8 Popular Display Styles for Outdoor Trade Shows and Events

8 Popular Display Styles for Outdoor Trade Shows and Events


Summer is right around the corner which means people will start heading outdoors to all types of venues and events. Due to COVID, this year more than any in recent memory, the ability to interact with customers outdoors will be important to the success of many different types of brands.  


Whether it’s at an outdoor trade show, charity event, sidewalk or parking lot, having a professional outdoor display is a valuable marketing tool for your team. Finding the right style or even just knowing what’s available can sometimes be a little bit of a challenge. 


Here are 8 of the best outdoor display styles 

  1. Event Tents
  2. Flags
  3. Banner Stands
  4. Vinyl and Fabric Signs
  5. Barriers
  6. Bars and Counters
  7. Large Displays
  8. Table Covers

1. Event Tents

A branded tent is one of those displays that every company should own. They are just too practical to pass on. There are always situations like outdoor trade shows, networking events, charity events and more where a branded tent is a great, low cost, marketing tool. With the spread of COVID-19 and so many people preferring outdoor settings, sidewalks and parking lots have become storefront extensions for many brands. A simple display like an event tent offers great return on investment (ROI) and really makes your brand look professional. Consider some of the main benefits of a branded tent. 


10 Benefits of Branded Event Tents

  1. Easy to assemble
  2. Easy to take down
  3. Affordable
  4. Lightweight
  5. Easy to store
  6. Large branding area
  7. Simple to update
  8. Provides shade at hot events
  9. Provides cover at rainy events
  10. Many accessories or upgrades available



The standard size for branded events tents are 10’x10’ which in most cases refers to the size of booth space the tent would fit in at a trade show. Typically the canopy and frame for a 10ft tent will be just under the 120”x120” mark. 


At its highest point when assembled, most tent frames will stand around 11ft to 12ft tall. This is great for branding because you have four sides on the top of the canopy that are visible from a distance and perfect for your company’s Pantone Colors and logo. 


We recommend you avoid putting your company website and phone number on top of the display and save that information for the smaller skirts that line the bottom of the canopy. These are easily seen as guests approach your booth and won’t be distorted in any way. 


Premium tent canopies are generally made out of UV resistant polyester material and use dye-sublimated prints to help reduce fading. Some tents use thin fitted plastic for the canopy. Just know that plastic canopies will not last as long or look as nice. 


Most tent frames are similar in design with click-in-place telescoping legs and a rust-resistant folding aluminum skeleton. Frames generally come with ground stakes and some sort of bag or case to carry the display. 



Some tents also offer weighted options that go around the feet of the frame to help stop gusts of wind from moving the tent. 

Weighted Tent Base
Weighted Tent Base


If you want to light up your tent during your next event, look at adding a tent lighting kit. These light kits are easy to use and run off standard USB battery packs like this one.

Tent Light Kit
Tent Lighting Kit
Tent Light Kit Packed
Tent Lighting Kit Packed


Like we said before, the most common size tent is probably 10x10 but there are three “standard” sizes we see requested the most. These sizes include 5x5, 10x10 and 10x20.

5ft Branded Tent
5ft Event Tent
10ft Event Tent
10ft Event Tent

20ft Event Tent
20ft Event Tent


Don’t forget about basic Dome tents. These come in multiple sizes but we see the most commonly requested size as being roughly 8.5ft on all sides and about 10ft tall. 

Dome Tent
Dome Tent


One great benefit with branded event tents is that they can be customized in numerous ways to increase your messaging. Your company can add a full length, full color graphic back wall or side walls or both. 

Tent Full Backwall Graphic
Full Wall Graphic


You can choose to add half-walls if that makes more sense. 

Half Wall Tent Graphic
Half Wall  Graphic


You can also add flags directly to the frame using specialized clamps to make your booth stand out even more. 

Flag Frame Clamp
Flag Frame Clamp



There are many different options and uses for tents which only adds to their versatility. We said it before but it's worth repeating, every company should have a branded event tent. 



2. Flags

Everyone has seen a graphic flag at some point in their life. You often see these flapping around the outside of a business or shopping center or placed around special events. The reason you see so many of these is because they work. While flags may not be the sexiest display, they are very effective at delivering a quick message, directing customers where to go, or even basic company branding. 

