Exhibition Industry Glossary

We have written a glossary of all the trade show terms we think you’ll need to know. Some phrases specifically refer to our own modular Prestige Events System, and some refer to more general terms which you’ll encounter at some point in the exhibition industry.


3D CAD Design– A physical layout of a stand in a space

3D Colour Render – A 3D visual in full colour

3D Perspective – A view of a design from a 3D angle

Aluminium Edging – To ‘finish’ by sealing off the edge of a raised platform floor

A/V – Audio/visual such as television screens

Backwall – The panels on the rear wall of an exhibition stand

Backlit Graphics – A light source behind semi translucent graphics causing them to be illuminated

Bespoke Built – Built to the customer’s specification

Bleed – A printing term, where the background elements of an image are extended or ‘bled’ in order to prevent unwanted white borders around the edges of a printed document.

CAD Drawing – Computer-Aided Design drawing

CAD Wireframe Drawing – The wireframe model structure underneath the CAD drawing

Click – A shell-scheme system similar to both Octanorm and Sodem but requires click adaptors to attach the panels


Colour Visual – A stand design proposal in full RGB colour Below: Counterfix

Colour Render – A stand design proposal in full RGB colour

Corner Stand – A stand with two ‘open’ sides with the walls forming a right-angle.

Counterfix – A portable pop-up counter using the Expo Prestige pop-up frame

Custom Build –built to the customer’s specification using a wide range of materials and manufacturing methods

CMYK – Short for Cyan-Magenta-Yellow-Black, the standard four colours used in colour printing.

DPI – Short for Dots Per Inch, which measures printing resolution

CS4, 5, 6… – Relating to Adobe Photoshop packages i.e Photoshop CS4, Photoshop CS5 etc

‘Direct to Hall Floor’ – When floorcovering is laid directly to the venue floor without a platform being necessary

Elevation View – A view of a design from one side only, normally front or side

Endcap Showcase – A shelved showcase built into the curved end of an exhibition stand

Fascia – The exterior trim around a stand space, normally in reference to a ‘shell scheme fascia’

Free Hire – The option given by Quadrant 2 Design whereby you purchase your stand graphics, and borrow the stand system free

Flexible graphics – Graphics that can be rolled up for storage and transport Below: Integrated showcases and endcap showcase


‘Floor Flats’ – A very thin false platform required by some venues where floor covering can’t be laid direct to floor

Foamex –Semi-rigid foam PVC board used by other Exhibition Stand contractors on which the graphics are attached, which are heavy and cumbersome

Full Colour Digital Inkjet Graphics – Full colour print – so suitable for things suchs as photographs, gradients, solid colour, text, black and white, greyscale; any graphic content of choice

Full Stand Management – Where all aspects of the stand are managed by the contractors, which include transport, installation and break-down.

Fully Managed & Installed – Where all aspects of the stand are managed by the contractors, which include transport, installation and break-down.

Grid Square – The term used for 1000m x 1000m

Graphic Design – The creative visualisation and bringing together of text, photos and logos to create a complete visual message in a print ready format

Graphic Art Working – The creation of print ready artwork from individual elements (text, photos & logos) to match a design brief or visual supplied.

HDMI Cable – High Definition Multimedia Interface; a digital cable which transfers digital audio data from a source device to a compatible television, video projector, computer or digital audio device.

Installation & Dismantle –The process by which an exhibition stand is set-up in the exhibition arena and taken down after the show

Image Library – An online collection of images

Image Size – Can refer either to physical size (mm x mm) or megabytes (units of computer information) the size in megabytes is affected by the physical size and the resolution.

InDesign – Adobe InDesign; desktop publishing software often used by Graphic Designers

Illustrator (.ai) – Adobe Illustrator; a vector graphics editing software often used by graphic Designers


Integrated Showcase – A Product Showcase that is part of the Exhibition System and actually within it, and not freestanding object or an attachment

Island Exhibit – An exhibition space which is open on all 4 sides Below: High Level Branding, Linking Gantry and Rotating Header

Jpeg Compression – A sliding scale that affects the size in megabites, not the physical size. The larger the file size in MB,the higher the quality; the Smaller the file size in MB, the lower the quality.

Linking Gantry – Overhead component that joins one part of the stand to another – in the case of Prestige, this can be used to discreetly run electrical cables over head to remote parts of the stand. See image on right.

