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Understanding the Difference Between Trade Show Back Walls

Trade Show Back Walls and other Displays in general have evolved over time. Exhibitors have so many more options now than in the past. No longer are we limited to the Traditional Panel Pop Up Displays (which are still great by the way) or Grid Wall Systems. The options are seemingly endless. Now the biggest challenge is disseminating all the options to find what works best for you now and in the future (let’s say 2–3 years out).

In this article, I will run through the most popular displays and detail the pros and cons of each. I will point out what makes each unique, why one is different than the other, and give each a general price point rating. We will take into consideration logistics (like shipping & set up labor), but first let’s take a look at the different types:

Types of Trade Show Back Walls

Portable Back Wall Displays

Push-Pin Frames: The Push-Pin Frame System is probably the most widely used frame system on the market right now for small to mid-size exhibits. Each push-pin pole simply snaps together and each ends is usually labeled to quickly identify which pieces connect to each other.

Standard Push-Pin Frame System with each End labeled

These frames can be used for a variety of displays beyond Back Walls such as Towers, Convention Hanging Signs, Counters, you name it. The Graphic slips over the frame (like a pillowcase) and zippers closed. The zippering causes the fabric to tighten up and give it that really clean look that we like (commonly called Stretch Fabric). Here is a Set Up Video of the EZ Tube Display push-pin Back Wall to help demonstrate this.

This gives us the end result:

20ft wide X 8ft tall Push-Pin Portable Displays

Accordion Frames: The other ‘heavy hitter’ in the Portable Back Wall arena is the expandable Accordion Frame. These are used primarily for the Panel Pop Up Displays like I mentioned earlier and also for Fabric Pop Up Displays. Like the name suggests, these frames function like an Accordion where they expand out of the box and lock in place for setup and collapse back down for storage and shipping. One huge benefit to this style frame is you don’t need to assemble very many pieces. Our models have channel bars that are used to reinforce the frame and allow the graphics to attach to the frame.

Here is a look at the ‘Accordion Frame’:

Frame in the middle of the photo in the Collapsed position
Frame full Expanded with 1 Graphic Panel Added

The Pop Up Displays are fully battle-tested. They have been around for years. Some Exhibitors prefer the Laminated Graphic Panels (like shown above) that connect to the frame with Magnets, and others prefer the 1-piece Fabric Graphic that attached to the frame with Velcro.

The end result looks great, here is one all set up showing the laminate panels:

20ft Straight Pop Up Display with Podiums in Front (which are also the Hard Travel Cases)

Modular Back Wall Displays

TRIGA System

Modular Systems are very popular right now, mainly because many companies have different size booth spaces from one show to the next. You might have a 10x10 booth space at one show and then for your large annual industry show, have a giant 20x20 Island booth space. Rather than having a different booth for each configuration, smart exhibitors have one frame system that will work for each size. My favorite modular display by far is the TRIGA system.

TRIGA 10x8 Back Wall Display

The TRIGA patented frame system that was born in South Africa by some really smart engineers. We carry the full line of TRIGA displays and have years experience with it. I won’t run through all of the advantages of it here, but the biggest take-away is that it is a true modular system that can easily be reconfigured to meet your changing needs.

SEG Frame System

Another widely used display system for Modular Functionality is the SEG Frame System. This is another great option for Back Walls, Towers,Counters, etc. It uses a locking aluminum frame to create the frame with minimal tools.

The graphics are Full Color Dye Sublimation and push right in to the frame nice and snug. It is called SEG which stands for Silicon Edged Graphics since the perimeter of the fabric graphic has a bead of silicone stitched all the way around. This pushes into the frame and looks fabulous when all set up.

SEG Back Wall Frame which works great for Lightboxes!

Truss Back Walls

Another widely used frame system that is considered to be modular to a certain degree is the Truss System. These are popular for Trade Shows were you want more of an industrial look like building shows, automotive shows, manufacturing shows, etc. These are great for holding heavier objects like overhead lighting, TV monitors, etc.

