Freestanding Displays vs. Shell Scheme Graphics

The exhibition season can seem daunting to some...

"What is a shell scheme?!"

"What do I put in my shell scheme space?!"

Luckily, you're at the right place. Below, we talk about everything shell scheme and cover all you need to know for your next event.

What to use in a shell scheme space

Shell Scheme Graphics Freestanding Displays
Shell scheme graphics Freestanding displays


  • Floor space isn't used as the shell scheme graphics attach to the walls. This leaves you with more room for displaying products, counters and promotional giveaways.
  • Shell scheme graphics are rollable, lightweight PVC panels - these are easily packed away into carry tubes to make transportation hassle free.
  • Set up is just as quick. The panels attach using Velcro or magnetic strips (applied behind the panels) - this takes seconds to attach to the walls.
  • Shell scheme graphic panels can be custom built to fit the walling in your venue to precise specifications.
  • You can split one image across all panels like the example above and take users on a journey with each panel.
  • Graphics can be as vibrant or as simple as you like - there are no restrictions!


  • Displays come in a range of shapes and sizes to fit your shell scheme space as best as possible. One large wall can be covered with a straight tension fabric display.
  • Displays are adaptable based your layout based on the different events you attend. For small shell schemes, simply remove a banner, counter or any freestanding display you have to fit your floor space.
  • Freestanding displays can be used time and time again. Even when not in use they can also be used as semi-permanent displays in offices or reception areas.
  • Freestanding displays allows event attendees to walk in from more than one side - there's no restrictive walling in place.
  • All displays can be easily packed down into carry bags and cases for easy transportation and storage.


  • Shell scheme systems aren't universal - so your panels won't always fit another system.


  • It's easy to get carried away and clutter your space quickly. Remember, the more equipment you buy, the more space is used up.
  • Freestanding displays may be lightweight, but they're more cumbersome than shell scheme graphics. You may need an extra pair of hands to help with set up!
See our shell scheme graphics See our freestanding displays

What is a shell scheme?

A shell scheme system is essentially an enclosed empty area (or "shell") provided by event organisers for exhibitors to kit out with shell scheme graphics or freestanding displays.

An empty shell scheme can be filled with shell scheme graphics, freestanding displays or a mixture of both.

What to consider with shell scheme graphics

If you know your stand sizes in advance (and your messages will be the same for each show), you could work your production and design teams to find a middle size that could work across all of your shell scheme systems. Essentially, you'll be getting a 'one size fits all' shell scheme.

You'll be saving floor space by using shell scheme graphics. So consider making the most of this space with freestanding displays. Literature stands, iPad holders and even a banner stand can still add plenty of value while taking up minimal space.

What are freestanding displays?

Freestanding displays cover a range of display equipment such as pop up stands and banners. If you have a space only stand or are exhibiting somewhere smaller, this might well be the option for you.

What to consider with freestanding displays

Consider using different types of displays to save space. Looking to save on floor space? Fabric displays are perfect freestanding displays for creating backwalls as the slim frame takes up minimal floor space.

Whatever you do, don't overload your area with with displays. You'll still need floor space for visitors and staff to move as freely as possible.

Final thoughts

There's no winner between shell scheme graphics and freestanding displays as they both have their own advantages. In fact, it's arguable that both used together produce the best looking displays.

MNDA shell scheme graphics

Your venue will almost always dictate the type of space you’ll be exhibiting in but if you ever have a choice, it’s always worth considering your objectives before making a decision.

Do you require lots of space to entertain clients? Or do you just need a small amount of space? Is your budget big or small?

Shell schemes can work out to be cheaper, even if it is a very large space. But you still need freestanding displays to complete your stand set up to entice visitors to come to your stand.

Your design is also vital. Regardless of whether your main focus will be a space saving fabric display or the branded panels of your shell scheme... these design tips might be helpful.

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