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Buyers Guide:

Exhibition Stands

The term ‘exhibition stand’ is a category name given to a whole host of promotional advertising products. Being so broad, it’s sometimes difficult to pinpoint the key differences between the hundreds of exhibition stands available. Each one seems to claim to be the best; making it hard to know what product to spend your money on.

We’ve made this dedicated buyers guide to break down the key types of exhibition stands with the aim of making your buying experience as simple, smooth and seamless as possible.

What Is An Exhibition Stand?

"Exhibition stand" can refer to any number of things, but we like to think of it to mean a complete display stand that can be used at corporate events.

There are hundreds of different exhibition stand solutions all of which are designed to make your stand out amongst the crowd, increase sales and boost your brand awareness.

Exhibition stands are completely brandable and customisable. Whether you’re a seasoned exhibitor, or a beginner in the exhibition industry, we have a solution to suit your brand, your event and your space.

Exhibition stands are typically used at B2B exhibitions and events, but they can easily be confused for the stand space itself. For example, a shell scheme booth isn’t an exhibition stand, it’s simply the space an exhibition stand can be used in, so when we talk about exhibition stands, we are referring to the actual display solution itself rather than the space it is in.

To help you understand the mountains of technical jargon mentioned throughout this buyers guide, we’ve created a short glossary surrounding the term “exhibition stand”:

Exhibition Stand Glossary

Exhibition Stand Hire

A full package service whereby you rent out an exhibition stand and corresponding accessories. You do not own any of the stand except for the graphics. Along with the stand, you will receive a project manager who will complete your event paperwork, liaise with your designer and arrange for exhibition contractors to install and dismantle your stand.


A term used to describe an exhibition stand that can be adapted and manipulated to suit different exhibition areas. Usually made up of several smaller displays, reconfigurable stands can be added to or broken down to suit changing marketing campaigns.

Shell Scheme

A walled booth of any given size rented out to exhibitors at events. A shell scheme booth can have one, two or three walls depending on its location within the event hall. Most shell scheme booths are usually adjoined to neighbouring booths and are naturally suited to smaller exhibition stands.


An area of space rented out to an exhibitor at an event. There are no walls or pre-existing framework – you simply pay for the floorspace. As a result of there being no walls or ceiling, your exhibition stand will be seen from all angles. Space-only areas are ideal for larger exhibition stands and hanging structures, but there may well be height restrictions in place, so you will need to check this with the event venue prior to purchasing a display.

Bespoke Exhibition Stand

A completely custom-made exhibition stand solution tailored specifically to your event, exhibition space and brand. Bespoke exhibition stands are a portable, reusable and more affordable alternative to build and burn exhibition stands. Build and burn stands are designed exclusively for one event and one space and cannot be taken down and reused. Bespoke exhibition stands are also designed for a specific exhibition space and offer the same level of impact as build and burn stands, but they can be dismantled and used at other events, too.

Portable Exhibition Stand

Exhibition stands that can be easily transported and stored. Complete with their own carry bags or transport cases, portable exhibition stands can be loaded into the boot of any car and are ideal for brands who attend several events a year as they are a cost-effective solution to exhibiting frequently.

Modular Exhibition Stand

A type of exhibition stand that can be reconfigured to suit different spaces. Typically made up of multiple smaller display stands, modular exhibition stands can easily be adapted to suit different shaped and sized exhibition spaces.

What Can Exhibition Stands Be Used For?

Exhibition stands are extremely versatile and adaptable and can be used just about anywhere. Some of the more popular uses are:

  • Corporate business events
  • Exhibition and events
  • Shell schemes
  • Rebrand events
  • Reception foyers
  • Trade shows
  • Trade and craft fairs
  • Technology expos
  • Awards evenings
  • Marketing and PR events
  • Networking events
  • Photography backdrops and media walls
  • Product launches
  • Retail environments

Regardless of what type of event you are attending, you will find yourself in one of two exhibition areas: space-only or shell scheme.

