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


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. 

Blank Shell Scheme

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...

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. 

1. Shell Clad Panels and Shell 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.

The image above shows the difference between seamless shell clad panels that go over the aluminium poles, or graphics that fit between the poles. By using the infill panels, you can still achieve the high impact display you desire whilst paying considerably less. To have your shell scheme completely seamless, you need to use rigid wall panels. whereas utilising the infill panels can be either rollable or rigid media.

2. 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. They're an industry favourite due to their portability and ease of use. 

Pop Up Stands are freestanding structures. The Pop Up Stand frame works 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 in to a small case that can fit in any average sized vehicle. 

Pop Up Display Stand Bundle

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.

3. Banner Stands & Literature Racks

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.

Linked Joinable Banner Stand

Banner Stands

Not to be confused with PVC banners, Banner 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 Linked 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 re-used and reconfigured for future displays as well as in retail environments. 

Literature Racks

Literature Racks

Literature holders are used to help customers locate your marketing collateral such as brochures, leaflets and product information. At an exhibition, it's unlikely you'll be able to talk to every single customer that visits your stand, so having your information displayed in a smart, easily accessible literature display is great for converting prospects in to customers. 

There's a range of styles available, and the vast majority are free-standing.

Who can provide my Exhibition Stand products?

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 sales@creative-solutions-direct.co.uk. 


Posted by Rob on September 19th 2016

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