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Shell Schemes – What are they and how to use them to elevate your brand

Embarking on the journey of showcasing your brand at an exhibition involves more than just a physical presence; it demands a visually captivating representation that mirrors your brand essence. When choosing where to exhibit on the floor plan you will likely have two choices; a raw space where you can build a custom stand from scratch or choose a shell scheme space.

So, what is a shell scheme?

A shell scheme refers to a modular and pre-built exhibition stand or booth structure. It provides the basic framework for exhibitors to showcase their products, services and brand in a defined space.

Shell Scheme system diagram explaining key features from Creative Hire

What are the key features of a Shell Scheme?


The stand is pre-built with a framework that defines the boundaries of your exhibition space. This framework can be made up of materials like aluminium or steel and have a different colour finishes such as silver or powder coated black which offer a different look and feel for the exhibition. Keep in mind too that there are different layouts you can choose from depending on what spaces are available on the floor plan but more on this later.

Wall Panels

The structure usually comes with wall panels that form the backdrop of the booth. These panels can be used for branding, graphics or other visual elements that are space for your brand to really make an impact and showcase key messages. Be sure to check with the show organiser for any restrictions with wall graphics and if you need to provide print-ready artwork for production and installation.

Fascia Sign

The fascia sign is located at the top of the stand, allowing exhibitors to display their company name and in some instances a logo too. Be sure to check your exhibition manual for fascia sign artwork requirements and any key deadlines. Costs can also vary between exhibitions for fascia signage so if you want to customise this space we recommend allocating additional budget for this area as well as wall panel graphics.


Depending on which venue the exhibition is being held, booths are normally built directly onto the supplied flooring which may be concrete, carpet or timber. You may want to consider upgrading your space with feature carpet (broadloom or carpet tiles) or raised flooring to elevate your brand and attract attention.

Lighting and Power

Generally, some lighting and power fixtures are included in your shell scheme package price.  Remember you can always upgrade your space with more power supply for your activations such as a coffee carts or even feature lighting fixtures to ensure maximum illumination of the space and your products inside.

What are the different configurations?

Layouts of Shell Scheme systems for In-Line, Peninsula and Corner configurations

Inline shell scheme stand

  • Best suited for brands offering software solutions, consultancy services, or information-based products. This configuration encourages service interaction and information exchange for companies with a specific product line or a targeted messaging.

An inline stand, also known as a linear booth, is situated in a row with other stands on the exhibition show floor. These stands are often positioned along main aisles or catering areas and offer increased visibility as attendees navigate through the show, leading to a higher likelihood of attracting foot traffic. Additionally, the three walls provide more surface area for branding and displaying promotional materials which encourages a positive brand experience for visitors.

Peninsula shell scheme stand

  • Best suited for brands in manufacturing or consumer related sectors who want to engage attendees with live product demonstrations or showcase their offerings in an open space.

A pensinula stand is a booth with one back wall and three open sides, often strategically positioned at the end of a row or in a prominent location. This shell scheme configuration offers the advantage of having an open layout which ensures that your brand is visible from multiple directions. Attendees can approach your booth from different angles, encouraging engagement and allowing your team to interact with multiple visitors simultaneously.

Corner shell scheme stand​

  • Best suited for brands in the lifestyle or hospitality industries or those who offer products and services that appeal to a broader audience.

A corner shell scheme booth is a type of exhibition space that is situated at the intersection of two aisles, featuring two open sides and two walls. It’s like the VIP spot at an exhibition! The primary advantage of a corner booth lies in its accessibility as this stand catches the eyes of visitors from all angles – giving your brand the ultimate spotlight.

Positano backdrop on exhibition shell scheme at Virtuoso on Tour at ICC Sydney

How to transform your shell scheme

Transforming your shell scheme into a show stopping experience is not just a possibility; it’s a creative adventure waiting to happen! With the basic structure provided, you can start to focus on your brand and ensure the right creative elements are selected to stand out on the show floor. Imagine your shell scheme booth as a blank canvas, where a clever use of space, colour and engagement can go a long way. Consider these tips to elevate your shell scheme space;

Plan your stand

Begin by strategically planning your booth layout to optimise traffic flow and create distinct zones, irrespective of whether you have a 3mx2 or larger shell scheme space. Do you want to display products on the right and host demonstrations on the left, or vice-versa? Where will you welcome visitors to your space and is there an area for consultations or meetings?

Use furniture with purpose

Consider modular furniture that not only enhances comfort but also serves a functional purpose too. You could choose themed decor to create a desired mood within your space, combine product display counters with high bar stools for demos or even include additional power outlets to host a public charging station – these could double as lead capture for your stand too!

Western style themed exhibition shell scheme booth at Virtuoso at ICC Sydney

Light up your space

Don’t forget to consider feature lighting with additional arms lights, free-standing lights or even pendant lighting to maximise the use of overhead shell scheme system framing. These extras not only add an illuminated presentation of your products or services, they also enhance the overall aesthetic appeal of your space.

Lead capture with activations

Beyond the basic features of carpet, lighting and walls, why not add in some fun like a spin-the-wheel activation or host a live station to attract attention? Don’t forget to pass out samples too! Encourage visitors to mingle and stay a while with some with comfy furniture, beautiful florals or even live music. Want more tips on how to create an engaging exhibition stand? Check out our blog on the best handpicked activations that will be sure to turn your shell scheme into an irresistible showcase and have the whole show floor talking.

Spin the wheel competition on exhibition stand at Dicker Data at ICC Sydney
Future Mining exhibition stand with VR experience in Sydney Masonic Centre

Ultimately, whilst shell schemes may be considered a basic option, there’s a lot you can do to elevate your space and stand out from the crowd. The range of shell scheme systems available offer comprehensive solutions with their pre-built framework that can be transformed into a creative showcase tailored to your brand’s unique identity.

Remember, you’re not just choosing the structure or package on offer but rather the creative foundation that will amplify brand impact and drive engagement. Talk to the team at Creative Hire to help guide you through the exhibition planning process and ensure you make a lasting impact on the exhibition floor with your shell scheme.

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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