Long lasting expo stands - what finishes to look out for and what to avoid...

by Jessica Caggegi, on 15/07/20 3:00 PM

Every client has a desired lifespan for their exhibition display. Some clients may be after a display for one-time use, others may attend multiple exhibitions throughout the year and plan to re-use it consistently while others may want a stand that they can use for a couple years. So, what dictates how long an exhibition stand lasts?
Ultimately it comes down to the types of materials and finishes that are used to construct the exhibition stand. Below we’ll outline which finishes will ensure you can get maximum use from your stand.



Graphics are an important element to stand design regardless of the stand size. It is a tool which everyone uses to interact with visitors and feed them the information you want to share about your brand. Graphics come in so many different substrates and mediums. The easiest way to narrow down what graphic substrate is best suited for your stand is to understand your requirements. No matter the lifespan, there are graphics options to suit your budget and stand.

Foam core is a great substrate which can be used for graphic printing. It is exceptionally light weight and comes in various thicknesses such as 3mm, 5mm, 10mm and 20mm. It is best for single use as it does tend to dint quite easily. It is a cost-effective material, making it great for single use stands.

Forex is am upgrade from foam core panels. Depending on its thickness it can become quite heavy and dense. Like foam core, forex also comes in various thicknesses ranging from 3mm, 5mm and 10mm. Forex graphic panels are a great option if you are planning to reuse your graphic panels or place them in your office/show room after the trade show. The greater the thickness, the higher the resilience to being damaged onsite during bump out. Forex can tend to snap if too much force is used when removing them. Because of this, be sure to make your stand builder aware if you want to reuse the graphics, as extra care will be taken when removing them.

Another fantastic option which is cost effective and reusable are fabric graphics. They come in two standard ranges. One finish has Velcro stitched to all 4 sides so that it is stretched and stuck to walling (such as a Corinthian style walls). The other alternative, which has a much more pristine appearance is welted edges. Welted edges mean there is a rubber edge stitched to all four sides of the fabric graphic, it then sits in a framing structure to give a seamless and sleek appearance.
Another benefit in using fabric graphics is they are dry cleanable and easy to clean.

Graphic transportation is serious business. Always ensure graphics are transported and packed correctly. Especially on the corners of the panels as this is where dints tend to appear if being packed onto a pallet, due to the knocking and hustle and bustle of onsite during bump in or out.

Vinyl Wrapping

Following on from graphics, a cost-effective option for changing colours on components such as counter tops, cabinetry, walls etc is vinyl wrapping. Vinyl wrapping is a thin layer of vinyl that is used to wrap/stick over the shape, it comes in multiple colour options and has the advantage of having specific artwork printed onto it too.
It is a great option if you are planning to change your graphics/colour finishes frequently while still using the same exhibition booth design.
One thing to remember though is scratches cannot be mended or patched up. The entire wall panel or component would need to be re-wrapped and applied.



There are so many positives when it comes to using paint as a finish on your exhibition stand. Paint is the easiest and most efficient way to change the colour of your walls.
A lot of clients generally have specific colour matches they require within their brand guidelines or logos and paint is always the best way to get the closest, if not exact match. All you need to do is provide your stand builder with a PMS match, pantone or even a CMYK match.
Another great advantage about using paint is it’s easy to change the colour later down the track. You may feel like your stand needs a refresh but don’t have the budget to do a lot, slap a new coat of paint on and there you have it. A fresh new stand.

Even though every stand builder will try their very best, sometimes onsite chips and scratches can be unavoidable, in these instances paint becomes a fantastic option. Fast, simple, and easy to touch up onsite.



Laminate is a fantastic option if texture is high on your priority list. It comes in multiple texture preferences including matte, granular or gloss. It will have a great finish and is still quite affordable. 
Laminate is a great option for exhibition stands that are being used multiple times throughout the year and are not requiring any drastic changes. It is exceptionally durable and has great resistance to any dings, nicks, and stains.
In terms of colour matching, it does come in a wide variety of colours and textures; however, it will only be a ‘close enough’ match. You cannot match an exact PMS colour with a laminate.
One negative is that if it were to chip, an entire panel needs to be replaced as deep cuts or scratches within laminate are near impossible to repair.



If your exhibition goals include keeping a stand for quite some time and you want a finish that is going to have a high quality, pristine appearance – then 2pac is an option you should further investigate. We must warn it is expensive but does have a finish like no other. 2Pac is a hardened paint finish and is seamless. The advantages of 2Pac is if it does happen to chip it can be touched up and re sprayed and any corporate colour or branding can be matched exactly.


Materials used for display stand ideas are infinite. It really does come down to your individual requirements and goals. Budget will always have an impact on what limit you must spend on your stand design, so keep that in mind when evaluating what materials and finishes you want. If finishes are a main criteria on your brief, then be sure to clearly inform your stand builder at the initial briefing stage.

At Events 720 we are more than happy to give you different options of finishes and solutions depending on your overall requirements and budget. We have also put a substantial amount of time and investment into our packing mechanisms and systems to ensure all stand components arrive onsite and return in perfect condition and without any damage. Your graphics and stand are safe with us.
If you would like to get the briefing process started, email us at or Contact Us.

Topics:Exhibition StandsProductivityProduct DisplayStand BuildingNew ProjectDisplay BuilderExhibition Stand Builderdesigncostsustainabilitycustom standscustom stand designdesign inspiration


Events 720 Blog

Each blog we discuss an important topic in the exhibition world. With insights and inspirations, we aim to answer the most common questions. 

Subscribe to Updates