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What are shell schemes and what can you do to stand out? 

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What is a Shell Scheme?

Shell scheme is a term commonly used in the exhibition industry. It's the most common type of stand or booth that exhibitors are assigned when you book a space at an exhibition. To put it simply, a shell scheme consists of a box-style design supported by vertical aluminium poles, held together by aluminium cross poles at the top and bottom. It's important to note that not all shell schemes are the same, each provider will have slight differences in sizes and shapes. When you sign up to an exhibition, the organiser should send you a specification that tells you the type of shell scheme and the sizes.

It commonly comes in one metre breaks or modules (hence why it's described as a modular system) and is arranged by the exhibition organiser. Whilst very basic in their nature, there is a lot that can be done to transform a shell scheme without spending too much.

The big problem that exhibitors have when you're assigned a shell scheme is how to make it look good. The shell schemes are incredibly unimaginative by nature, in order to maximise your time spent at the exhibition you want to make sure you're doing everything you can to attract customers to your stand. It's commonly suggested that you have between 2-4 seconds to grab a passing customers attention... so shell scheme graphics can make all the difference.

What Is A Shell Scheme? How Do You Make It Look Good?

How can I make my Shell Scheme Look Good?

Dressing your shell scheme doesn't need to be a complicated process.

There is a range of options that can create a high impact branded appearance, with both short term and long term options. Below is a detailed list of options that are commonly used by exhibitors.


Before you head off to your exhibition, plan out the space you have available, the 'flow' you would like your stand to offer, free space for moving around in, and capturing peoples attention on certain focal points, and where your furniture/decorations are going to go. Have several layouts to mind that suit your organisation/company, and the type of client/customer you are trying to attract. Everyone will have a different layout to mind, whether they are a big corporation, or a small time start-up - there is no right or wrong answer, only what suits you and your business.


At the end of the day when people are discussing the delights of the exhibition they went to, you want to be the first one they recall! Shell Scheme stands means it is important to be well organised, tidy and use the space efficiently. But you should also be sure that your visitors remember you for the right reasons. How can you do that? Make sure to give out up-to-date contact details, branded material that matches your image (brochures, business cards, magazines, leaflets, pamphlets etc.) This will make it much easier for them to find you on the internet and across Social Media platforms after the event.

Want to offer something different other than printed material?

Promotional merchandise doesn't need to break the bank, can be fun, reusable and recyclable! Why not try pens, notepads, USB's, chocolate, mouse mats and wrist-rests, stress balls and more!


You are only limited by your imagination, creativity and vision (and if you're in short supply, don't worry, we are exhibition experts and can help you!) You should know that your stand needs to encourage people to pause, be interested, and maybe step up to ask you a few questions, instead of simply walking past. Anything you can brand can give your stand a WOW-factor, from pop-up displays, promotional flags, branded bunting, lightboxes, LCD holders, brochure stands - there are so many choices out there!


Like moths, we are naturally drawn to the brighter option if choosing between the dark and light. By introducing light fixtures to your walls, you can create an open, inviting display, making your stand more enticing than your dimly lit competitor. From spotlights, to freestanding lightboxes, LCD TV's mounted to embed within your shell design seamlessly; these small additions can be the finishing flourish and create the perfect atmosphere for conversation, especially if paired with a freeby and a well placed counter.

If you are new to exhibitions, or are planning on doing a tour but don't have the storage for all decorations and resources, there are lots of options on the market for convertible units (storage to counter top) to allow you space saving tricks when its time to pack up.

We have worked with a full range of clients and businesses, so have lots of examples and product knowledge to let you know what would work well with your vision.

Get in touch to discuss your options

A New Portable Modular Fabric Shell Scheme Exhibition Stand that fits within a shell scheme booth!


Fabric Shell Scheme Exhibition Stands

Approx cost: £300-£2,500

The world of exhibition displays is changing rapidly to accommodate the need to be more eco-conscious, have a stand that's reusable at multiple events in your marketing calendar AND be highly portable.

Fabric Shell Scheme Exhibition Stands are an all-new way of dressing a shell scheme space that doesn't require large rollable or rigid graphic panels, clips or clunky cases to transport all your gear.

Our range of Fabric Exhibition Stands fit neatly within a range of shell scheme stand spaces including popular 3x3, 3x2, 4x4, and even larger 6x3  booths, with options available for 1, 2 or 3 wall stands.

They are simply a lightweight and strong aluminium framework with your double-sided printed graphic that fits over the frame like a giant sock, the tension fit creates a wrinkle-free and highly vibrant display for your brand, product promotion or service offering. You can then easily clip multiple sizes stands together for a modular and reconfigurable stand, and the specially created feet mean you do not invade neighbouring stands underneath the shell scheme framework, they are also completely freestanding for space-only stands! This all then fits nicely in a supplied holdall carry bag that can easily fit in a staff members hatchback for easy transport and storage, with most kits weighing less than 10kg.