Space-only exhibition areas will leave your stand exposed from all angles, so a double-sided exhibition stand is always recommended. By having print on both sides of your display, visitors will be able to identify your stand and your brand anywhere in the room.

If permitted, a hanging structure could work exceptionally well in such an open space, as could as a jumbo exhibition stand. The increased height maximises your visibility and will go a long way to driving footfall to your display, especially in an area without framework to differentiate between exhibitors.

Due to the increased size of jumbo exhibition stands and the fact that lots of space-only areas back onto each other, some venues implement rules that state jumbo displays must have plain panels on the rear. This is because it can make adjacent displays look untidy, so always make sure you check before you buy.

Shell scheme booths are different in the sense that you are fairly restricted on what you can do with the space. You can’t purchase an exhibition that is taller than the booth itself because more often than not there will be lighting preventing you from doing so.

Given that shell scheme booths come with between one and three walls, double-sided exhibition stands won’t be an effective solution, meaning you’ll have to think carefully about what type of display you go for.

Most people opt for pop up stands or foamex graphics, but a lot can be done in terms of accessories to really enhance your shell scheme booth and make it stand out from the rest.

Depending on the exhibition stand solution you go for, most displays can used outside of the corporate event setting in reception areas and showrooms.

What Types Of Exhibition Stands Are There?

The most popular and bestselling types of exhibition stands are:

1. Exhibition Lightboxes

Our range of LED Lightboxes have been designed and manufactured to attract attention by illuminating your marketing message helping you to stand out. LED Lightboxes are striking displays that outperform traditional printed stands, especially in dimly lit environments.

LED tension fabric Lightboxes are incredibly versatile and adaptable for events, exhibitions, tradeshows, conferences, POS and networking. They also work particularly well in retail spaces and shopping centres.

  • Tool-free assembly and disassembly
  • Modular linking lightboxes
  • Portable transport cases
  • Powerful integrated LED lighting
  • Simple plug and play operation
  • Double sided SEF fabric graphics
  • Range of sizes available

Exhibition Lightboxes

2. Fabric Exhibition Stands

Fabric exhibition stands are comprised of tubular aluminium frames and double-sided display polyester graphic socks. They are extremely lightweight and have a tool-free assembly, making them the perfect choice for smaller display teams. You can choose from straight, curved and slanted shapes, as well as magnetic and non-magnetic versions.

  • Affordable exhibition stand solution
  • Durable dye-sublimation printing
  • Long lasting artwork
  • Ideal for photography backdrops – non-reflective fabric
  • Reconfigurable options available
  • Easily rebrand and reuse with replacement graphics
  • Tool-free self-assembly

Buy Fabric Exhibition Stands Online

Fabric Exhibition Stands

3. Exhibition Stand Hire

Hire exhibition stands are large format displays that are comprised of modular aluminium frames. Printed graphics are then attached. We offer a selection of predetermined Integra™ exhibition stand kits, but you can build you own stand tailored specifically to your needs. All of our hire kits come as part of a complete service whereby you will receive project management from start to finish.

  • Completely customisable or standard kits available
  • Turn-key exhibition stand service
  • Eco-friendly
  • Hassle-free experience
  • Project management from start to end
  • Installation and dismantling of stand included
  • Lots of accessories to choose from
  • Large format options available

Integra™ Exhibition Stand Hire Kits Bespoke Exhibition Stand Design & Build

4. Pop Up Exhibition Stands

Pop up exhibition stands are the bread and butter of display solutions. They are the most popular solution thanks to their versatility, durability and adaptability. As well as smaller pop up stands, you can also purchase linked pop up stands which are larger format. You can choose rom L-Shaped, U-Shaped and island linked pop ups.

  • Large format display solution
  • Choice of styles and sizes
  • A solution for every budget
  • Single or double sided print available
  • Tool-free assembly
  • Portable – wheeled carry cases provided
  • Complete exhibitor kits include LED lights

Buy Pop Up Exhibition Stands Online

Pop Up Exhibition Stands

5. Shell Scheme Graphics

Shell scheme graphics are designed specifically for use in shell scheme booths. They attach directly the walls of the booth with hook and loop tape or magnetic tape; freeing up floor space and maximising your display area. You can choose from either a rigid foamex material or PVC graphics for your artwork to be printed on.

