Trade Show TalesBlog

Archive for April, 2023

Trade Show Banners: Pop Up Vs. Retractable

April 25th, 2023 COMMENTS
trade show banners

Trade show banner stands are lightweight portable displays with single or double-sided graphics. They usually assemble without tools and pack in carrying bags or rolling cases which makes them ideal for retail and trade show signage, events, and trade fairs.  Banner stands come in a variety of sizes, styles, and prices. And are available from suppliers on the Internet and from your local exhibit house or display provider. 

A quick search for “Banner Stands” on the Internet will list hundreds (if not thousands) of vendors, styles, and price ranges. It can seem overwhelming.  Understanding your options will make the selection process much easier. Let’s break it down into 5 categories:

Simple Retractable Banner Stands

These are the most common. Prices start at $99 with graphics to over $1000. Why such a range? It comes down to the mechanical quality of the stand, printing materials and method, size, and whether the stand is single or double-sided. There’s no real magic or trickery. The higher the price, the more features and quality. 

Basic Non-Retractable Banner Stands: By and large, these tend to be fiberglass or aluminum frames with a one-sided graphic. They’re basic and somewhat bullet-proof as long as they’re not abused. 

Pop-up Banner Stands: If you’ve ever set up a pop-up display, then you’ll recognize these as scaled-down versions. Pop-up banner stands are compact, durable, and offer the benefit of one large graphic or multiple smaller graphics.

Tube Stands with Pillowcase Graphics: Tube frames, typically 1.25” in diameter, slide together without tools. They’re indestructible and offer the benefit of a two-sided fabric graphic that slides, much like a sock, over the frame. Tube stands come in a variety of sizes and shapes including curves.

SEG Banner Stands: SEG stands are the most professional looking, but the upscale appearance comes at a higher price. The frames are made with engineered aluminum, ensuring they’ll last for years. The graphics fit into a perimeter groove on the frame for a perfect fit. Best of all, SEG banner stands can be backlit which is guaranteed to attract attention! 

Reasons to Invest in Trade Show Banners

If you are looking for an effective and affordable way to promote your business or organization, banner stands are a great option. They are portable, easy to set up, and durable. They can be customized to fit your needs and budget.

Features of Banner Stands:

  • Portable: Banner stands are lightweight and easy to transport, making them ideal for use at events and trade shows.
  • Easy to Set Up: Banner stands can be set up in minutes, without any tools or special skills.
  • Durable: Many banner stands are made from high-quality materials that can withstand the elements.
  • Customizable: Banner stands can be customized with your company’s logo, branding, and messaging.

Benefits of Banner Stands:

  • Increased Visibility: Banner stands are a great way to increase your brand’s visibility at events and trade shows. They can help you to attract new customers and generate leads.
  • Improved Sales: Banner stands can help you to improve sales by promoting your products or services to potential customers.
  • Strong Marketing Message: Banner stands can help you to communicate your marketing message effectively. They can be used to promote special offers, events, or new products.
  • Positive Brand Image: Banner stands can help you to create a positive brand image. They can help you to make a good impression on potential customers and partners.

4 Retractable Trade Show Banners

1. V-Stand Retractable Banner Stand

v stand trade show banner

The V-Stand’s clean utilitarian styling, silver finish, easy set-up and breakdown with Econo UV graphics make it an amazing value on the market. Comes with a black padded carrying bag and a 3-year warranty.

2. PRONTO Retractable Banner Stand

retractable trade show banner

There are banner stands… and then there are excellent banner stands. The Pronto Retractable Banner Stand is a reasonably priced, high-quality banner stand that’s engineered to last for years. To assemble, simply attach the pole perpendicular to the base and pull the banner upward to the mast. It’s that easy.

3. PRONTO2 2-Sided Retractable Banner Stand

pop up trade show banners

Same quality as the Pronto but double-sided. Each unit comes with dye-sublimated graphics. Unlike other banners, Pronto graphics will always be flat, glare-free, and colorful. Warranty? How about a lifetime on every banner stand? Now that’s a good banner stand.

4. SUMMIT Telescopic Banner Stand

While not specifically a retractable banner stand, the Summit has a telescoping mask to adjust the height. Available in a black or silver finish. Choose a 50 W stem light for additional visibility. 

4 Pop Up Trade Show Banners

1. X1 2.5 ft. — 1×3 C Fabric Pop-Up Display

trade show banner options

The X1 Display is a versatile no tools stretch fabric pop-up display system. Available designs and custom display options bring excitement and flexibility to your exhibit. The X1 is easy to set up, ultra-lightweight and portable, and even easier to take down. 

2. X1 2.5 ft. — 1×3 O Fabric Pop-Up Display

trade show fabric banner

The collapsible X1 pop-up frame uses magnetic connectors with the option of J-hook connectors for more custom or weight-bearing displays. Stretch fabric graphics come pre-attached to the frame and are easily changed out in the field! Kits come with graphics, a frame, and a drawstring carry bag. 

3. NEXT! 3 ft. Backlit Radiance Display

backlit trade show banner

Go bright or go home. NEXT! Backlit SEG Pop Up is truly an innovator. It combines the upmarket hard panel looks of custom SEG extrusion systems with the capability of backlighting with no tools assembly.