Lock-up – A secure storage area within an exhibition stand

Mag Strut/Bar – Used in pop-up type systems to make the folding frames rigid in their expanded shape, the bars also accept the graphic panels which have magnetic tape on the back.

Modular System – A system composed of separate components which all connect together

Move-in – The specified date for when exhibition installation can begin

Move-out – The specified date for when the dismantling of an exhibition can begin

Packing List – A list compiled by the contractor for the benefit of the courier, itemizing all contents of shipment and all relevant information

Plan View – A 2-dimensional view of a design, stereotypically from above or the side of a design.

Pop-up System – A system comprised of an expanding frame technology

Portable Architecture – A lightweight structure which can be moved without machinery

Photoshop (.psd) – Adobe Photoshop; a desktop image editing software often used by Graphic Designers

Project Management – The task of planning, organising, securing and managing all aspects of the production of an exhibition stand by a Project manager

Proof – A softcopy of a digital file used to check everything is in order before going through to printing, usually in jpeg format

PDF Proof – A softcopy of a digital file used to check everything is in order before going through to printing in PDF format

Pull-up Banner Stand – Graphics which pull up from the bottom (a bit like a roller blind) to form a vertical free-standing banner (sometimes called roller-banner)

Purchase Order Number (or PO number) – A designated customer reference number relating to your purchase order.

Raised Platform Floor – A platform floor for an exhibitor which is raised above the level of the exhibition hall floor, usually 40mm, 100 mm, or 120mm – electrical cabling can be run discreetly under a platform floor.

Resolution – dpi (dots per inch) or ppi (pixels per inch) – The more pixels or dots in one inch the smaller each pixel or dot is and the finer the detail of the image.

RGB – Short for Red-Green-Blue, the three main colour components for television and computer monitors

Roller Banner Stand – See ‘Pull-up Stand’

Rotating Header – Additional self-contained part of the stand fixed to a turntable at high-level for 360degree visibility

Static Banner Stand – Like a pull-up or roller banner to look at, but the graphic is not contained within a ‘cassette’ a the bottom.


Seamless Effect Graphics – Graphics printed to precision for use on a Prestige System which ensures virtually no gaps or lines are visible when attached to panels, creating a seamless panoramic effect.

Seamless Effect Shell Scheme Graphics – Graphics printed to precision for use on a Shell Scheme which ensures no gaps or lines are visible when attached to panels, creating a seamless panoramic effect.

Shell Scheme Graphics – Graphics panels printed specifically to fit within the dimensions of a particular shell scheme, fixing on top of the plain shell scheme panels using Velcro.

Shell Scheme/ Shell Scheme Booth – A rigid stand supplied by the show management, often including carpet, plain white foamex walls, lighting, grid ceiling and a fascia nameboard. In many cases, the shell scheme fascia and grid ceiling can be removed, leaving just the rigid back walls Above: Shell Scheme Booth

Octanorm – A modular metal shell-scheme stand system consisting of 1m and 1.5 metre panels, so called ‘Octanorm’ because the support poles that make the structure have 8 connectors for which the foamex graphics panels slot into

Sodem – A shell-scheme system, very similar to Octanorm

Show Nominated Contractor – A contractor appointed to perform trade show services for exhibitors by the show organisers

Simple Electrical Terminology – 50w/500w/1kW etc.

Space Only – When only a floor space is rented, opposed to a rigid shell scheme. As nothing is included (carpet, electricity, furniture etc), it is generally cheaper than Shell Scheme sites. It can be open on 1, 2, 3 or all 4 sides. Space only stands can generally be built up to 4m tall without special dispensation, but exhibitors can contact the show management to find out the exact allowed height allowed as shows and venues will vary.

Stand Orientation – The location and direction a stand is built within a space (vitally important for symmetrical ‘island’ stands!)

‘System’ – The frame which makes up the structure of an exhibition stand. In the case of Quadrant2Design, the system is called Prestige

System Hardware – The ‘skeleton’ or structural components of a system I.e. Not the graphics

Towerfix – An almost cylindrical tower accessory to the Prestige system which can be fitted with product display showcases if desired

VGA Cable – ‘Video graphics array’; A lead used to transmit video signals across media devices such as games consoles, laptops and televisions.

We hope you found this list useful. If there are any other words and phrases not on the list which you think should be added, please get in touch.