Your guide to modular exhibition systems

Several compelling factors are leading more and more exhibitors towards the use of a modular exhibition stand. Their deserved rise in popularity will continue to grow, eventually overtaking the traditional exhibiting method which has been in place for some time.

So, if you are considering investing in a modular stand, or gathering more information surrounding the subject, you are in the right place.

Here at Quadrant2Design, we have 22 years of experience in modular exhibiting with every stand built since 2009 being modular, that’s over 7000 stands!

This buyer’s guide will walk you through every aspect of a modular exhibition stand set-up, providing you with industry-expert knowledge.

What is a modular exhibition system?

A modular system challenges the traditional one-time-use stands, commonly known as ‘build ‘n’ burn’ displays. A modular exhibition stand or display is constructed of flexible segments that lock together to form a structure.

This structure can then be broken down and remade to form differently shaped or sized stands for forthcoming shows, ideal for exhibitors who regularly attend events, with different stand spaces.

Large stand design two open sides, green and white with banner. Tv Screens, showcase displays, high-level branding, counters and many more.

What are the benefits of using a modular exhibition stand?

  • It allows for more sustainable exhibiting, in that they use fewer resources to manufacture, transport and build – and that they are genuinely reusable solutions.
  • The modular framework condenses down into a fraction of its erected size, allowing storage to be hassle-free.
  • Modular solutions are extremely versatile and can be repurposed for: conference sets, roadshows, award ceremonies, pop displays and corporate events.
  • Safe and easy to assemble without the need for tools, solvents or chemicals.
  • Modular stands are quick to build, often comfortably within a day, reducing the time and cost of the construction, they also allow the build to start on the last possible day, knowing your stand won’t come to any harm between the build and show opening.
  • If you are a regular exhibitor, the modular framework is by far the most cost-effective solution.
  • Modular exhibition stand features are easily integrated into the hardware, fully allowing creative freedom on each reconfiguration.
  • Can be used for both, shell-scheme and space-only exhibition sites.
  • Hire or purchase options are available with the modular system.
  • Endless reconfiguration possibilities are available.

When and why to use a modular stand

  • If you plan to attend multiple exhibitions in the future, the modular system is the number one for cost-effectiveness and sustainability. With each reuse, you will save money, time, and the environment.
  • If you take a range of different stand spaces across your exhibiting program.
  • If you need to make an impact at a show, while making your exhibiting sustainable, both in terms of cost and environmentally.
  • If you need a full-blown exhibition stand built in a short period – some build-ups are limited to a few hours.
  • If you want to self-build, but also want an impressive stand, beyond shell schemes, pop-ups and banners.
  • If you are looking for an exhibition hire service to spread your exhibiting cost. Our free hire service gives you your stand structure free of charge, so you just have to pay for installation, project management, and graphic panels. If you have used the service before, you may not even need to pay for your graphic panels, as you can reuse those from previous shows. Reducing cost further.
  • If you take a mix of shell scheme and space-only stand spaces. If you opt to book late you may not always have the option. The Prestige Events System works equally well in a shell scheme as it does in space only.
  • If you desire complete creative freedom for a show, a modular system setup will gift you exhibiting flexibility. Integrated features into the structure are straightforward due to the innovative design of the Prestige Events System.
  • If you need consistency of branding and style across a range of different events from small conferences and roadshows to international exhibitions.

Hire exhibition stands for Rebecca Jewellery, Includes 4m high level branding. Produced by Quadrant2Design

When not to use a modular stand

In most cases an advanced custom-modular solution like Prestige Event System is suitable for most businesses, exhibiting in most stand spaces, however, there are some times when modular stands may not be the best fit.