There's a great range of additional accessories available too including lighting, shelves and a TV mount.

We've created a range of bundle options for popular size shell scheme stand spaces, and can also create custom bundles if required. Can't find one that suits? Not a problem! We are also able to custom manufacture frames and graphics to any requirement.

Explore Fabric Shell Scheme Exhibition Stands


Shell Clad Panels and Clips

Approx cost: £250-£600

One of the biggest limitations of shell schemes is the vertical aluminium poles don't lend themselves very well to adding graphics. The issue stems from the fact that the posts stand proud of the panels behind, meaning there isn't a flat wall that you can simply attach graphics too. The solution? Shell clad clips and panels. Shell clad uses a simple adaptor that clips over the aluminium poles and joins flush with the wall, creating a perfect flat surface for attaching graphics too. They're commonly supplied in 800mm lengths, meaning there's 3 to each panel. 

What you can then do with shell clips, is attach printed rollable graphics across each panel, and join them together seamlessly to create a stunning backwall. The graphics are pre-cut to your exact shell scheme size, meaning you just unroll them, and put them up on the wall. Think of it like wallpaper, only without the creases and hassle!

It's a simple, inexpensive solution to creating a fully branded exhibition stand. Whilst there's no guarantee the panels you buy for one shell scheme will fit another, with sensible design it's often the case that the printed panels can be re-used at future events. 

There's a host of different materials you can use with shell clad panels. Popular products include Magiclad Exhibition Panels, a rigid yet rollable substrate, or Foamex PVC Exhibition Panels which are rigid.

View Shell Scheme Panels


Pop Up Display Stands

Approx cost: £350-£900

Pop Up Exhibition Stands can either be used in conjunction with shell clad panels or as a standalone product. Pop Up Stands are exactly as they sound, a large-format display stand with graphics printed on them. They're an industry favourite due to their portability and ease of use. 

Pop Up Stands are freestanding structures. The Pop Up Stand frameworks via the connection of cross-bracing struts that allow a collapsed stand to shrink to around 17cm x 17cm x 80cm, which can then expand to form a wall of over 2 metres by 2 metres! It's this incredible transformation that makes it such a popular stand. Transporting is simple as the stand simply collapses into a small case that can fit in any average-sized vehicle.

Pop Up Stands come in a huge range of shapes and sizes and can be a flexible way to create a large-format display. They can be straight, curved or L-shaped to work around corners.  the graphics panels can be changed over with ease to create an entirely new display, meaning you don't have to replace the hardware. What's more, the framework itself can be joined together with other styled pop-ups to create a new shape and fit any display area. For example, if you had a straight display, it could join with an L shaped pop up to work around a bend.

Explore Pop Up Display Stands


Banner Stands

Approx costs £60-£500

Banner stands, literature racks, and display counters are popular exhibition stand accessories to help fill out the stand and promote your products or services. When utilised well, they can be a fantastic professional addition to your stand that can be used time and time again.

Not to be confused with PVC bannersBanner Stands are essentially pull-up stands that roll out of a solid base. They are free-standing and are custom printed with your branding. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so chances are there will be one that fits your needs exactly.

A standard Banner Stand is approximately 800mm in width and around 2000mm in height. They're an excellent and highly adaptable marketing tool focused around good imagery and a strong call to action, supplementing the main product offering.

A particularly interesting option for many marketers is the linkable banner stands. Products such as the Twist, or the Link2 range, can be seamlessly joined together to work around corners. They can be used in conjunction with or instead of exhibition wall panels, and of course, can be reused and reconfigured for future displays as well as in retail environments. 

Shop Banner Stands


Exhibition Stand Accessories

Approx costs £60-£500

Lighting, Counters, Literature Racks, LCD Monitor Mounts, Tablet Holders, Replacement Graphics, and more!

Literature holders are used to help customers locate your marketing collateral such as brochures, leaflets and product information. Having your information displayed in a smart, easily accessible literature display is great for converting prospects in to customers.

Carry Cases & Graphics protectors are a must between displays and to protect your art whilst in storage! We offer a large range of graphic bags for any size of kit to keep it safe.

Portable Plinths, Counters & Lecterns are brilliant as they can be converted into storage during and after the exhibition. We offer a full range of styles and sizes, as well as printed graphics to match your branding and stall.


Transforming your basic shell scheme in to a colourful, professional promotional display needn't be a challenge. With some high quality printed products, you can really make a difference and stand out from competitors. We've got over 20 years of experience in the exhibition industry, and can talk you through the different options to suit different budgets.

To start the conversation on your shell scheme, speak to our friendly team on 01297 630130 or email us at 

Posted by Samantha on September 6th 2023

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