4. NEXT! 3 ft. Display

retractable trade show banners

Don’t settle for lower quality 4 and 6-color SEG graphics – With NEXT! Modular SEG Fabric Systems, your graphics will be printed HD Grand Format 8-color, then sewn and finished to perfection by professionals. Our special fabric is FR coated and when installed the graphics are unmistakable at any event. 

4 Other Types of Trade Show Banners

1. VK-1860D | DS Sunrise Banner Stand

trade show banners

The double-sided SEGUE Sunrise offers all the advantages of a traditional banner stand — portability, ease of set-up, and a large graphic – with the benefits of a large format SEG tension fabric graphic, durable aluminum frame, and no-tools assembly.

2. TF-600 Aero Banner Stand

Unlike traditional banner stands which are rectangle and single-sided, Aero tension fabric banner stands can be almost any shape and are almost always two-sided. The frame assembles with push-button connectors, requiring no tools. The graphic slides over the frame like a pillowcase and secures with a zipper. It’s that easy.

3. MOD-1615D | Lightbox w/ Shelves

lightbox banner with shelves

The SEGUE Lightboxes with Shelves take a familiar concept, lightboxes, and transform them into a two-sided billboard using lightweight aluminum and tension fabric graphics. Better yet, these are not ordinary graphics. They are silicone edge graphics or SEG. With SEG, your graphics are perfect every time; there’s no guesswork since the silicone fits into the pre-existing aluminum channel.

4. VK-1861 | Sunrise Banner Stand

sunrise banner stand

Assembly takes less than 10 minutes. Best of all, the silicone edge graphic guarantees a perfect fit every time, and the fabric graphics mean worry-free performance from show to show. You can even wash them. The Sunrise is the perfect choice for a banner stand that looks amazing and will last for years.

Trade Show Banners with Classic Exhibits

Choosing the right banner stand shouldn’t take hours of research. It should be easy. At Classic Exhibits we have a wide range of solutions, all designed to meet your specific marketing needs and budget. Let us assist you with selecting a banner stand that checks every box. 

Classic Exhibits has been designing and building solutions since 1993. We’ve been honored as an Exhibitor Magazine Find-It Top 40 Exhibit Producers and an Event Marketer Fab 50 Exhibit Builders multiple times. Along with numerous Portable Modular Awards. 

With over 200 Distributor Partners throughout North America, there’s a Classic representative close by to assist with any project. Contact us today whether you need an inline rental display, a double-deck island exhibit, or a contemporary kiosk rental. At Classic, we’re not just different. We’re better.

Designing for Digital Signage at Trade Shows

April 13th, 2023 COMMENTS

Our thanks to Popshap for inviting Classic Exhibits on their Beyond Interactive video/podcast channels . Mel White from Classic Exhibits and Eitan Magid and Dahlia Lopez from Popshap discuss digital signage and interactive technologies. These technologies are a relatively new element on the exhibition floor. In our conversation, we review current trends in the exhibit industry and how digital signage and interactive kiosks are becoming an essential tool for exhibitors.

To explore Popshap’s digital signage solutions, visit them at or their product gallery in Exhibit Design Search.

Behind the Scenes Interview– Marlys Arnold, Author of Build a Better Trade Show Image

April 3rd, 2023 COMMENTS

When Marlys Arnold wrote the book, Build a Better Trade Show Image, her goal was to create a how-to manual for new exhibitors. Since then, her book has been a must-read guide in the trade show industry for over 20 years. The updated version includes many new examples of creative exhibit designs, promotions, attractions and beyond. You’ll find fresh ideas, as well as advice that has stood the test of time.

Marlys was kind enough to answer some of our questions about the book, her background, and the challenge of updating Build a Better Trade Show Image.

Why did you write the book in the first place?

When I wrote the first edition, I had been collecting notes and ideas as I either walked a show or when I exhibited or worked at shows. So basically it was the how-to manual that I wish I would have had as a beginning exhibitor. I wanted to walk people through the entire process of what to do before, during, and after the show to have better results and really make it more worth their time and investment.

Why did you use the analogy of building a house?

Even if someone hasn’t actually built their own house, they understand the concept that first you have to lay the foundation, then you build the framework. Once you get the house built, then you work on the interior and you want to have good curb appeal. There were all these different pieces that I could then align with the process of doing a trade show. Building the foundation is the idea of setting goals and preparing for the show ahead of time. Curb appeal is doing your promotions and getting attention and drawing people into your booth. So there were a lot of ways that I could draw those parallels between the two ideas.

So what prompted you to revise the book?

marlys arnold

When I initially wrote and debuted it back in 2002, I never had any idea that I ever would do it again. I really didn’t ever plan on doing it again. But over the years, people began asking if I would consider doing an updated edition. And especially about the time that we all went into lockdown, I had people starting to ask because there were things in the first edition, like we don’t use faxes anymore. And then there were a lot of brand new things … social media didn’t exist back then, and people didn’t carry smartphones in their pockets back then. So there were a lot of new ways and new strategies that people could implement now that weren’t even available to us way back then.