 

Like most displays there are different quality levels available when ordering flags. You can find thin nylon flags for $100 or less online but just know you're getting what you pay for. These types of flags will begin to tatter and fade quickly and are really meant for limited use.


Premium flags are obviously more expensive but they will come on thicker material, sturdy frames, and use dye-sub graphic prints to boost the longevity of the flag. 


Flags also come in all kinds of shapes and styles. While there are many different options available, we see that really four shapes are the most commonly requested. 


Popular Outdoor Flag Shapes

  1. Teardrop
  2. Feather
  3. Straight (also called Blade)
  4. Flex Edge


Teardrop flags are exactly what they sound like, they resemble a teardrop. 

Teardrop flags
Teardrop Flags


Can you guess what feather flags resemble?  That's right, they are shaped like a feather.


Feather Flags
Feather Flags


Straight or blade flags typically have a curved top, straight side, and straight bottom. This style resembles the blade of a knife.

Blade Flag
Straight (Blade) Flag


Flex Edge or Edge flags are essentially vertical rectangles. 

Flex Flag
Flex Flag


There are plenty more shapes beyond these four popular styles. In fact, you can find flags in all kinds of shapes like arches, triangles, double-triangles, jagged cuts, and so on. 

Arch Flag
Arch Flag


Most flags come standard with some type of a ground stake system so they can be secured outside. 

Ground Stake
Ground Stake

Auger bases are also available for extra security.

Auger Stake


Other base options do exist such as weighted bases and cross bases. These bases make it possible to set up your flag indoors or outdoors which can be a nice bonus for your company. 

Square Base
Square Base
Stackable Base
Stackable Base







Fillable Ground Base
Fillable Ground Base

Cross Base
Cross Base

Flags are a popular, effective, and affordable option that can be used as a standalone display or a supplemental add-on. You just want your design to avoid adding too many images or too much text. Flags are meant to convey quick messages or highlight a logo.



3.Banner Stands

Retractable Banner Stands may be the most popular displays in the history of all displays. They are easy to assemble and offer a large enough graphic area for your basic messaging without taking up a 10ft space. 


Outdoor banner stands are the same way but with a couple benefits for outdoor use. 


Some stands come with larger bases and more substantial frames that include twist-and-lock feet and ground stakes to secure the stand. 

Double-Sided Retractable Banner Stand
Double-Sided Retractable Banner Stand

Other banner stands actually use weighted bases that can be filled with water or sand for extra weight and tipping protection. 

Weighted Banner Stand
Weighted Banner Stand


Most outdoor banner stands will use slightly thicker vinyl than indoor stands to help increase the longevity of the display. It is important to note that even outdoor banner stands should not be used in adverse weather conditions. 



4. Vinyl and Fabric Signs

Outdoor sign options are expansive and growing every year. It used to be that your company would really only print on a standard rectangular vinyl sheet or maybe a small folding stand. Today you have your pick in size, shape, and style and it’s all very affordable. 


Your company can print on a tall poster stand.

Poster Stand
Poster Stand



Maybe an edge-to-edge graphic Apex stand is what you need. 

Apex Stand
Apex Stand



Contour displays are becoming extremely popular because they offer a unique and eye-catching look for a surprisingly low price. 

Bottle Display
Bottle
Arrow Display
Arrow



Horizontal Arrow Display
Horizontal Arrow

Circle Outdoor Display
Circle

Of course standard hanging vinyl and folding displays are still available. 

Vinyl Sign
Vinyl Sign
Folding Sign
Folding Sign

Outdoor signs come in all shapes and sizes and can use some form of corrugated plastic with velcro, printed white board, printed fabric, or vinyl. Make sure you know what your stand is made from before you order it. This may impact how the display is stored and shipped. 


5. Barriers

In a lot of ways, barriers are similar in look to a folding sign. The main differences are barriers are typically much longer and use full aluminum tube frames and stretch dye-sublimated fabric graphics. 

Barrier Display
Barrier Stand


Some barrier stands are essentially just a long folding sign with a sturdy aluminum frame and vinyl graphics that connect with grommet holes. 

