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.

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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.

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