  • Particularly small spaces. Below 6 square metres, modular solutions have a footprint, which can take up a lot of small space. Also, modular systems will have the smallest module size, usually around 0.5-1m, within a minimal space, you’re limited with the number of modules that can be used and the order they can be used in.
  • Very low budgets. If your budget is in the hundreds, or low thousands, you’re probably not in a position to invest in a worthwhile modular system. Budget modular solutions offer little advantage over banners and pop-up displays, yet are still more expensive. If you want to take the modular route, you need to invest.
  • Extremely large structures above 200 square metres. At this scale, modular stands start to become less cost-effective and the need for modularity reduces.
  • Heights above 4m. If you want to build a stand over 4m in height, you enter into the realm of temporary structure building regulations which are very complicated, time-consuming and expensive. Most modular solutions aren’t suited to this.
  • Double-decker stands. With a second floor, are generally not constructed in a modular solution, the structural requirements of a double-decker are beyond truly modular solutions.
  • When mounting very large, or heavy products within a stand structure. Modular solutions are generally lightweight and clad in graphics, while solutions like prestige are capable of mounting substantial items, there is always a limit.
  • When a unique design concept that includes sculptural or complex 3D elements is a must.
  • When you want to use specific materials or textures. While textures can be recreated with high-quality graphics, if you want the physical feel of polished concrete worktops or teak-clad walls, you won’t find a modular solution that can do this.

Blue coloured modular stand. Produced by Quadrant2Design

Types of modular exhibition stands

  • Pop-ups and banners

You can join these together, but can’t be considered an exhibition stand, they are a simple display solution, and however, they can be used at exhibitions.

Pop-up displays take longer to assemble than a banner but are more substantial. This type of display is particularly common in shell schemes as a low-cost way of lining, or partially lining the blank walls.

  • Modular display stands

Basic modular displays and solutions allow flexibility but don’t have the range of features or structural capabilities to truly be a full-blown exhibition stand, nor to make the exhibitor stand out. However, the ease of assembling the display does help reduce the overall build time if that was a concerning factor.

Modular display stands are cost-effective options for exhibitors on a lower budget. It is important to bear in mind that these stands will leave at least some of the structure on display.

  • Custom Modular exhibition stands

Custom-designed stands that use a modular solution, create impressive and exciting exhibition stands, with a 3D structure and a range of features and lighting to be called an exhibition stand.

Sustainable exhibiting can be achieved through custom modular exhibitions. You can use the framework for your stand throughout the entire exhibition season since it is reusable and reconfigurable.

A custom modular exhibition stand, like those produced by Quadrant2Design, may require a greater initial investment, but still, become very cost effective used for a series of shows.

Ensuring you stand out and draw customers in is the key to a return on investment when it comes to exhibiting, opting for lower-cost options that don’t achieve this may be a false economy.

  • Modular fabric displays

A series of large rectangular or square aluminium frames with a graphic under tension fitted across the frame.

While they are reusable, modularity is limited as each module is generally large and can often only be set either flat or at 90 degrees to adjoining modules, significantly reducing modularity. This increases the likelihood of needing to purchase new graphics and hardware.

While fabrics look fantastic for the first show, particularly when backlit, they don’t stand the test of time, in terms of modularity and the visual look of the stand, with new creases appearing in the fabric with every show.

  • Shell Scheme

While shell scheme panels are reconfigurable, in the sense they can be re-used from show to show and can be used in a different order, or have additional panels added, they aren’t a truly modular solution, they are a very low-cost flexible solution.

Small size exhibition stand. White and blue corner stand. 2 Open sides with counter, showcases display and lighting.

What floor plan sizes fit a modular stand?

Due to the incredible versatility of the system, modular stands will fit almost any floor space at a show. Large or small, the luxury of reconfiguring the structure time and time again makes exhibiting look easy.

We have built stands ranging from 4 square metres at 2.3m high to 300square meters at 4m high. Stands often include private meeting rooms, demo stations, large presentation areas, product displays, store rooms, kitchens and much, much more.

Here is a modular stand in a 6m x 3m floor space:

Large green corner exhibition stand for Aesthetic Source, includes 4m high-level branding and a Quadrant2Design photo-floor. Produced by Quadrant2Design.