Barrier Stand
Barrier Folding Stand

Barrier displays are perfect for lining a sports field or tee box with your company logo, directing crowds where to go, and more. These long, full color, double-sided displays offer plenty of graphic area without a hefty price tag. 

6. Bars and Counters

Bars and counters not only offer nice branding opportunities, they are also functional displays. These stands are perfect for trade show spaces, tee boxes, event entrances and more. 

Some counters have pre-assembled collapsible frames and use velcro oxford graphics. These counters are easy to assemble and compact to store.



Collapsible Counter
Collapsible Counter



Other counters use adhesive vinyl graphics and fully break down into a small carry bag.

Vinyl Adhesive Counter
Vinyl Adhesive Counter



If the counter you're looking at doesn’t include a header graphic, we would strongly recommend adding one. Popup rectangular headers are usually very affordable and really ensure people notice your brand. 

Outdoor Header
Outdoor Header


Counters and bars aren't right for every situation or show but when you can use them, they are very popular with guests. 


7. Large Displays

Large outdoor displays are the equivalent of your 10x10 trade show booth back wall for indoor booths. They offer a lot of graphic area and are particularly eye-catching in outdoor settings because you tend to see less exhibits of this size outdoors. This means if you're looking to make a big impact, these displays may be perfect for your company. These displays may also be more affordable than you think. 


If your company owns a 10x10 Flat Waveline Display or an 8x10 Flat Waveline Display you're in luck! Your indoor graphic will fit the outdoor frame. Be aware that the graphic could get a little dirtier then usual if it's used outside. Fortunately, Waveline graphics are machine washable. Also, weather such was rain, wind, and hot sunlight can impact the graphic itself. 


These outdoor displays use a sturdy aluminum frame that fits into two bubble bases. Bubble bases are plastic bases, with polyester graphic wraps, that you fill with water to keep the display weighted to the ground. For those who don’t already have a Waveline graphic, these graphics are stretch polyester material that pull over the frame like a pillowcase and zip shut to create a near wrinkle free graphic.

Outdoor Waveline with Bubble Base Display
Outdoor Waveline with Bubble Base

Another large outdoor exhibit option is the 360 degree outdoor billboard style display. This large panel is printed on the front and back as well as a triangular section on the sides. The graphic is a stretch fabric graphic that fits around the frame like a pillowcase. The frame is made of aluminum tubes and comes with waterproof weight bags. These weight bags are filled and placed in the center of the panel which is entirely hidden by the 360 degree graphic. This added weight allows the display to withstand up to 14mph wind gusts. 

Billboard Display
Large Outdoor Billboard


Large outdoor displays are ideal for trade shows, photo backdrops, interview panels, and event entrances but they can be used in many different ways.

8.Table Covers

Table covers are a staple at any trade show or event, indoors or outside. There are really three different styles of table cover. 

Three Common Table Cover Styles

  1. Tension Table Cover
  2. Full Table Throw
  3. Table Runner


Tension Table Covers use stretch polyester material that fits over the table like a pillowcase and zips closed to give the graphic tension. 

Tension Table Throw
Tension Table Throw


Full Table Throws are your standard table throw that fits over the table and hangs to or close to the ground on all four sides. With indoor events, economy table throws are very popular. These are throws that hang to the ground on three sides but the back only hangs 8”-10” off the table top. This style of table throw is seen less outside because wind can pull the throw off the table if it catches the backside.

Full Table Throw
Full Table Throw


Table Runners and generally 24”, 30”, or 60” wide fabrics that lay over the tabletop and hang down to the floor on the front and back side of the table.

Table Runner
Table Runner

 
While table graphics may not be the most innovative or modern display, you can't argue with how effective they are at identifying your brand at very little cost. 


Summary

There are all kinds of outdoor display options available as we discussed above. Owning a professional outdoor exhibit is important for your brand because it opens new opportunities and gives your team more flexibility moving forward. Fortunately, quality outdoor displays offer great value as they are generally very affordable and last a long time. For any questions, please feel free to reach out to our team at 877.663.3976 or email us at sales@moddisplays.com


April 1, 2021
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