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Pop Up Stands Buyers Guide

What is a Pop Up Stand

A lightweight portable display system popular with the exhibition and retail markets.

Pop Up Stands Sizes

When it comes to sizing pop up stands traditionally have a numbering system that may not make obvious sense. Most people assume that the numbers are in metres, but this is not the case. When a pop up is referred to as a 3 x 3 It means it is three rows high and three columns deep. A 3 x 4 is 3 rows high and 4 columns wide etc.

The sections used by different manufacturers vary so for example a 3x4 with 700mm sections (700mm x 700mm) would be 2100mm high x 2800mm wide.

If you are exhibiting in the USA it’s much easier as they just call them "8 foot" "10 foot" or "20 foot" displays which refers to the approximate width.

Pop Up Graphics

The graphics on a pop up stand are called "drops". Graphic drops hang from the frame and are held in place by magnets which run down each edge. An average panel width would be about 675mm wide making them easy to transport. A 3x3 pop up stand would have 5 drops that fit together giving you an overall graphic area of 3375mm. The two end panels curve around the stand so that the edge of the end panels is hidden from view when the stand is viewed head on. On a 3 x 3 the visible area is 2475mm. This is something to take into account when you are designing you graphics, Don’t put any critical information on the edge of the ends, it is better to use a graphic image that blends around the curve.

Pop Up Stand Frames

Frames vary in quality and design. They all work in a similar way with a scissor like frame that pops up. They have different hanging methods that are used to display the panels and a couple of ways to hold the frame open.

The method of hanging the graphics is important not only to make sure the panels can be easily fitted, but more importantly also allow you to make minor adjustment to the graphic panels so that they can be aligned correctly. Sometimes a show floor may be slightly uneven so the ability to adjust the panels can make the difference between an average looking display and a show stopper.

The system used to hold the frame open can be either mechanical or magnetic. We would always opt for magnetic since it is more reliable. Mechanic systems have plastic fittings that can break.

Difference between a Cheap and a Quality Frame

You might opt for a cheaper system because you are not going to use it much, however this can be a false economy. Frame quality is not just an issue of how long the frame will last, it is also an issue of reliability. Weak joints and cheap materials can lead to failures when you least want them. Poor manufacturing tolerance can also mean you graphics will never fit accurately. With a quality stand you get much better reliability and better looking graphics.

Straight or Curved

Most pop up’s we sell are curved since they are aesthetically pleasing and more stable. Straight pop ups tend to be used where space is limited. They can sit flush against a wall, freeing up stand space.

Single or Double Sides

Over 90% of the pop up stands sold are single sided. Normally they are used as back walls so the rear is not in view. Sometimes they may be used for retail marketing in a shopping centre all sides of the pop up stand can be seen. The same frame is used it just requires addition graphics to be printed.


Pop up stands will often be sold with wheeled drums. These cases allow you to store you pop up stand and the graphics in one convenient place. The wheels allow you to easily roll them to your stand. Many of these cases can be kept on the stand and used as small exhibition counters with tops and custom printed graphic wraps.

Printed Graphics

Pop up stands can either have velcro friendly fabric or more commonly printed graphics. The best frame in the world will be ruined by poor graphics. There is a lot involved in creating quality graphics that your company will be proud to displays. What should you look out for?


Digital printers print in bands. When a machine is correctly calibrated and the right materials are used banding should be almost invisible. Almost; because in areas of large dark block colours you may see a little banding. What is not OK is any banding in photographic images. Banding is made worse by using cheap materials, bad equipment calibration and fast print speeds (which some printers use to increase their print throughput).


Pixelation can result from the use of a low resolution image. This can be solved by either using a higher quality image or getting your image vectorised. At Discount Displays we always provide a free artwork check before printing to ensure your graphics always look their best.

It can also be the case that small text can become fuzzy, this is because some printers cannot print crisp text at small font sizes. If your design incorporates small text, check with your supplier or request a sample print.

Bland Colour

The type and quality of inks varies. You want you images and logo to be bright. Companies using official branded inks should produce better results. Once again ask for a sample print if this is critical.

Panel Cutting

The graphics on a pop up display are made up of a series of panels which butt up together. Often images and text will cross over these panels so it is critical that the panels are cut perfectly. While an experienced person with a hand cutter may do a good job the best results come from using an automated camera controlled cutters, which produce perfect results time after time.

See Through Material

There can be a lot of lights at trade shows or you might need to place your pop up in front of a window. The material that is printed on should be a blackout material that does not allow light through. If non blackout material is used this can be a disaster with your brand image being washed out.

Curling Material

You want your panels to hang flat against the frame. On the top of the panel you have a "hanging bar" which drops onto lugs on the frame. Each panel has positive magnetic tape down both edges. This magnetic tape clicks onto negative charged magnetic tape on the frame. If the material is too thin it can curl so you end up with a wave effect rather than a smooth curve.


We would always advise that your graphics panels are over laminated. Not only does this protect your graphics from scrapes and spill that you may get in a high traffic shows but when the correct over laminate is used it also prevents glare from lighting at the venue.

Buyers Guide: Pop Up Stands

A last word on graphics. In house printing is important. It means that deadlines can be met, but also means that the company producing your pop up can put your frame up and attach the graphic to it to check it over before dispatch to make sure it all lines up.

To sum up; choose a reputable design and print company with plenty of experience in pop up production, look for a long frame guarantee (they wouldn’t offer one if they had lots of returns) and check out their reviews.

The Discount Displays Difference

  • 30 years in business - thousands of pop up stands sold.
  • Our panels are cut on swiss machines for 100% accuracy
  • We use 310gsm material that will not curl
  • Our blackout material prevents any show through
  • Deep 125gsm crystal laminate that protects your graphics and prevents glare
  • Our header graphics are adjustable for perfect alignment
  • Frames have a 10 year guarantee
  • Your pop up is full assembled for a quality check before despatch
  • No tools are required - the frame is fully magnetic
  • We print at optimum speed to produce the best possible results
  • High resolution graphics with bright colours and crisp text even at small front sizes
  • Authorised HP inks and matched materials are used for best results
  • Printers calibrate and run at optimum spread to minimise banding
  • Artwork checked for any issues before printing
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