The era of the cookie cutter popup trade show display booth is over. There are many new choices that have the advantages of the old curved lightweight, easy to set up and graphically clean popup display that was imported to this country nearly 25 years ago.
Today there are not only new shapes from the old geodesic framework not limited to a standard arc frame, but there are also completely new 3 dimensional frameworks that look nothing like the old curved display. Not stopping there you can also find the same old framework with completely new graphic applique techniques. Lets take a look and the different options currently available.
Standard Popup Displays-"the old originals" - In the mid 1970's a couple of companies brought Buckminster Fuller's unique umbrella type geodesic design to the trade show display market. These original booths consisted of 30x30 inch quadrants that were put together to make 3x3 or 4x3 quadrant areas which equalled the standard 8’ or 10’ trade show booth space. Graphics were then printed to a substrate, usually paper, laminated and then fitted to the structure. Usually there were channels bars of some type that made the fitting of the graphics a clean smooth affair.
When potential display purchasers saw this display for the first time they could not believe how lightweight (usually around 70 lbs for a full 10’ booth), easy to set up (5 to 15 minutes) and how good the clean smooth graphic appear on this booth. For most display salesmen it was a pretty easy sell. And for most display purchasers it was a heck of a bargain (even at twice today's prices) because they could make back their costs in freight savings alone compared to their custom or heavy panel display being used previously that weighed somewhere in the neighborhood of 200-400 lbs. and shipped in huge cases that had to be sent by truck. Now their display weight 70 lbs and shipped via UPS anywhere in the US for about $65.00.
Dye Sub Fabric Graphics - “Old Shape - New Utility" As the old original popup display proliferated throughout the trade show display market, manufacturer started looking for an edge. That edge became the Fabric Popup Display known today by many names including the Burst, Hop Up, Presto and others. This type of display took the standard geodesic popup framework, beefed it up and added a 2" nylon strap around the perimeter. Then a graphic was dye sublimated onto a fabric panel the same size as the framework with a 2" nylon strap sewn into its perimeter. This graphic was then attached to the velcro covered nylon strap on the framework and in a blink you could set up your booth in about half the time of the original popup display. Not only that, now without channel bars and laminated panels you've decreased the weight by 2/3 and the number of components by 4/5. Now you 10’ popup booth consisted of a framework with a fabric graphic attached to it that never had to be removed because as you collapsed the framework the graphic closed up with the frame. It was then put in a duffle and carried out weighing barely 20 lbs.
New Shape - New Utility - New Appearance - The latest adaptation to the standard pop up display uses dye sublimation printing, a geodesic frame not limited to a standard rectangle or square and the ability to attach graphics from front to back and vice versa. This is a still unique booth called the Expression. Various layouts including pyramids, columnar towers, triangles are possible with graphics on the front, on the back and on both sides simultaneously available. All graphics are replaceable, all booths can change their appearance by changing the graphic panel sizes and positioning making this display quite flexible and cost effective.
Bob Albright has been designing and selling trade show displays with Midland Display for over 25 years. See the trade show booths described above, particularly the new Expression Display on their website.