Graphic Mill: the ultimate design and build resource for creative agencies 🫶

Graphic Mill: the ultimate design and build resource for creative agencies 🫶

At Graphic Mill, we always cherish the relationships built with creative agencies. We have years of experience working with creative agencies and building trust through meeting the exacting requirements of their clients.

On some projects, agencies want a high level of involvement, acting as the middle-person to help manage the project at all stages. On others, we work directly with their client to free up the agency’s time. An Account Manager and Operations Manager will always been assigned to each job, overseeing the design and build, ensuring that the agency and / or client will have a consistent contact they can rely upon for easy and affective communication.

Agencies can benefit from our free-of-charge ’white-labelling’ service. This sees us working under their name and brand, and us acting as an extension of their business. It’s another example of how we can be as present or discreet as necessary in the minds of the agency’s client.

Graphic Mill benefits from owning an in-house print and fabrication workshop. This allows us to produce short run or individual items with a fast turn-around time. We also have relationships with a large network of industry manufacturers which we can call upon for those more unusual and bespoke builds.

Our experienced design team are accustomed to working to all manner of budgets for design and build projects. Whether an agency provides just the seed of an idea, or a fully expanded design concept, we are able to offer a build solution which works for everyone involved.

At every stage of the process, we look to take stress off the shoulders of our clients. One way we achieve this is by providing artwork templates. If an agency or their client needs to provide artwork for a given asset, we’ll send over a template file which contains elements already correctly sized, allowing them to easily apply what they need to. We can also utilise our design team to provide a service which sees us create the graphics, cutting out the need for the agency or their client to get involved other than signing off what we’ve created.

One final thing that agencies love about working with Graphic Mill, is the variety of product we can design and build for them. Designing, building and installing exhibition stands across the UK and Europe is what we’re best known for, in addition though, we also enjoy producing window displays, imaginative OOH activations, event branding, oversized 3D products, and a variety of bespoke builds!

Our Top 5 Reusable Exhibition Stand Ideas 2023 ♻️

Our Top 5 Reusable Exhibition Stand Ideas 2023 ♻️

Custom modular and reusable exhibition stands look fantastic, bring down the costs of exhibiting at future shows, and are environmentally responsible.  Here’s our top exhibition stand ideas for designing your stand with reusability in mind in 2023.

Reusing the stand at multiple shows

Netacea Infosec 23 Exhibition Stand Ideas

We have an easy solution for reusable exhibition stands. We stock a range of modular Aluvision framework for rental that looks great, provides a strong and sturdy structure, and can be reconfigured to almost any stand size and layout.

Exhibition Stand Install 2 People

By using environmental-friendly aluminium frames for your stand walls and clever planning in the design stage, graphics can be reused and adjusted into different size spaces. It’s then simply a case of placing your other stand elements around the space.

Proper Lunch Trade Show Stand

Our designers excel in creating display solutions that look great and are durable, ensuring they last show after show. One of our top exhibition stand ideas to increase the lifespan of your kit is to consider how it’s being protected during transit to and from the event. We make sure that all of our equipment is wrapped carefully or has its own flight case or protective box before we load it for an exhibition.

Strong visual impact with reusable kit

Ugly at Lunch

We’ve made a lot of observations over the years on how to make a strong visual impact with a reusable exhibition stand. Spaces that are meticulously planned and designed are often the ones that get the most attention at a show, so the way a stand looks is undoubtedly one of the most important aspects of exhibiting.

Well & Truly at Lunch

We believe the best stands have a hero display feature that is the central focal point of the stand. This could be a huge lightbox logo, or a beautiful handcrafted counter, by having one particular element that looks fantastic, you create a talking point that sticks in the mind of a show visitor long after the event has finished. Often, our clients will reuse these elements in their offices or for future activations in retail or roadshows.

White Exhibition Stand Lunch - Gimber

There are lots of ways to create a visually outstanding space, but one of the most important has to be lighting. Most show halls can be quite dark so by illuminating your stand, you draw attention to your branding and all of your display elements. We use a combination of elegant downlights for the walls and flood lights for the floor layout to create a bright and punchy space.

Eye-catching reusable display elements

Bells and Whistles Exhibition Stand Lunch 2019

Some of the most common display elements that are used on exhibition stands are counters, podiums and bar tables. These are all tried and tested furnishings that are useful as meeting spaces, for storage and for demoing or sampling products. Digital screens with looping video or laptop input are also a common feature that provide constant interaction.

