The Cheapest Way to Hang a Trade Show Backdrop

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Categories: Trade Show Back Walls, Trade Show Printing, Trade Show Tips

There are inexpensive ways to hang a Trade Show Backdrop in your booth space, but the purpose of this article will tackle the age-long question: If it’s inexpensive, does that mean it will look cheap?

Hanging a Banner from Your Booth

Most Trade Shows you exhibit at will have ‘pipe-and-drape’ that automatically comes with your booth reservation. This is the err, umm, not-so-attractive divider between you and your neighbor. Most exhibitors plan to not only brand their booth space, but also cover up the pipe-and-drape so as little as possible is visible.

So for Exhibitors on a super tight budget, can you simply hang a banner from the pipe & drape and will it look nice? Well, there is some gray area here. The best answer unfortunately is: It depends. For a true-and-fast answer, reach out to the contact information you have in your Exhibitor Manual for that particular show to ask them if they allow you to hang a banner directly from the back of your booth on the pipe itself. Some shows say no, while others let it slide. I think ultimately shows want to see a free-standing banner not reliant on the back pipe to avoid anything from falling down or causing it to lean.

That being said, the truth is you do see banners hanging directly from the pipe all the time. So that leads us to the next question…

Does Hanging a Banner from Back of Booth Space look Professional?

I often get requests for a printed banner that will be hung with grommets and attach to the top of the booth space. When I do, I usually start asking questions especially if this is their first time. They say you never get a 2nd chance to make a first impression and so just because you can hang a banner, does this mean you should?

Personally I usually do not like to see exhibitors go with just a printed banner with only a couple exceptions, namely: Budget is too tight or the ‘impression’ of professionalism is not a high priority. Think farmer’s market if you will. Having a simple vinyl banner with the name of the local farm in a farmer’s market setting is actually kind of endearing and thus works just fine. But what about companies who need to develop a brand…?

You’ll notice my example above used a ‘farmer’s market’ and a ‘vinyl’ banner. Both were intentional. You see, a vinyl banner can be rolled up and isn’t folded (so no creases). For exhibitors at trade shows, there is usually shipping involved. This means the banner most likely needs to be folded (in most cases) which brings us to…. dun dun dun: Fabric Banners.

RPL Fabric Trade Show Display
Example of 10X8′ RPL Back Wall done right

Fabric Banners are very popular right now and for reasons I’ll get to soon (see below), but without a frame to pull it tight, a shipped fabric banner by itself may have come with some unexpected issues. Mainly, fabric banners are folded when shipped which gives it time to develop creases. When unfolded and applied to the back of your booth, you might be left feeling a little displeased with it aesthetically with your eyeball being drawn to those crease lines rather than your beautifully printed logo and branding. Not what you need right before a big show.

Trade Show Fabric Banners: There is Still Hope

So what is an Exhibitor to do?

Well, luckly there is a solution, or two, or three.

Really the name of the game is to solve the above problems using a frame + fabric banner. Does it cost a little more? In some cases maybe, but completely worth it.

Let’s take a simple example. Let’s say you have a 10X10′ booth space and you were originally thinking a banner in the back of your booth space hung from the pipe-and-drape with grommets and zip ties. But you read this article and you are left wondering about some other options. Well a simple fabric pop up display like the RPL Back Walls are a fabric graphic and a pop up style frame that sets up in literally minutes that will prevent you from having to rely on the back pipe. And guess what….. It covers the entire 10′ wide X 8′ tall Back Wall! Talk about Branding! So let’s compare cost…

10X8 RPL Fabric Pop Up Display
Another example of 10X8′ RPL Back Wall looking good

A 10′ wide X 4′ tall fabric banner with grommets is about $7/ per square foot. This puts the cost at $280 and would only cover HALF your back wall space.

Now, compare that to the 10X8′ RPL Back Wall. These are currently priced at $548 and includes the full print graphic package with frame. So for $268 extra you get a complete branded space for your back wall (not just half), a frame to pull the fabric tight (no creases), and you are no longer dependent on the pipe and drape at the show. You’re free! In addition you can add top LED Clamp Lights, etc. Heck you’re starting to turn into a proper exhibitor!

I think one thing I’ve learned over the years is that just because it can be done for the less doesn’t always mean you should. There is always a cost for cutting corners and sometimes that cost is your branding and professionalism. If you’re left with no choice because of time, budget, etc then I totally get that, but for a little more it sure can help with some headaches.

Other Trade Show Backdrop Options

The RPL Back Wall is a great option. But that is just scratching the surface. It can go on and on from there with so many other wonderful options. The EZ Tube Back Walls are another great display that sets up in minutes and comes in a bunch of different sizes and can be printed on both sides.

The WaveLine Media Kits can kick it up a notch with unique looking configurations for different booth sizes and the WaveLight Display series bring whole different set of bling with backlit options.

As you can see it goes on and on. Exhibitors have many options at their finger tips these days.

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