MARKETING EVENT GUIDE TO MODULAR STANDS: Choosing your supplier

The kind of display you chose will depend on your requirements, but

the following descriptions cover the main categories of display you will

find:



Banner Displays



Relative newcomers to exhibition display, Banners are standalone

structures that support a single graphic 'drop', usually not more than

2m high and 1m wide. These can be used effectively as information points

on larger stands, or in a line for a 'gallery' effect to provide a very

quick and effective way of displaying a graphic message at relatively

low cost.



Options available include integral lighting, double-sided units and

ability to link units for larger displays. The actual mechanism for

assembly varies greatly, as does weight.



Pop-ups



As the name suggests, folding structures which expand to form a frame

that can carry large format graphics for high-impact, instant

displays.



The most common pop-up units are approximately 2-2.5m wide and 1.8-2m

high and take either three or four vertical graphic 'drops' which adhere

magnetically to the frame. Although pop-ups were originally designed

primarily as graphics carriers, some suppliers offer a wide range of

different modules that enable the design and construction of some fairly

elaborate exhibition stands. Recent advances in the technology that

produces large format graphics have had a huge impact on the market for

these products. With more suppliers moving into the market and graphics

prices becoming more competitive, the price differential between brands

is now very significant.



Panel Systems



There are many well-known brand names, some of which have almost become

generic for these systems. They all work on the same principle of flat

panels of varying sizes joined together by a connector. Some have clips

attached to the panel, which then fit onto a pole providing the 'hinge'

when connected to the next panel. Others have hooks that go into slots

cut into metal tubes or either metal or plastic extrusions that slide

into a compatible extrusion in the edge of the panel. A wide variety of

panel sizes, shapes, colours and finishes offer enormous

flexibility.



Most systems are lightweight and portable as they were designed to be

'self-assembly', but most makers offer a stand-building service.



Seamless Systems



There has been some innovation in this area over the last few years with

several new products being launched. These kinds of system can look and

feel much like a purpose-built stand while retaining the benefits of a

system. Panels fit together with no visible connector to create a very

solid appearance. Usually the slightly heavier, larger format panels

than panel systems means that these systems are less versatile and are

not self-assembly.



Structural/Gantry Systems



These are metal columns of varying design, which join together to make a

frame structure for a stand. These structures can be used by themselves,

with banners and fabric infills or in conjunction with either

purpose-built or modular systems to create height and impact. Most

require a contractor to build, but they can provide a very cost

effective way of creating a stand and have the benefit of structural

strength.



Structural Modular



These systems are designed and built by stand contractors and usually

have heavy metal extrusions giving enough strength for double-decker

stands to be built.



Custom Modular



Bespoke stand contractors, recognising the benefits of a modular system,

will sometimes design a stand in modules that can be re-configured for

other shows.



WHERE TO LOOK



- Look for a familiar name in the ads section of a magazine



- Visit an exhibition to find stands that fit your criteria and ask for

the supplier's details



- BECA (British Exhibition Contractors Association) will provide a list

of members who supply modular systems



- Ask for recommendations from colleagues



- Some purpose-built stand designers and design agencies will also

recommend, design and supply a suitable system for you



FIRST CONTACT



- Make a shortlist of 4-5 companies that appear to match your

criteria



- Visit websites - these usually give lots of product information. This

is a good way of gaining information without exposing yourself to a

barrage of sales calls



- When you're ready, either through the website, or by phone, request

further information.



- From the 4-5, choose the 2 or 3 you wish to take further



- Arrange for a rep to visit. If you are happy with what you see, give

each company a concise brief from which they can produce a design and

quote. The better the brief, the better the result If you are open to

ideas, say so - this will allow suppliers to show their creativity. Be

precise about what you want the quote to include and how you want it

presented - a list of components may not mean as much as 'work station'

or 'corner display unit', for example. It is helpful for suppliers to

have a budget to work to, and an idea of how flexible they can be with

it



- Many companies have showrooms to display their products. Visit them,

as this is a good opportunity to see systems in use and to find out more

about your prospective supplier.




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