Orbital Truss Back Wall

Custom Back Walls

Hard Panel Back Walls

Lastly, the other Back Wall option that could be the best solution depending on your needs is the Hard Panels made out of wood and sometimes laminate. These can be great for the Exhibitor that wants a truly Custom Booth and needs to make modifications to it like picking out a certain paint color, adding shelves, slatwall etc. The wood panels allow you to make a full blown custom display that is more like a home away from home at a Trade Show. Some companies go it alone, but most companies contract with an Exhibit House to build and design the booth since it require more involvement like Shipping, Set Up, Storage, Design, etc. Typically there are also Rental Options available for Hard Wall panels which helps save on budget.

Custom Hard Wall Panel Display/ Image copyright Creative Displays

Digital Signage Back Walls

I decided to add a special mention here for Digital Signage Back Walls since we are starting to incorporate Digital Monitors into many of our product lines. iPads and Android Digital Monitors have become very popular over the last few years. Fusing together the structural backwall combines with a high definition monitor is very functional. Lead generation systems can now be integrated to beam back leads to sales reps at the home office while the Trade Show is happening in real time. Exciting times!

Trade Show Back Wall Comparison

Now that we have discussed the different types of Trade Show Back Walls, here is a look at the strengths of each and some pros and cons:

Push-Pin Back Wall:

  • Lightbox option (y/n): No
  • Type of Graphic: Full Color Fabric
  • Set Up Yourself (y/n): Yes
  • Easy Transportation (y/n): Yes
  • Shelving available (y/n): Only with select Frames
  • Slat Wall Available (y/n): No
  • TV Monitor Available (y/n): Only with select Frames
  • Same Frame Used for Other Displays (y/n): Yes, Counters
  • Price Point ($$$): $

Accordion Pop Up Back Wall:

  • Lightbox option (y/n): Only with the Hop Up Back Wall Frame
  • Type of Graphic: Laminated Panel Graphics or Full Color Fabric
  • Set Up Yourself (y/n): Yes
  • Easy Transportation (y/n): Yes
  • Shelving available (y/n): Only on the Hop Up Back Wall Frame
  • Slat Wall Available (y/n): No
  • TV Monitor Available (y/n): Only on the Hop Up Back Wall Frame
  • Same Frame Used for Other Displays (y/n): Yes, Counters
  • Price Point ($$$): $

TRIGA Back Wall:

  • Lightbox option (y/n): Yes
  • Type of Graphic: Full Color Fabric
  • Set Up Yourself (y/n): Yes
  • Easy Transportation (y/n): Yes
  • Shelving available (y/n): Yes
  • Slat Wall Available (y/n): No
  • TV Monitor Available (y/n): Yes
  • Same Frame Used for Other Displays (y/n): Yes, Counters, Towers and Others
  • Price Point ($$$): $$

SEG Back Wall:

  • Lightbox option (y/n): Yes
  • Type of Graphic: Full Color Fabric
  • Set Up Yourself (y/n): Yes, but due to some assembly setup help is encouraged
  • Easy Transportation (y/n): Moderate
  • Shelving available (y/n): Yes
  • Slat Wall Available (y/n): Yes
  • TV Monitor Available (y/n): Yes
  • Same Frame Used for Other Displays (y/n): Yes, Counters, Towers
  • Price Point ($$$): $$ to $$$

Truss Back Wall:

  • Lightbox option (y/n): No
  • Type of Graphic: Laminate Panel Graphic or Full Color Fabric
  • Set Up Yourself (y/n): Yes, but due to some assembly setup help is encouraged
  • Easy Transportation (y/n): No
  • Shelving available (y/n): Yes
  • Slat Wall Available (y/n): No
  • TV Monitor Available (y/n): Yes
  • Same Frame Used for Other Displays (y/n): Yes, Counters
  • Price Point ($$$): $$ to $$$

Custom Hard Panel Back Wall:

  • Lightbox option (y/n): No
  • Type of Graphic: Usually Die-Cut or Posters
  • Set Up Yourself (y/n): Not typically
  • Easy Transportation (y/n): No
  • Shelving available (y/n): Yes
  • Slat Wall Available (y/n): Yes
  • TV Monitor Available (y/n): Yes
  • Same Frame Used for Other Displays (y/n): No
  • Price Point ($$$): $$$

Hopefully this helps explain some of the differences between various Trade Show Display Back Walls. When it comes down to it, I usually think of it in terms of Portable, Modular and Custom. As companies grow, they usually start with Portable and then move up the ladder to more involved set ups. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out using the form below and or on our website. We would love to hear about your next project! -PP


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