Tribe Spinning Wheel

If you want to push your stand to the next level, there are lots of options to consider to draw in show visitors. To create a buzz on your stand, you might consider including a prize spinner wheel or some form of game to break the ice. We’ve created all sorts over the years from low-cost corn bag games to loud plinko droppers, to basketball hoops to full-on amusement arcade attractions.

Next DLP InfoSec Demo Station

Having space allocated for meetings is important, and we’re seeing a trend towards the informal, with sofas and coffee tables. By using soft furnishings, you can create a comfortable space that helps to keep the conversation rolling, and why not consider a coffee machine for drinks? For private meetings, you could consider a dedicated room or using semi-private baffles (such as fins) to screen off the rest of the world.

egym elevate exhibition stand

We’re seeing a lot of wooden clad walling trending in our current designs, so one of our best exhibition stand ideas for this is to use tension fabric graphics, printed with a realistic wood texture. Using this approach, logistical and manufacturing costs are reduced, environmental impact is much lower, and most people didn’t realise the difference! The fabrics also fold up to a small footprint saving on storage costs.

Aire Logic Illuminated Cog Lightbox

The effect can be applied to perimeter walls and to counters, and we recommend using a stock texture repository like to find a realistic texture for your artwork. We’ve used this technique for printed brick walls, wooden panels and marble effects in the past.

Digital Content Solutions

Mazebolt Info Security InfoSec 2023 Trade Show Stand

Adding screens to an exhibition stand is a must in 2023 as they are useful in so many ways. Used for looping video content, they can provide an easy and inexpensive way to engage visitors in the space. They are essential for software demonstrations and often, the larger the screen, the better. We can provide AV solutions where you simply plug your laptop in and away you go, though we do recommend you test beforehand to prevent any mishaps on the day.

Rather than bringing stacks of handouts, you could consider a QR code on your stand or product catalogues on iPads. These provide a more environmentally friendly way to present your literature and lowers your costs on giveaway stock and logistics.

Storage after the show

A key part of the planning process is what happens to the stand after the show. Your reusable elements such as counters or custom furniture can be stored at our secure facility for a monthly fee, or they can be taken away and used at your office or stored in your own warehouse.

Café-Style exhibition stand

If you plan on using the equipment at multiple shows, leaving it with us to store makes a lot of sense as we provide logistic services to and from future events that you’re attending. As part of our storage service, we ensure that the event furniture is kept in tip-top shape, and we fix up any reasonable blemishes after the show.

Reusable Exhibition Stand Ideas Key Takeaways

To recap, here are the key takeaways for our best reusable exhibition stand ideas:

  • Creating a custom modular exhibition stand that can be reconfigured for future shows will save on your budget and is an environmentally-responsible way to exhibit.
  • Make a strong visual impact with hero display features and a smart use of lighting.
  • Consider what you’re aiming to achieve at the show and base your stand furniture on what you require. Do you need a sit down meeting space, or will a counter meet your needs?
  • Wrapping your furniture or using cases will prevent damage during transport and increase the lifespan of your kit.
  • Can your exhibition furniture be reused in your office or at other activations?

We hope that this article has provided some insight creating an outstanding reusable exhibition stand! For more exhibition stand ideas and further information, check out our showcase, or get in touch for a free stand consultation.

Hanging Banners – the best kept secret to increase traffic to your exhibition stand 🎈

Hanging Banners – the best kept secret to increase traffic to your exhibition stand 🎈

Clients frequently come to us for advice on what elements of their exhibition stand provides the best return on their investment. Whilst we always promote the idea of first focussing on the basics of your stand, the next step to elevate your stand above the competition is to consider introducing a hanging banner.

What is a hanging banner?

Hanging banners come in all shapes and sizes. They can features your custom branding, and act as a fantastic way of your presence at the show being seen from all corners of the venue.

When choosing your hanging banner, it’s worth considering the product you’re promoting and how the banner can link to it. For example, a brand selling their beverage in a round can might want a cylindrical banner, whereas a cuboid banner might be better suited to the sleek branding of a tech company.

Another consideration is that banners are suspended in the dark ceiling, so lighter colours and even internal illumination can help the hanging banner pop and become a beacon straight to your exhibition stand.

You don’t have to stop at the banner itself. Underneath your banner you might consider hanging a further element such as an oversized 3D mockup of your product or some key messaging.

What should I put on my hanging banner?

