What Exactly is a Modular Trade Show Exhibit?

Categories: Modular Displays, Trade Show Tips

In the last few years, there’s been an explosion of trade show exhibits that don’t require paid labor, expensive freight, and/or expensive storage.

It all started with banner stands and “traditional pop-up displays”.

Soon, there was widespread use of tension fabric exhibits that became more affordable as well as lightweight which really led to its increase in popularity in lots of exhibit categories.

Fast forward to the last few years and you’ve probably noticed the most recent innovation and trend: Backlit Displays.

Another recent, popular innovation are display systems such as the Panoramic-H displays which we consider to be fully modular display systems.

Each of these innovations has allowed our exhibitors to do much more creative designs, frustration-free, and budget-friendly setups thanks to these changes in design and functionality.

But what exactly are “Modular” exhibits and how does all of the above factor into that definition?

What We Consider to be a Modular Exhibit

We use 3 key characteristics that help us define modular displays over other display types.

#1 – A Modular Exhibit must have the ability to be re-configured for different sized booth spaces.

A lot of companies usually exhibit at more than one show and so, their display needs must take this into account.

So, if your exhibit can go from a 10×20’ booth space to a 10×10’ booth space or vice versa, then ding-ding-ding you probably have a modular frame system in your display.

A reconfigurable modular frame system

With just a parts list and set up instructions for your different configuration you can build a completely different setup, just like a Lego kit!

#2 – The Display Has to be Portable

Say you have a custom-built wood panel exhibit that’s been designed to be reconfigured to your different booth spaces.

Although you can reconfigure it (and thus modular), we wouldn’t consider this a modular frame system because its still a custom built display.

A bit confusing, we know, so we’ll touch up on this at the end of this post.

Some examples of modular frame systems would be:

TRIGA Frame System

Panoramic-H Frame System

All of the above frame systems are modular AND portable because of how the frame system is constructed: lightweight, easily assembled, packs nicely, etc.

#3 – Off the Street Ease of Assembly

The last characteristic we think of with a modular display is the ease of assembly, or how easy or hard it is to put the display together.

With a good, portable, modular frame system such as the ones listed above, you should be able to pull someone off of the street and have them be able to assemble the display after reading through the instruction manual.

The assembly process should be that simple. Just a quick guide or set up instructions. No power tools, drills, etc. should be needed, but if a simple hand tool like a screwdriver or Allen wrench is needed, then that would still be considered a modular display.

The Panoramic-H Displays are known for taking this ease of assembly to the next level. The system comes with pre-assembled panels so all you need to do to assemble the display is pull the fully assembled panels out of your crate and connect them using twist-to-lock connectors.

Differences Between Portable and Modular Exhibits

Now, even in this article we’ve been using modular and portable as if the two can’t be separated from each other and there has been some confusion in the past about differences between portable and modular exhibits.

Portable displays tend to be very lightweight, easy to assemble, but often a one-off display. One-off meaning that you cant reconfigure that display for a different sized booth space or customize the display.

Modular displays are typically more durable than a portable exhibit and have a higher price point, but the main feature here is that you can reconfigure the display to match your needs for a specific show. IE reconfigure a 10×10 setup to work in a 10×20’ space.


So to sum this post up, modular frame systems today are a thing of beauty as their main design feature allows you to use the display in many different configurations for many different shows while being a simple to use and assemble, travel-friendly display that lets you reconfigure it with no major technical background and no serious tools.

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