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From Table Top To Trade Show Floor: What You Need To Know When Buying Portable Displays Of All Sizes

No matter what size trade show stands you're looking to buy, there is an incredible variety of options you will want to consider. Learn what you look for, what to avoid, and what you might never have known about portable displays. 

Although the demands upon a table top display and full sized custom trade show stands may be very different, they share many important qualities that help determine their lifespan, suitability for individual businesses, and much more. By understanding these fundamentals of trade show stands, you can help ensure that your business makes the right call early on, providing you with great portable displays throughout your convention career.
Structural Materials Matter
No matter how large or small your exhibit, you will always have some degree of choice over what materials are used to craft your unit. First, you'll be able to choose the actual metal or other substance that is used to create the frame. Every unit has a frame, with the exception of the most basic type of panel designs, which merely use the panels. The typical panel is constructed from a durable aluminum alloy, and may have additional reinforcement. When purchasing a panel, always ensure that it is made of a strong material that will support the products or information to be displayed.
The same is true of other portable displays, but the strength of their materials may be harder to determine. In general, a frame that uses fiberglass components will be strong and dent-proof, springing back into shape even after a deformity. However, metallic frames can also be a good option, particularly for companies looking to cut costs. When shopping for trade show stands, be sure that your company knows what kind of functionality you need from your exhibit. If it needs to hold merchandise, be sure it's strong enough. 
Fabric, Plastic, Or Laminate?
After you've chosen your frame, you'll likely have some choice as to what goes on that frame. The most basic panel designs will typically use a laminate, which actually has the graphics printed just above the paneling. While this does make the design on the trade show stands particularly durable, it's a problem if you want to update. Some companies can remedy this problem by using a system that relies more heavily on removable boards, which can be reattached or removed easily. These allow graphics and text to be switched out on a more regular basis. 
If you aren't choosing a paneled table top display, you've got more material options. Most other designs rely on some kind of stretched banner for their appearance, in which you get to pick what kind of material you'd like to have. In most cases, the choice is between fabric and plastic. In general, indoor trade show stands fare better with a fabric covering because it looks more natural. If your table top display has to function outdoors as well, choose a durable plastic. The fabric used on portable displays is itself a durable canvas, suitable for many conventions to come. 
Ultimately, the choices you make on your table top display or larger booth should reflect your company's sensibilities while staying within budget. Just never lose sight of the ultimate goal: bringing in new business by driving traffic to portable displays. Sacrifice too much in the name of cost cutting, and you risk losing some of that business. Spend too much, and you'll have problems as well. A good agent from a respected company can help you strike a good balance. 

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Chris Harmen writes for Skyline, the leading table top display and custom booth designer in North America. Skyline sets the industry standard for excellence in portable displays.

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