courier to prevent damage. They are less portable, and therefore less popular than rollable graphics, which can be carried to the exhibition in shoulder bags.

Mounting your graphics directly to the wall panels, in between the aluminum uprights, will give you a segmented display of graphics.

If you prefer your walls to have seamless graphics, you can clad the Shell Scheme using Shell Clad. Shell Clad is a device that clips onto aluminum uprights, allowing the graphics to be mounted over the top of the uprights, producing a seamless effect.

Shell Clad looks very professional, but the drawback is that the hardware sizing can vary slightly depending on the manufacturer. This means your graphics may not fit Shell Schemes at other exhibitions, and could require re-printing for subsequent events.

When you are getting your graphics designed for a Shell Scheme stand, it is advisable to let the designer know how you intend to mount the graphics so the design can be tailored. If you are going to use Shell Clad, tell your graphics printer the name of the Shell Scheme manufacturer or the name of the exhibition so they can ensure the cladding will fit.

Modular systems come in a variety of forms. The beauty of these systems is that they are re-configurable, making them re-usable not only at other exhibitions, but in other spaces where a display is required.

Investing in a modular system gives you the option to change around its structure, height and layout, use and swap around a range of integrated features, such as shelving, monitors and iPad holders.

They offer a premium look and a good level of customisation. Plus, depending on your experience, it is possible to build and breakdown the stand yourself, saving on some installation and transport costs.

The ability to integrate media transforms them into interactive stands and their flexible nature makes them suitable for creating displays back at the office in receptions and meeting rooms.

These systems are an affordable, portable and re-usable alternative to custom-made stands and offer a greater scope for creativity and ROI than some of the cheaper display system alternatives.

Custom/Bespoke stands have no limitation on creativity. They are usually made from MDF, so strictly are not systems at all, are finished with either Foamex graphic panels or vinyl graphics and are at the higher end of exhibition budgets. Some are also a combination of modular system and bespoke display pieces.

They will require a crew to build and break down the stand and for the exhibition contractor to transport it. They can be designed for use at more than one exhibition, but may require refurbishment after breakdown before they would be ready for the next event.

These are the most expensive systems and are favored by the brand giants because they can be created to specific and individual specifications and therefore provide the greatest scope for creativity.

Now you know the basics, you can start to plan your exhibition. Depending on your resources and budget, you may require support in getting your event off the ground and we can help with that too. Check out our Exhibition Management Services, to see what support we could offer you. 

Get inspired by our stand design concepts – search by stand size, system type or space booked. 

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Mill Lane, Maldon
Essex CM9 4LD

T: 01376 521007
E: team@advancedigitalgraphics.co.uk

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At Advance Digital Graphics, we know that visual displays can be incredibly effective marketing tools for any business. We’re passionate about helping our clients communicate to existing and prospective customers in this creative and exciting way.