Posted on December 23, 2014

Pop ups banners systems and graphic display systems for exhibitions

Pilgrim Systems Legal IT exhibition stand photoTrade or consumers exhibitions, business seminars, award ceremonies, product launches or even brand re-launches are all areas where display graphics have an important role, not just in branding the event but in quickly communicating key messages and setting the scene/tone from the outset.

In fact room branding is at the most basic end of the display & exhibition spectrum, usually done with popular and versatile Pop Up Banners. The most that we have done for a single event was a group of 7 for the Scottish Archive Network who had a range of different online services to display and a few different events to attend where there was only space for a few of the banners (such as Tartans Day in New York) to be used so they needed to be truly versatile and have some stand alone banners. You can change the graphics on the better quality Pop Up systems but ensure that you specify the correct sizes as they come in different widths when re-ordering, the most popular being 0.8m, 1.0m and 1.2m so choose wisely for re-use.

banner image for RCPEWith Pop Ups you really do get what you pay for, cheap imports have meant that prices have tumbled and they come in a various levels of quality accordingly. We do not use any that are permanently fixed, but understand that they can have a use. The better ones come with a cartridge built into the base where the graphics wind up to roll up into, this gives the banner far more stability when its in use and protects the graphics when not is use or in transit or storage (for 95% of its life). The base ought to have extendable feet for additional stability when in use. We have seen some stands positioned near open doorways where the draft has made unsecured Pop Ups sway a bit, it’s eye catching but not what you want for your brand.

The material that the graphics are printed on also needs consideration. For most uses you want the thicker type that does not curl up at the edges and with a backing colour so that no light shows through from behind, sounds obvious but worth checking before buying. Unless you expect to make use of your banner outdoors then a mesh material can be specified so that your product advert does not turn into a windsurfing board.

Does it come with a carry bag and what is the final weight, important if you need to ship them off in advance or take on board if flying to a show.

How quickly will it go up and is it really a one-man job? Best if you get a demonstration before ordering.

Plumbing Pensions UK banner 2011 with road ahead imageImages, do your images have sufficient resolution to be enlarged to 1.2 metres wide on a Pop Up, or even bigger on full stands? We can tell you in advance but it can be a huge percentage enlargement for items that are not vector based, often too far.  If you are buying library images try to think of the maximum usage size rather than finding the ideal image and then discovering that it cannot be used.

If like most companies your company name and logo run to quite a few characters long then you may be tempted to run it vertically instead of the more familiar horizontal. This hardly ever works as people do not like to tilt their heads over and you are far more familiar with your company name than they are so why make it hard for them to even read your name.

CLE 5 Panel Curved Compact stand design visualColours; your logo will have a Pantone colours references (PMS numbers) but the banners and graphics will be produced CMYK in full process colour.

So PMS equivalents will be used, be prepared for that. The proofing tends to be PDF which is fine for content but not great for colours. The best production houses allow some dialogue and can colour match for you. The cheaper end will just process and deliver. CLE workman silhouette bannerThis can be fine but when you go back to order another banner or make changes (as we did for the CLE banner set) we also sent back a swatch of the original banner to colour match. A little precaution that might not be recognised until the system is brought out at the subsequent event without any nasty surprises. These are the extra value that an experienced design company can add to ensure that your special event is memorable for the right reasons.

Here are examples where lights and furniture are used to create the right first impression and to be more welcoming. They also add precious wall space so display area can be maximised, within reason. Many events are in the UK and are generally walk in shell schemes to be decorated. Here are some visual examples for various clients.

Design & production timing – do allow adequate time for the design, proofing and production of Pop Ups. We would say that 2 weeks for design and changes then after approval allow at least a week for production.

And before you start here are some of the Golden Rules to be aware of:

  1. Create graphics that can work in isolation and preferably do not date
  2. Consider traffic flows before briefing your designer, which direction most people are likely to approach your stand from, cafes, entrances, even WC’s creates traffic flows which can increase stand visibility.
  3. Space is at a premium but ensure you give stand visitors space to read the message. Headlines that are too big to be read from 2 meters away are as bad as text that needs to be read from 50 cm away.
  4. Don’t just measure the width also consider the height, not just if it fits in but will anything obscure the message, and do remember that a small text might be less legible when its 2 meters off the ground.
  5. Some cheaper graphic prints can and will fade in direct sunlight, so be aware.
  6. How good is the rewind mechanism? Many cheap imports don’t work after several days use and you find your graphics either stick inside or outside of the cartridge.
  7. If it is custom made then the warranty will only apply to some of the modular elements. No graphics can be returned after use and any issues ought to be seen and reported before you travel.
  8. Visit the venue before you go, if you cannot consider looking for videos from previous show events, to ascertain the ambient lighting before purchasing your own lighting kit which may not be necessary.  Check the power supply if travelling aboard, and check how many power sockets you get in case you need more for coffee machines, DVD and monitors, lighting and anything else such as plugs for phone chargers.
  9. Practice putting your stand up, why wait till the morning of the big day for the works to see you stand? Putting it up before will give you practice and also highlight any issues.  We’ve seen other clients stands where two units put together in a different configuration actually spells out a different message altogether.
  10. Find out your stand number before you go and invite customers or potential customers to visit you. Make them feel valued by fixing up appointments to see them, get their contact details from the venue to maximise your time at the show and squeeze as much value for money as you can from your investment in attending.
  11.  Take plenty of photos of the stand from all angles as they can be used in blogs, e-mails, websites etc. Also try and get some people in some of the shots so that the event does not look deserted and for scale. These will be of great use when you start to plan next years event.
  12.  Take time to take your stand down carefully and store it properly as it will be needed again and refurbishment costs can be saved just by taking a few precautions.
  13.  Have a contingency in the budget for unknown items, it can happen.

For larger displays and exhibitions read this blog post about the Nikon stands we have built with meeting rooms, DVD monitors, back lit walls and even full kitchens. The largest being 9m x 9m and its amazing how costly it can get to fill 81 square meters with graphic displays, furniture and carpets. And factor in the event venue in Germany, Italy or Russia and you can start to see the complexities.