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Ready Made Exhibit Design Solution Types
Exhibit booths solutions run the gamut from small displays for products and sales materials to entire integrated exhibit booths. This article is intended to present the solutions and introduce the vocabulary associated with those solutions. In all cases, we’ve tried to not use trademarks or specific solution trade names associated with solutions (other than those of our company). Our intent is to use general terminology that could be used to search for these types of displays on the internet. For instance the term “pop-up display” is not tied to a specific vendor, but if this term is used in an internet search will turn up several vendors.
How to decide on an exhibit booth design?
Clearly budget plays a role, but bang-for-the buck is the more important factor. So the process of choosing a booth type is remarkably similar to planning one yourself. Consider the 3 M’s of booth design. Message. Movement. Memorable. What is your message? Do you want to sell, generate interest or to inform? Message in hand consider whether the customers (and possibly salespeople) need to move. Consider an exhibit solution to give them room. A simple information message booth design might consist of a banner behind a table with literature. A more complex message (example: the artworks of artists with Aids) might require browsing among artworks. In a sales-driven tradeshow booth, if the product is complex, movement might include the ability to sit down and sign/negotiate a deal. That consideration may cause your booth to need chairs and table or secluded area for discussion. Once the movement needs have been determined, you need to consider what your customers will find memorable. (For more information see companion article on design of tradeshow booths).
Armed with the 3 Ms consider the pre-built exhibit booth alternatives. With each type is listed a general price range. The price considers the booth solutions themselves, not rental cost of the space, drayage or additional fixtures. The pricing is a good faith effort based on a little research. Once you decide on a booth solution, you should shop around to verify the pricing.
We’ve also included a little information on the pluses and minuses of every exhibit booth display option. Since situations of exhibitors vary, please consider these carefully. Will you need to carry the entire booth in, or pay drayage? Will your personnel be able to set up the booth, or are union electricians and laborers required?
Modular displays are the most expensive prebuilt solution. ($2000 and up, perhaps 10,000 on average) They also allow the most flexibility in exhibit booth layout. A wonderful plus is that the same booth can be reconfigured in a new way for a different tradeshow. Options can include little set aside alcoves for closing sales or intensive private discussions of projects; stage areas for presentations; electronic panel displays for video.
Variations include Truss Trade Show Displays. Truss Displays can become very complex, are sturdy and can support elaborate lighting and electronic panel displays.
Advantages include flexibility, strong design elements supporting technology (videos, sound, computer, interactive kiosks). Disadvantages are cost to have made; cost to set up; time to set up and tear down display; drayage costs.
Popup Displays are lightweight easy to set up displays with a splash of graphics. Usually the popup is constructed to unfold, lock into place and cover with enclosed fabric, which attaches easily to the frame by various methods. They are relatively inexpensive to have built ($600 and up); require no special tools to set up; are easy to transport.
Signage can either be printed on the covering or attached with Velcro. Velcro attached graphics are easier to update.
The advantages of a popup display have made it very popular with medium sized companies. Smaller companies on a tight budget may be able to buy a used popup display and reprint the graphics. Disadvantages also include that you can’t vary the configuration, and although the popups are stable, they aren’t designed to support additional weight and cannot be made with unusual features like windows or platforms.
Panel Booth Displays
Panel booth displays are assembled from rigid panels to make a structure. Panels might be reconfigurable and might be able to support weight; have windows or platforms. Panels can also be curved and support electronics. However, panel booths can be more expensive (for the size), heavy to transport, harder to set up. (Costs start low, but typical solutions are $700 and up, varying by size.)
Signage/Banner Based Displays
This is a broad category for exhibit booth solutions embracing the high and low end of designs. While simple stands can be inexpensive, large dramatic signage banners can be the center of high-end attention-getting and memorable tradeshow booths. Banners, signage and sales literature stands are often incorporated into other solutions.
Display Stands & Banner Stands
The simplest exhibit booth design solutions exist to present sales materials. The two categories consist of display stands and banner stands. Display stands present materials like sales flyers. They may also be referred to as literature racks. Banner stands allow a poster or banner to be free standing. The banners are typically vinyl and the stands either metal or PVC. However cloth and translucent materials can also be printed and used (we have a translucent material for signage called Chameleon™). Some are referred to as free standing sign holders. Typically these solutions are coupled with pipe and drape displays rented for the tradeshow booth. (Costs run about $100-200 per display rack or banner stand. Remember that multiple racks or banner stands may be needed.)
Some banner stands are retractable and some have lighting on the top edge.
Variants are Pavement Signs, Display Cabinets and some posters and frames.
Although this simple technique sounds more like simply part of a booth furnishing, complete solutions can be developed with Display Stands and Banner Stands.
Creative Twist: Consider a creative arrangement of banner stands. Banner Stands can be arranged as spokes of a wheel in the center of a booth, or can be arranged in another interesting pattern like an aisle way.
Large Banner Solutions/ Exhibition Display Graphics
Perhaps the simplest attention getter is a large banner. Some of the lower end banners are vinyl like their smaller cousins, but high end materials can add to interest. Foe example, translucent banners and translucent signs can produce lighting effects. Some forms of these banners can handle front or rear projections (be careful of lighting in projection settings). For a banner that can do more consider Chameleon™ which can be printed with signage or images, see through, or can be a projection surface. Chameleon comes in large sizes (15 foot x 50 foot is not uncommon) and is economical to print. These can also be used as walls, either curved or straight. Holes can be cut into these walls for windows in showrooms.
Advantages to a banner solution are versatility, light weight to transport (reduces shipping cost), ease in handling, relative low cost for space design, attention getting color splash, special effect capability. Additionally turnaround of banners/signs takes only a few weeks. Disadvantages include need to hang the banner/wall/signage. Translucent banners/ signs are not especially durable.
Table Top Tradeshow Displays
Tabletop displays are a modest solution. Similar to a pop-up or panel display in design, just smaller. Like the name suggests the display sits on top of a table. These solutions are the cheapest premade exhibit booth solution. (Cost about $400-600)
Other Exhibit Display Options
Kiosk exhibit solutions almost deserve a section for themselves in this article. Kiosk displays are freestanding and usually house an interactive display (maybe a computer). Kiosks can be the entire exhibit design or part of a larger modular design.
Pipe and Drape solutions tend to be the standard rental solution. The obvious advantage is simplicity. You can usually rent carpet and furniture from the same rental firm. The disadvantage is that unless they are coupled with more interesting signage, or fixtures pipe and drape designs tend to be unmemorable.
Buying a ready made solution is only as good as the underlying design. In some situations a smaller booth with a very good design can save money. In other cases the smaller booth that doesn’t draw attention or allow proper interaction may be a simple waste of money. Before you purchase a solution consider whether a customer will walk away and remembering your booth. Will that booth enforce your brand or entice?
Like this article? Try How to Design an Exhibit Booth.