Exhibition Shell Schemes: What are they?

Every month or so, we receive a call asking us to explain what an ‘exhibition shell scheme’ is.

For many years now, exhibition shell schemes have been the default option for most organisations attending a show.  Usually the exhibitor pays the event organiser a set fee for the floor space and the location plus an undisclosed extra for a basic ‘shell’.

A shell scheme package is usually a hassle free option because you are buying in services from the event organiser.  The package typically includes stand walls, lighting, carpet and a power socket.


A typical shell scheme package is like a blank canvas. The shell scheme walls are usually white or grey and consist of metre wide panels – this allows the exhibition organiser to increase the size of the shell scheme for each client very easily.  In addition, every shell scheme comes with a fascia board displaying your company name and stand number.

The problem is, most exhibition stands based on a shell scheme will look the same.  That’s fine if you’re just using the stand to meet existing clients.  But what if you want to attract passers-by on to your stand?  A shell scheme without any personalisation makes it very difficult for you to stand out from the crowd!

Consequently, most organisations will attempt to personalise their stand space by adding ‘pop-up’ roller banners in the corners or by sticking posters on the back wall.  They may even add a basic table and some folding chairs and maybe even a brochure stand too.

The problem is, everyone else with a basic shell scheme will be doing the same thing.  To really stand out, you need to think about professional shell scheme graphics – large format graphics which are designed to fit snugly on to each panel.  The results can look really impressive.

BUT here comes the BUT!  A lot of organisations struggle to re-use their shell scheme graphics – panel sizes are not always standard.  Before making a decision, consider taking a ‘floor space only’ package and then buying or renting your own stand equipment.  This will ensure the graphics can be re-used.   The costs of a CROSSwire stand, for example, are far less than you might think – especially if you are looking for an exhibition stand hire solution.  Get in touch if you’d like to discuss the options available.