You’ll first want to decide whether to convey your logo, a message, an image, or all of the above! The benefit of a cuboid banner is that you have multiple surfaces to work with. If your logo lends itself to being enlarged, this clear form of brand identity often wields the best results. If your branding is more subtle, it might be worth making tweaks to your usual colour palette to create a banner that can’t be overlooked. Certainly bright, punchy colours are the most effective, but also consider whether you want your banner internally illuminated. Lighter colours which are lit will truly stand out against the dark ceiling of your exhibition hall, whereas a darker palette can risk getting lost in the darkness. Also, if you want to convey a message, keep it super short, allowing the text to be as large and legible as possible. Less is often more when it comes to branding hanging banners.

How can I get a hanging banner?

We have a wide range of different hanging banner shapes and sizes for rental here at Graphic Mill.

It’s worth noting that each venue has different rules on hanging assets above your stand, and nearly all of them will charge a rigging fee. That said, we are always happy to work directly with the venue to submit the relevant paperwork and work their costs into your invoice, making for a smooth and hassle-free process.

10 best trade show giveaways and how to offer them! 🎁

10 best trade show giveaways and how to offer them! 🎁

When looking for ways to engage potential clients, it’s no surprise that free swag and trade show giveaways often acts as a lure too good to walk past!

By offering a freebie that is branded with your graphics, customers can take a piece of your business home or back to their office, helping to increase brand awareness and keep your company relevant in the minds of those who receive the items.

As for how you go about giving these items away, there are methods which can maximise brand engagement. For example, using gamification as a means of the customer choosing or winning their free gift is an excellent way of ensuring they also gain a fun and memorable experience, not to mention giving you the opportunity to educate them in your business whilst they spend time at your stand. With this in mind, you could include fairground style games or rented arcade machines (think spin-the-wheels, whack-a-mole or Pac-Man). You could also offer some free swag in return for engaging with your company’s mailing list or social media. Sharing a given post and tagging a colleague in it for good measure could be the exchange for what you’re giving away.

In terms of exactly what to giveaway, customised items featuring your branding, which the recipient would actually want to use on a day-to-day basis, are by far the most effective gifts. This said, be aware of how the product relates to your business and the trade show you’re exhibiting at. Whilst it doesn’t have to be directly associated with the industry you work in, and as obvious as it sounds, you wouldn’t want to give away food containing animal products at a vegan convention or sunglasses in the winter!

Here are our top 10 giveaways, as seen on many of the stands we’ve built for our clients:

Note books and planners

Tastefully branded with your logo, this gift will be a long lasting reminder of your business for either the 12 months of a planner, or for however long it takes the recipient to fill a notebook.


Be the hero of the hour by giving away large and good quality branded umbrellas. Always useful (especially in the UK!), this is another long lasting gift which can easily promote your company. 

Tote bags

This has the potential to be a good eco conscious gift, and a useful one too. You’d likely be giving them away at a time when the recipient is already weighed down with an armful of promo material from other stands, and would welcome a nicely designed bag which can be used for long after the show ends.

Food and drink

Always a winner, food and drink is an ever popular way of adding a bit of enjoyment to someone’s day. Whilst not being the longest lasting freebie on this list, food and drink packaging is customisable if bought from the right company, and ensures the recipients positive experience is associated to your brand. My personal favourite here is good tasting coffee provided in branded and recyclable coffee cups. The drinker will either drink it at your stand, giving you the opportunity to discuss business, or walk around the show holding it, offering a bit of free advertising, especially when others ask where they got it from! Hiring a coffee machine and barista might sound like a pricey option, but you’ll be surprised at how effective this can be at creating meaningful engagement and strong leads.

Luggage tags

This links back to the importance of offering giveaways that are actually useful to the recipient. Attendees often travel great distances to attend trade shows. Something as simple as a subtly branded luggage label is a freebie they’d actually want to use, not just for their return trip, but for many future journeys, again keeping your business in their thoughts.

Travel mugs / water bottles

Nearly everyone who travels for business can be accused of throwing away too many coffee cups which more than often are non-recyclable. A travel mug or metal water bottle is a great eco conscious gift which can be used by the recipient time and time again, and if tastefully branded, acts as free advertising as the user walks around holding it.

Portable phone charger

Practical as well as desirable, this is the perfect giveaway for the travelling business person who is spending long days at trade shows and are constantly using their phones for networking and taking photos and videos for networking and content. 

Microfibre cloth

This is a nice freebie which again acts as a long lasting reminder of your brand, whilst not breaking the bank to purchase. Eminently useful, nearly everyone visiting your stand would benefit in taking away one of these.

USB drives

Another gift which is easily branded and is useful to everyone, USB drives or other storage solutions can be a long lasting reminder of your brand and even gives you the opportunity to preload content and marketing material relevant to your business onto it before handing over to the customer.