  • Ideal for smaller exhibition spaces and shell scheme booths
  • Requires no floor space
  • Edge to edge marketing
  • Choose from rigid foamex or PVC graphics
  • Can be taken down and reused at different events
  • Affordable – ideal for smaller marketing budgets

Buy Shell Scheme Graphics Online

Shell Scheme Graphics

6. Centro Exhibition Stands

Centro exhibition stands are modular exhibition stands that can be added to, dismantled and adapted to suit every type of exhibition space available. Centro stands use a unique RotrLink system which means that every component is compatible with the next. Centro is especially good for displaying product ranges because you can add features like the slat wall.

  • Multimedia kits available
  • Ideal for showcasing new products
  • Laminated graphics – extra durability
  • Can be tailored specifically to your brand and event
  • Tool-free assembly – easy for exhibition novices
  • Reconfigurable – mix and match different components

Buy Centro Exhibition Stands Online

Centro Exhibition Stands

7. Twist Exhibition Stands

Twist exhibition stands are comprised of the bestselling Twist banners. The difference between Twist banners and other banner stands is that they can be linked together to create bespoke configurations. They can also be dismantled and used separately in smaller areas. The unique thing about Twist banners is that they have a patented tensioning system which allows the graphics to remain straight and aligned – even on uneven surfaces.

  • Reconfigurable banner stand system
  • Wide range of sizes
  • Budget friendly
  • Patented tensioning technology
  • Ideal for frequent exhibitors
  • Single or double-sided print
  • Ideal for shell scheme booths and space-only areas alike

Buy Twist Exhibition Stands Online

Twist Exhibition Stands

8. Modulate Fabric Exhibition Stands

Modulate fabric exhibition stands are a modular type of fabric display. They are made up of tubular aluminium frames which slot together using a push-fit motion. The difference between Modulate stands and traditional Formulate fabric displays is that Modulate stands feature patented MagLink™ technology within the frames which allows you to link multiple displays together simply by aligning the frames.

  • Reconfigurable fabric display option
  • Wide range of sizes and shapes to choose from
  • Solution for every budget
  • Patented MagLink™ technology
  • Ideal for frequent exhibitors
  • Double sided print as standard
  • Ideal for shell scheme booths and space-only areas alike

Buy Modulate Fabric Exhibition Stands Online

Modulate Fabric Exhibition Stands

9. Exhibition AV Display Stands

We have developed an extensive range of trade show displays that are suitable for every budget, brand and application. This includes a selection of exhibition AV display stands which have monitor brackets incorporated into the design. We decided to create a range of displays with interactive TV brackets included in order to combat a lack of available floor space in smaller venues. You can choose from a range of roller banners, linked pop up stands, Centro or Linear & Vector exhibition stands.

  • Suitable for screens from 17" to 60"
  • Adds an interactive element to you display
  • Helps to boost brand awareness & engagement
  • Available with a wide range of displays
  • Can be used to attract and draw in visitors

Buy Exhibition AV Display Stands Online

Exhibition AV Display Stands

Why Choose XL Displays For An Exhibition Stand?

We have been in the events and exhibition industry for over 20 years and exhibition stands have always been a core display product of ours.

We only ever supply exhibition stands that have been manufactured using premium materials to ensure maximum product quality.

All of our exhibition displays are designed and manufactured in-house giving us complete control over the quality.

We test build every single trade show display in our production area to ensure that every display that is dispatched is in a perfect condition.

We have an in-house exhibition stand design team that can help take the stress away from designing your exhibition stand.

Each customer will benefit from their very own dedicated account manager who will go through each stand solution, making sure you are fully aware of your options.

We can create 3D renders of your display stand so you can see what your brand will look like in situ.

Our products benefit from industry leading warranties and incredible after-sales care.

Our outstanding customer rating demonstrates the quality of our products and the 5* customer service that comes with it.

XL Displays Team