Monday, January 14, 2008

Part One of Display Product Guide – Pop Up Stands…not to be confused with Pull Up Stands!

I have been meaning for a long time now to get started on a comprehensive guide to display and signage products. There are a plethora of different terms used for various display stands, signs and materials, and if this causes problems for us working within the industry, I am sure it causes major confusion for customers who might understandably be unfamiliar with the jargon or technical terminology.

For example, ‘Pop Up Stands’ versus 'Pull Up Stands’ - these terms are used interchangeably these days, but these are two distinct display stands types with significant differences. Today in part one of this series I will focus on Pop Up Display Stands…Part two will contrast these will Pull Up Banner Stands, so stay tuned…

Pop Up Stands – aka Pop Up (or PopUp) Display Stands, Pop Up Displays, Display Frames, Pop Up Frames, Backwall Displays, Spider Frames, Spider Displays, Graphic Backdrops, Pop Up Display Systems

Pop Up Stands are an older technology than Pull Up stands and Banner Stands - they were invented in 1975 by Nomadic Display and are still hugely popular for use as exhibition stands, conference backdrops and stage displays and for press and training events to name a few. They can be curved or flat and range in size from about 1.2m wide to 6m +, but the most common size would be in the region of 2.4m-3m wide and 2.4m tall. After all these years, these stands may seem conventional and, dare-I-say-it, boring! But they don’t have to be – they can be used to create interesting shapes, different height displays and used with plasma screens or funky endcaps, (click to see the 'Esker' Pop Up Stand on the top right) to update the basic stand. See also ‘stretch fabric panels’ below for a thoroughly ‘different’ look based on Pop Up Technology. These stands have a aluminium frame work which ‘pops up’ to form a lattice-like wall, to which magnetic bars are attached and in turn fabric or graphic panels or ‘strips’ stick to the magnetic bars to cover the stand with a seamless covering. Often these stands are used with a full graphic covering allowing for an impressive photographic image to be displayed. However fabric panels can also be used in two ways – firstly, carpet-like Velcro Friendly fabric panels (alone or in combination with graphic panels) are used by people who wish to change the images or info on display quite often, or on pop up stands which are rented and need to provide a generic background for different customers. Secondly ‘Stretch Fabric’ panels can be used to provide a funky modern look – Pop Up stands with stretch fabric are much lighter as there are no magnetic bars and are quicker to set up as the panels stay attached to the stand even when it is packed up.

Things to look out for when buying or hiring a Pop Up Display stand:

**Check that the stand has cross bars (x-shaped bars) as these add greatly to the stability of the stand

**Check that the magnetic struts are connected for ease of use

**Check that if the Pop Up Stand becomes damaged, it can a) be repaired, b) be repaired cheaply or for free, c) where do the repairs take place (this affects lead time and shipping costs), and d) can small components, e.g. wheels on case, be replaced easily

**Bear in mind that if a Pop Up Stand has integral magnets rather than bars the whole stand will need to be returned to the factory for repair if the magnets become damaged or worn

**Make sure that other pop up stands can be connected to this stand in the future – allowing larger stands in different shapes to be created and adding versatility and length to the life of the stand

**Make sure that accessories can be added to the stand e.g. lights, shelves, plasma screens, showcases, backlit panels – You may not need them now but in the years to come it might be very handy & cost effective to add a plasma screen etc.

**Check the case in which the stand comes – do you want to split the stand into 2 cases for ease of lifting etc. or do you want an all-in-one case which can turn into a counter – you should have a choice of casing options

**These stands are available with two-year warranties and lifetime ‘no-questions-asked’ warranties so it doesn’t make sense to buy one that is not guaranteed

**Ask to see the Pop Up Stand in the flesh and to practice putting up the stand before you buy so that you can compare quality

Important Terms relating to Pop Up Display Stands:

Struts – the magnetic bars attached vertically to the frame to hold panels up

Panels – the ‘wallpaper-like’ strips that you hang on the stand to form the covering

Graphic Wrap – see ‘panels’

Skins – see ‘panels’

Pod – case that becomes counter

Tension Fabric - Same as Stretch Fabric - lightweight stretchy material which is digitally printed and attached to the stand in various configurations to create a 'patchwork' or overall look. Attached with buttons instead of magnets

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