The best Trade Show Giveawaysyour own products!

Lets not forget samples of products your own business produces. If you’re able to hand out a physical sample, then great, but it might be that a free trial or discount code to your digital service creates welcome leads, sales and networking opportunities.

So what are you waiting for? If you’re exhibiting and want to increase your reach in a way which gives you a fantastic return on your investment, embrace the ‘power of the free’ and look to invest in some giveaways!

What’s the difference between a Shell Scheme and Space Only exhibition stand?

What’s the difference between a Shell Scheme and Space Only exhibition stand?

Two terms that will come up a lot when you’re first booking your exhibition stand are shell scheme and space only. So what is a shell scheme, how does it differ from a space only, and what’s the difference between the two?

What is a Shell Scheme exhibition stand?

Rude Health Shell Scheme Stand Design at Bodypower

You may have noticed that shell schemes are more expensive per square metre. That’s because when you purchase a shell scheme, you’ll get a lot of the stand structure included in the cost. You’re provided with a basic framework which you can clad with graphics, a floor covering, usually carpet, and often a power socket included in the price.

Shell schemes work out less expensive than space only stands as they’re restrictive on what can be built. They have a smaller footprint with height constraints, and you’ll most likely be neighboured to one or more show exhibitor. The shell structure can be clad with graphics, but you’ll have to be careful not to mark the structure in any way or risk fines from the show organisers.

Depending on what you’re looking to achieve however, a shell scheme can be the perfect compromise between budget and a strong brand impact. We’ve worked with a lot of brands to create effective shell schemes stands over the years – check out our case studies for inspiration.

What is a Space Only exhibition stand?

A space only stand is an empty space that your exhibition stand will be built on. You’re not provided with any structure or power like a shell scheme stand but you can build whatever you want within the show guidelines. Starting with the floor finish through to what lighting will illuminate the space, every element of the stand has to be considered.

The benefit of a space only stand is that you can build a bespoke space, tailored to your exact needs. Important layout features such as zones for meeting or demonstrating products can be designed to meet your needs and objectives for the show. You’re also able to build spaces that can reach up to 4 metres, and even higher with rigged branding boxes!

Ritter Sport at NCS

By building a custom modular stand in a space only plot, the layout can be reconfigured for future shows, and the graphics and furnishings can be reused. This saves on your budget in the long run and is an environmentally responsible solution. Our stock of Aluvision modular framework is the perfect adaptable structure for our stands and it’s the best way to design eye-catching reusable spaces that look great.

Tonys at ISM 2020

For a complete space only brand experience, island stands are standalone spaces with no neighbours competing for attention. They’re often positioned in the prime hall locations and have better access to the stand from every angle. These spaces are designated for the top players at the show and as such, are the most expensive to purchase per square metre. Note that space only stands also require more paperwork to be completed, including stand build plans and risk assessment method statements. We’ll take care of this for you as part of our project management service, so there’s nothing to worry about.

What is a Shell Scheme and Space Only Key Takeaways

When comparing the difference between shell scheme and space only exhibition stands, the main points are:

  • Shell schemes are easier to manage and are an inexpensive option, whereas space only stands often provide more visual impact and can be tailored to your needs.
  • Shell schemes are more likely to have neighbours competing for attention.
  • Space only stands have less restrictions on what can be built than shell schemes, and you can even build up to 4 metres high for more punch at the show.
  • Branded rigging boxes suspended from the hall ceiling are usually reserved for space only stands.
  • It’s worth remembering that the bigger your stand, the more kit you’ll need to store at the end of the show, and transportation costs will be higher.

Now that you know the differences between a shell scheme and space only exhibition stand, you can make an informed decision on what works best for your brand. For stand inspiration and further information, check out our case studies, or get in touch for a free stand consultation.

Graphic Mill Case Study by Hitachi

Graphic Mill Case Study by Hitachi

We’re thrilled to have received a case study from Carolyn Robins, Marketing Executive at Hitachi, highlighting some of the event solutions we’ve provided over the last year. It’s been a pleasure to work with the team on their exhibition projects, and you can read more about the Hitachi stand at Railtex / Infrarail here. In the meantime, here’s the case study!

Written by Carolyn Robins, Marketing Executive at Hitachi Control Systems Europe Ltd

Hitachi exhibition trade show stand at Railex


Hitachi Information Control Systems Europe Ltd are a leading provider of software solutions for rail signalling and operations with offices in Wiltshire, Plymouth and Derby.

Working exclusively in rail, the company develop safety and training support solutions and market to a small niche sector of the industry.