Here is the same modular structure in a 6m x 4m floor space:

aesthetic exhibition stand, green and white with counter, literature display, showcase display, photo-floor and lighting.

How do you assemble a modular stand?

The easiest way to build a modular exhibition stand is to do nothing at all!  Professional installation of a modular stand gives all the benefits of modularity without the stress of self-building if this sounds like the solution for you visit our exhibition stand hire page for more information on professionally installed modular stands.

If you are self-building, assembling and handling your stand is easy because it does not require tools, plus our modular system is exceptionally lightweight.

Every phase of building your stand is a clean process and involves no solvents, chemicals or debris.

At Quadrant2Design if you decide to purchase and self-build, you and your team will receive free one-to-one training from one of our lead stand installers. Additionally, our website is full of online help resources, showcasing a whole range of animations and videos for each modular component.

A combination of training and online step-by-step animated tutorials will ensure your modular stand-building skills develop very quickly.

UK stand designers pre-building display booth

How do you look after and store a modular stand?

  • The beauty of the modular system is the ability to form endless creative structures, yet be so compact when broken down. This means minimal storage space, whether the stand is large or small, will be necessary. For portability purposes, the compact nature of the modular systems is perfect for transport.
  • The hardware is also very strong and durable, while the materials are comparatively light. Modular stand solutions come with dedicated storage and transport cases. Quadrant2Design has frames that have been in service for well over 15 years and are still working as well as the day they were made, our range of cases all have wheels to make transport as easy as possible.
  • Quadrant2Design Offers free storage of graphics, between shows, as long as the customer exhibits once a year with Quadrant2Design, graphics are carefully stored in high-density cardboard drums and stored in a temperature-controlled controlled storage unit.
  • As the graphic panels are the visible element of the stand, you may want to replace or refresh graphics over time, however, with the high-quality materials used by Quadrant2Design, graphics can last 10 years, with some customers using the same graphic for up to 35 shows!

General wear and tear over time will affect the condition of graphics, but the life span of exhibition graphics are generally dependent on two factors, quality of materials and the handling and storage of graphics.

Quadrant2Design’s graphic panels are made from the highest quality, bespoke materials developed specifically for our modular stands, while our installers are all fully trained in the correct handling of graphic panels.

Acrylic signage new idea for large booth.

Timeline for stand creation and delivery

Ideally, you will want to enquire about an exhibition stand at least 3 months in advance. Although, we do have clients who have finalised all stand sizes and graphic designs, 6 months or even 1 year before an exhibition.

With all that said, due to our flexible business model, with every element of design, print and production under one roof, we can go from initial enquiry to installation in 3-4 weeks.

A typical production timeline

After a proposal is accepted our design consultants, hand the project over to a dedicated project manager.

Around 1 week is needed to detail and agree on a final stand structure, which determines the graphic requirements.

Next, 2-4 weeks are generally allocated to the graphic design process, working closely with our customer, our graphic designers develop the graphic content of all panels, across all modular configurations. We can also supply templates for customers who would like to use their graphic designer, with our team here to support and answer any technical questions.

Finally, 2-4 weeks are required for the production of all panels and bespoke elements to create the custom modular stand. This period will also include our quality control checks, where we will pre-build 100% of the stand, so we know it is perfect for the big day. Finally, customers have the opportunity to visit the pre-build on the day, just for that extra reassurance.

Questions you may need to consider before purchasing a modular stand

  • How big is the space you will be using it for next?
  • What is your budget?
  • What functionality do you need from your stand?
  • Do you have a particular design idea or direction for the stand?

Whether you know the answer to these questions, or need some help, get in touch for a free design proposal and consultation. It is a brilliant way to envision precisely how great your custom-designed, modular stand can look.

Contact us by emailing us at or calling 01202 723 500 to arrange your free, no-obligation, design proposal.