Hear the term “Custom Exhibit Fabrication” an automatically see dollar signs? You’re not alone! Truth is huge island exhibits –we’re talking the 50×60’s 30×40’s, Double Deckers and Canopied Booths here, with all the bells and whistles are in fact outrageously expensive. But one thing is for sure… they have impact.

Like opening your hotel balcony door and looking over a 100-mile mountain vista, these booths drop jaws! But how does the average event manager get the same reaction with an average event budget? How does one get that custom look without the enormous price tag? Below are some “Realistic” alternatives to getting that custom look without the custom price tag.

hh-icons-14.svgAlternative 1: Putting The “Shop” in “Pop-Up Shop”

If you’ve been to a trade show – a big trade show – then you have seen or at least heard of pop-up shops. There is a reason why these shops always…well… pop-up (so punny right?). Booth space at large tradeshows coupled with a big booth cost leaves average exhibitors scrounging for ways to get a piece of the pie. Welcome to our Experiential Pop-up Shop. A blank slate with a cheaper price to boot.

What does it take to transform empty storefronts, outdoor spaces or empty containers into something completely unique? More than most people realize. Patrons enter what was an empty storefront complete with counters, displays, music, the whole 9 yards, looking like it’s been there for years and that’s the point!

What’s not realized is the custom elements that need to be added to make said pop-up store seem like it’s supposed to be there. That’s the art, the creativity and skill behind good pop-up shops. The best technique to do so? You guessed it! Utilizing some common custom booth fabrication methods. There is a reason why many custom trade show exhibit houses [attempt to] tackle both tradeshows and pop-up shops and here is why:

High Impact Branding:

There are several standard material options readily available to custom booth fabricators including banners, tabletop signage, pop-up displays, X stands and graphics.

Next up, try building more of a foundation using everything from decorated walls with featured props – to overhead signs, double-sided graphics and monitor mounts. Think of these as just the base.


You might be asking, “Where does custom exhibit fabrication come into play?” Custom booth fabrication allows the tailoring and tweaking to happen right from the beginning.

Would a custom checkout counter, complete with light-up acrylic, embedded monitors and wireless checkouts be more impressive than just an IKEA table? Of course! Trade Show Exhibit Fabricators know the process and can make sure the RIGHT fabrication happens from the beginning, in budget and on time.

Timing Is Not Everything..

Timing is a NECESSITY! As pop-up shops are usually rented for a short period of time, components need to be assembled and disassembled to get ‘in’ and ‘out’ quickly. Landlord needs the building back 8 am the next day and you’re still struggling to break down a display at 12 pm? Chances are frustration will result in trashed components and wasted budgets.

Consider that panels can be engineered to weigh just 18lbs for effortless set-up and dismantling. Or that light boxes can be integrated quickly and painlessly. Or that the ‘snap’ together pole system of tension fabric exhibits requires just 1-2 people to create and expand the number of configurations, literally like putting on and pulling off pillowcases.

hh-icons-07.svgAlternative 2: Beefing Up Boring Pop-Up Exhibits

We get it; huge budget restrictions but a need to exhibit happens all the time. These cases often result in “settling” for a basic pop-up exhibit. A few shows down the road and a slight increase in budget lends only enough budget for either a new pop-up or a sub-par custom exhibit. Custom Exhibit Fabricators can help!

Stick with that original pop-up booth but sprinkle in some custom booth elements to spruce up the exhibit. Below are some more common add-ons.

  • Display cases in an array of textures, materials and graphics, from sustainable designs and LED light boxes and stands, to floating graphic displays and pop-ups with shelves, slat-wall and waterfall brackets.
  • Lighting for display areas, which can range from elaborate chandeliers to integrated wall fixtures. You can add lighting over top hero graphics, within 3D letters or inside fabric panels themselves creating entire light box booths.
  • Greeting counters, which can take the form of simple pedestals and counters to custom rectangular, bi-level or curved counters, all featuring your 3D brand logo and illuminated graphics or even better – recessed monitors.

We find exhibitors are constantly being dragged down to by restrictive trade show budgets in a big budget industry. As a result, a little open-mindedness and creativity can go a long way in standing out.

hh-icons-04.svgAlternative 3: Hybrids – The Best Of Both Worlds

Ever heard of hybrid exhibits? Hybrid exhibits are a sought-after option among businesses attempting to get the best of both worlds – balancing cost without the sacrifice of quality.

This mix of modular and custom fabricated booths basically looks like this:

  • The modular booth element is the framing and extrusion. Our metal extrusion -in this case- is constructed from anodized aluminum to make it lightweight yet highly durable. You can opt for hard graphic panels or SEG Fabric, curved walls, straight walls, canopies and more. Really, there’s no limit of what can be integrated to a versatile modular exhibit system.
  • The customization can also include just about any prop or product that can be instantly associated with your brand. Mannequins, robots, video game consoles, original concepts for a nostalgic effect, and miniature models or mock-ups are just a few examples.

Hybrid exhibits can be arranged to ensure a balance of form and function, which is especially useful when the products in question include irregular layouts like bathrooms or kitchen mock-ups, automobile parts, electronics and gaming consoles.

Finally, the reduced weight of hybrid exhibits can drastically reduce shipping and drayage costs. They are also easy to install, keeping labor times down, allowing you to focus on the engagement side of your tradeshow or brand activation efforts instead of obsessing over the cost of slow labor.


Final Advice:

Don’t think you need to beg and barter for an increase in budget. The right exhibit fabricator (if they have your best interests in mind) should be able to give you ideas to:

– Get that custom look by blending a few different fabrication techniques.

– Beef up what you already have.

– Find a completely different alternative (pop-up-shop) if exhibiting is not an affordable option.

If not, chances are you are not working within their budget. A.K.A. “Not worth their time”. Move-on! This is not the path best traveled. We’d assume you now have some questions and we’re all ears. Give us a shout. We’re happy to give advice even if we never end up working together. This is a difficult industry and our goal is to make it just a tiny bit easier for the average exhibitor.