Design Elements – Pop Up Displays

Product Quality translates into fit, finish, stability and durability you’ll appreciate in your trade show display. We’re a hands on company, so we’re constantly on the show floor evaluating the product quality and durability. We invite you to read more about the Design Elements that make up the core of our exhibit design library.

Pop-up Displays

Pop up displays set the standard for portable trade show displays. Invented in the 1970s, pop-up displays have changed little in design since. The geometry involved in building pop-up frames is impressive and hard to duplicate, but, as is the case with almost anything, it has been duplicated multiple times, and today there are many brands of pop-ups all vying for a share of the portable display market. Key patents expired in the 1990s, which opened a flood gate of knock offs and low-cost import systems.

The earliest pop-up display was the Nomadic Instand, produced by Nomadic Display and invented by the skilled engineer Ted Ziegler. Other developments set the standard for pop-ups, such as the development of a strong, folding channel bar by John Wickham of Pro Displays that reduced the number of parts required to setup a pop-up display. Soon, many manufacturers developed hinged channel bars of their own.

Key Pop-up Features

The pop-ups of today remain largely unchanged from the original design Ziegler developed. His frame was self locking, utilizing subtle flex from aircraft-grade aluminum. Many pop-up manufacturers have since developed pop-up frames that require locks to hold the expanded frame. It’s easy to overlook unlocking these pop-up frames and breakage is common.

The typical height of a pop-up display is 93”. The typical width is 120-123” wide. Because of this size, most pop-ups are slightly too big for a 10×10 booth space. There is some flex in the frame, so this isn’t a significant issue, but this small inconvenience is a testament to the influence of Ziegler’s original design, as others copied it exactly, even with this minor flaw.

The heart of the pop-up display is the set of panels that create a full, seamless backwall. Originally, these were plain fabric backwalls, but as printing and laminating evolved, it soon became clear that a full graphic mural was the best application for a pop-up display, and today panels are made with better materials and better quality printing than ever before. Originally, each graphic panel sold for $700 to $800 per panel, or $4000 for a full set with printed end caps, but in the years since, the cost has gone down significantly.

Today, there are plenty of curved and flatwall pop-ups to choose from. Nomadic Display is still producing the original Instand Classic pop-up, Pro Display is still producing its pop-up with exclusive folding channel bar, and for better or worse, very good import knock offs are available at much lower prices. Pop-up displays are still a good solution when you need a graphic backwall, and modification options in end caps and finishes can make it hard to tell that the display is even a pop-up display at all.

  • A self locking pop-up frame that is at least 92” tall.
  • Magnet to magnet connection between the panel and channel bars (not magnet to steel connection).
  • Direct print panels from HQ ink jet or Lambda printers.
  • An all-in-one case, to avoid multiple cases.
  • A case that can convert into a counter, with a lid that doubles as a step stool.

Pop-up Accessories

Like all display systems Pop up displays come with accessory options for shelving and lighting and case to counter shipping case covers. Remember Pop ups are light and just because the can hold product on shelves or a monitor on the backwall doesn’t mean they do it well. Pop up display are first and foremost graphic backwalls and they are the best portable display option if you prefer to avoid printed fabric.

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