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Don’t Shell Yourself Short – How to use shell schemes effectively to convey your brand

If you’ve heard the term shell scheme before, then you’ve definitely been involved with your fair share of tradeshows and exhibitions. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, shell schemes are the most common type of stand or booth that you’ll be assigned when exhibiting at a tradeshow, event, or exhibition. Traditionally considered somewhat basic, there’s a LOT you can do to make yourself stand out above the rest.

Because shell schemes can be quite restrictive, it’s important you get imaginative! You’ll want to make sure you’re doing everything you can to maximise your time, energy, and space (however small it may be). Most shell schemes come with basic carpet and walls, but it’s up to you to add the extras, like furniture, flowers, lighting, and anything else. This is where it’s imperative that you make a statement. Below you’ll find our top tips to consider when dressing up your shell scheme that will ensure people are rushing to your stand at your next conference or exhibit.

Pre-plan your stand

Great, you know your measurements and you kind of have a mood board of what you want to do with your space, but we need more than that! Take the time to measure out your space and physically map out where things should be going. You’ll want to try different layouts to see how you can maximise the space and allow for the best customer experience. Nothing too crowded or awkward, you’ll have to strike the perfect balance for your layout to work, down to the centimetre (well, centimetre might be a bit dramatic, but you get the gist)…

Random Harvest at Sydney Gift Fair 2020
Random Harvest at Naturally Good Expo 2021

Light it up

Like the Rockefeller tree. By adding a few bright wall lights to your stand, you can really make your stand more attractive and inviting. From simple lights to LEDs and arm lights, it’s a sure-fire way to elevate your stand, and if done correctly, can increase awareness and drive new visitors to your space to meet and engage with your brand. Lighting is also a great way to illuminate graphics and products within your stand but be sure it complements the venue lighting in the exhibition hall and meets guidelines in your exhibitor manual.

Be the stand that customers remember

It’s likely that your shell scheme stand will be in the same row as many other exhibitors, so what differentiates you from them? You need to be fun, engaging and, yep, probably give some things away – 52% of attendees are more likely to enter an exhibit if there’s some offering of a giveaway of freebie, (Princeton Marketing). From coffee to cocktails your activations should be engaging and give you a point of difference. You could install a coffee cart or juice bar, host an education session or product demonstration, have a VIP guest speaker, or better yet invite attendees to an afternoon networking event – Enjoy a cocktail with us at 3pm! 

Salon Lane Social Media QR Code Scan for Free Coffee at Hair Festival 2022 Carriageworks
Lead capture with QR Code
Clover Pipes Custom Branded Gift Bags
Custom branded gifts for your visitors

Set the scene

Soft furnishings and other additions like TVs or greenery can create a comfortable meeting environment that will leave a lasting impression and can be branded based on your colours or logos. Seating can be formal or informal, and audio-visual equipment can make all the difference to your customer.

Embrace the space

Think about your business and how you best interact with your clients. If you’re a professional service business, you may want to consider having private meeting spaces or breakout zones that invite in passing attendees.

Do you require private booths or group tables? Or perhaps a mixture of seating arrangements is better suited. Or will customers simply wander through your stand?

Choosing the right layout can really enhance the customer experience, so it’s important that this is factored in early.

Colourful graphics Lithium Australia IMLB
Lithium Australia at IMLB 2022
Colourful graphics Lithium Australia IMLB
Custom graphics to make an impact

Generate new leads

Exhibitions are a great opportunity to collect data and generate new leads for your business. It’s the perfect place to run a giveaway, promotion and daily prize draws as it not only attracts people to your booth, but it simultaneously generates brand activation and new leads.

Make it special and announce the winner on site, so that they make a return!

Optimise your layout

Ok, so whilst you’re mapping out what you want to include you need to think about where everything goes. How functional is your space? If you have products to sell, do you have storage for stock replenishment? Clever considerations need to be made for counters and display cabinets. A small space doesn’t mean you have to compromise on brand impact and ROI, it’s simply about making the most of the space you have.

Product display

When it comes to showcasing your products, you want to ensure you have a dynamic display that incorporates depth as well as height. The lighting should pair well, and backlights can often enhance featured products. From ease of use to affordability and durability, you want your fixtures to be aesthetically pleasing whilst being practical.

Get graphic-ky with it

Graphics on your shell scheme are undoubtedly one of the most effective ways to convey your brand. To get the most out of your display, be sure to do your research on who your crowd is, what your competitors are likely to do and what graphics will suit your brand the best.

Some tips to consider: Be bold, don’t overcomplicate your graphics with lengthy text or small images and ensure all your info is easy to absorb. Use colours wisely and be aware of your space; leaving room for furniture and other things that might be in the way.

If you need help getting your shell scheme sorted, we’re the experts. We don’t want to sell you or your brand short of what it’s worth.

Creative Hire also have a new range of shell scheme stand upgrade packages available. With pre-designed configurations, branding opportunities and a range of furniture options to suit, we make your exhibition experience easy.


Find out more and download our brochure here.

Ready to create something amazing together? Contact our team today.

the Ultimate Exhibition Planners Guide

From crafting a flawless marketing strategy to mastering stand design and supercharging promotions, your pathway to success begins with the perfect plan. 


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