So I finally decided it was a good idea — but I should have started on it a little sooner than what I did and worked on it during lockdown. Instead, late in 2021 I got the idea to starting the second edition just as everything was opening up and we were all starting to get really busy again.

How have face-to-face events changed, especially post-pandemic?

Well that’s a tough one because I would like to say yes, they’ve changed dramatically and they’ve improved. But unfortunately, in a lot of ways — a lot of the wrong ways — they haven’t. Walking shows now, I still see what I call the Ten Commandments of Booth Staffing, things like people eating in the booth, people sitting and ignoring the traffic that’s walking by. There’s still all this bad behavior.

We had this wonderful opportunity during lockdown to completely revise and improve and move forward. And a lot of exhibitors and a lot of shows didn’t really take advantage of that opportunity. So now is a good time to just reset and move forward and do a better job. My goal is to see every exhibitor at every show have the best show they’ve ever had now, as opposed to last year or even pre-lockdown. I want to see exhibitors take the strategies and tools and really build on it and make their shows more productive and more valuable.

What was the most challenging part of doing the update?

Well, there were a lot of parts that were more challenging than I expected. I mean, just things like trying to do some of the research and find updated statistics. Sometimes it was really tough to find updated studies or research that correlated with what was there 20 years ago. And of course there are a lot of companies that are gone, so there were industry resources that don’t exist anymore. Other than CEIR, which obviously has great statistics — but some of the other stats were hard to research now.

It was also tough because everybody was starting to get busy right about the time that I began working on the new edition. I remember one person in particular that I reached out to in June or July, and I was finally able to do an interview with him in October so that I could include his story in the book. It was challenging trying to gather all of the great examples and information that I really wanted to include, but of course there’s no way to ever include everything. I squeezed in as much as I could, but obviously I couldn’t fit everything into the book.

So who’s the audience for this book?

Ultimately, I wrote it with the hope that it will be relevant to any exhibitor, no matter the level of experience or size or what industry that they’re in. I include a lot of very universal principles in there, but my passion is always to help the newbie exhibitor, somebody who’s just getting started, or maybe a really small company. A lot of exhibitors that I’ve consulted with over the years have been those in the 10’x10’ or 10’x20’ spaces, because they know they need to work hard to try to compete and get attention when there’s all these huge booths and household-name exhibitors on the show floor.

I know right now it’s definitely a challenge because so many people have left the industry. Long-term exhibitors and vendors — people that had years or decades of experience are now gone. And so a lot of the people who are coming in are newbies that have zero experience and don’t know what they’re doing.

I really want the book to be a tool that they can pick up and use. Over the years, I’ve heard a lot of exhibitors say they use it as a how-to manual, and that’s really what I wrote it to be. But I’ve also included a lot of next-level ideas in there as well. So even somebody who’s been exhibiting for 10 or 15 years can pick up the book and discover new tips and examples and find some aha moments that they can implement as well.

And finally, what are two or three pieces of advice you’d share with your clients about trade show success?

The key is what you do before, during, and after the show — because it’s not just what happens on the show floor, and it’s also not just a checklist of things to do. A lot of times exhibitors that have been doing shows for a long time may just look at it as a checklist: We have to get our booth designed, we have to order our promotional products for giveaways. They’re not really looking at the strategy behind it all. It’s just become a routine. It’s almost like they’re on autopilot.

So what I really tell exhibitors is focus on the strategy. Why are you going? What are you wanting to accomplish? What is your core message? Then use that and work backwards and figure out what are the tasks that I need to do, or even better … what are the things that I should include, or the things I should not include that don’t necessarily enhance that strategy.

Another thing is, like I mentioned earlier, the whole idea of what I call the Ten Commandments — having good booth staff behavior. That can be as simple as paying attention and being engaged in the booth, instead of checking your cell phone, or everybody on your team standing around in a huddle, having a conversation instead of being proactive and interacting with the people that walk by. I think there’s still a lot of room for improvement, even with long-time exhibitors. I go to shows like EXHIBITORLive, and I still see a lot of these bad booth behaviors. So it’s something that everybody has to consciously work on and make sure that they’re putting their best face forward in the booth.

 About Marlys

As an exhibit marketing strategist, Marlys Arnold combines image expertise and real-world marketing experience with a passion for trade shows. Not only has she been an exhibitor, but also the organizer of several expos and events. This unique perspective of the industry allows her to share new insights with both beginning and experienced exhibitors, teaching how to create experiential exhibits that produce significantly higher numbers of qualified leads.

She’s led workshops for groups including Meeting Professionals International (MPI), the International Association of Exhibitions & Events (IAEE)TSNN and EXHIBITOR, as well as providing exhibitor training for events in a variety of industries, ranging from local consumer expos to some of the largest trade shows in the U.S.

Marlys K. Arnold, ImageSpecialist
Educator & Advocate for Trade Show Success

Author of:
   – Exhibit Design That Works
   – Build a Better Trade Show Image
Founder of the Exhibit Marketers Academy
Host of the Trade Show Insights blog/podcast