If you work in an industry where display stands are a regular part of your marketing tool kit, then you’ll already have a fair idea about the different options and how they work. But many businesses are delving into the world of banner stands for the first time due to the Covid-19 pandemic, having previously had no need for temporary displays to present safety messages or even support physical distancing within their premises.
If you’re looking at banner stands and trade show displays for the first time, it can seem like a minefield, with lots to choose from and even more to consider. The good news is, finding the right banner stand for your needs is easy when you know how – and we’re here to help with an essential guide to the types of display most commonly used by small businesses and first-time exhibitors.
The Basics: Retractable and Tension Banners
Retractable banners have a bit of an identity crisis – they’re sometimes known as pull-up, pop-up or roll-up banners too – but all are based on the same design. The banner itself is rolled onto a spring-loaded cassette that fits into a casing which forms the base of the banner, with just the top bar visible on the outside. Also stowed within the base is a collapsible pole, usually with an elastic cord through the centre (known as a bungee pole). You assemble the pole, slot it into a hole in the base, pull up the banner, hook the top of the pole into the top bar – and you’re done!
Retractable banners come in a variety of sizes and styles. You can have double width banners, personal meeting backdrops, tabletop banners, and double-sided banners, all based on the same system. It’s also possible to have interchangeable cassettes so you can switch up your messaging easily.
Retractable Banner Pros
- Very portable
- Entry level models are very affordable
- Professional appearance
- Interchangeable options on premium models
- Suitable for high traffic areas
- Outdoor models available
Retractable Banner Cons
- Can be bulky to carry
- Graphics can be fiddly to change
Tension banners are another simple display stand option. They consist of a frame made from lightweight poles and a separate graphics panel. You may have a base and a long bungee pole, or no base at all and a system of shorter pole sections that form an x-shaped frame. When the frame is up, you attach the graphics panel using grommets or clamps. The graphics panel must fit tightly in order to create the ‘tension’ that gives this banner its name, and its strength!
Tension banners can be used interchangeably with retractable banners – they’re ideal for trade shows, boardroom pitches, in-house advertising and information displays. They have the added benefit of being extremely light and compact when folded, and are available in a range of sizes and styles, including multi-sided versions.
Tension Banner Pros
- Ultra lightweight and compact
- Versatile – many styles available
- Professional appearance
- Outdoor options available
- Changing graphics is super easy
Tension Banner Cons
- May not be ideal for high traffic areas
The Big Guns: Trade Show Displays
Trade Show Displays
Trade show displays are generally tension banners on a larger scale. As the name suggests, they are most often used for trade shows and exhibitions but can also be used as stage backdrops, room dividers or for marketing displays in large or open plan spaces – for example, you’ll often find them in car showrooms.
Depending on their size, trade show displays have a frame made from either tubular metal poles that are assembled manually, or a pop-up system made from aluminium. Once the frame is up, a lightweight fabric panel is attached and the display is ready to use.
Trade Show Display Pros
- Large size helps you get noticed
- Versatile – options to suit lots of different purposes and locations
- Pop-up models are easy to assemble
- Cost-effective to change graphics
Trade Show Display Cons
- Bulky to carry and store
- Manual assembly can be laborious