To support the business growth and the emergence from lockdown, the company wanted to focus more on their visibility with external stakeholders, and their marketing strategy was developed to include a strong campaign of engagement and included face-to-face events, shows and seminars.

Hitachi exhibition stand at Railex. Photo of the whole stand


Having worked with Graphic Mill previously, and keen to again work with an independent company local to the Wiltshire head office, Denise Watkins, Head of Sales and Carolyn Robins, Marketing Executive, visited the Graphic Mill offices to discuss their marketing strategy and what tools were available to them and how this would best work with the brand and marketplace.


Following on from initial discussions, Graphic Mill came up with solution options and designs to ensure Hitachi had solutions for different levels of collaboration.

For smaller shows and events, a pop-up stand was proposed, and a design agreed. The graphics for the stand can be updated and more than one option can be supplied. The stand came with clear instructions and a manual and was easily erected within 15 minutes and take down was half the time! This enabled the show staff to easily set up and be ready for events without delay. The design of the stand was a wave formation meaning the structure could fit into varying spaces and not be limited to set dimensions or space.

For the annual Railtex show (being the largest UK rail event), a custom-made stand was required. Graphic Mill’s design team came up with several options and following further discussions with the Hitachi Team a final design was agreed with the stand split into zones to allow for 2 demonstration areas, storage and a seating area which was open and user friendly. The graphics were adapted from brand imagery and bold colours used to segment the zones.


“The solutions Dan and the Graphic Mill team came up with were a perfect fit for our requirements. We were blown away by the level of detail, professionalism, and adaptability the team showed” said Denise Watkins, Head of Sales at Hitachi. “The final build at Railtex can be stressful but Dan and his team of fitters took it in their stride!  Nothing was too much trouble, and the ideas for final tweaks to make it work where actioned with ease and enthusiasm”.

The Hitachi team have now engaged Graphic Mill to develop banner solutions to complete the display element of their marketing strategy.

Get started with a free creative exhibition stand design

We’ll start with a 30 minute video call then you can leave it to us.

Our talented exhibition architects will create a custom exhibition stand design for you. We’ll then work with you to refine the design until you are 100% happy.

All stand designs come with a competitive quote with full breakdown of the project.

Prefer a call or email? You can reach us on

+44 (0)800 4647974 or [email protected]

Upcoming Events

You’ll find us at these upcoming shows.
Event not listed? Get in touch to see if we can help.

Sept – Dec 23

🍷 Speciality & Fine Food Fair – 11-12 Sept

👩‍⚕️ HETT Show – 26-27 Sept

🍫 Lunch! Show – 27-28 Sept

🍝 Casual Dining Show – 27-28 Sept 

🏠 Homebuild & Renovating Show – 22-24 Sept

🍷 Low2NoBev – 2-4 Oct

🎈 Employee Benefits Live – 3-4 Oct Last few spaces!

📱 Restaurant & Bar Tech Live – 10-11 Oct Last few spaces!

🥡 Restaurant & Takeaway Innovations – 10-11 Oct Last few spaces!

🧪 Lab Innovations – 1-2 Nov Last few spaces!

☕ Manchester Coffee Festival – 18-19 Nov  Last few spaces!

🌱 Plant-Based World Europe – 15-16 Nov Last few spaces!

💼 The Business Show – 22-23 Nov Last few spaces!

💻 Women of Silicon Roundabout – 22-23 Nov Now booking

💧 Floodex – 22-23 Nov Now booking

🔬 IDSc – Nov Now booking

Jan – Apr 24

✏ Bett Exhibition – 24-26 Jan

🍽 Food Drink Operations – 22-23 Jan

🍬 ISM Show – 28-31 Jan

👩‍⚕️ Digital Health Rewired – 12-13 Mar

🍷 Northern Restaurant & Bar – 12-13 Mar

💊 Future Health Innovations – Mar 

🍕 International Food & Drink IFE – 25-27 Mar

🍽 HRC Exhibition – 25-27 Mar

♿ Naidex Show – 20-21 Mar

💄 In-Cosmetics Global – 16-18 Apr

🌱 NOPEX – 14-15 Apr

☕ London Coffee Festival – 2024

🍫 National Convenience Show – 29 Apr – 1 May

👩‍🌾 Farm Shop and Deli Show – 29 Apr – 1 May

May – Aug 24

💻 Learning Technologies –

🚆 Railtex

💼 Accountex London

🏋️‍♀️ Elevate Show

🌮 Taste of London

🔐 Infosec Show

🍹 Imbibe Live