Different Types of Trade Show Display Graphics

Different Types of Trade Show Display Graphics

Oct 18th 2023

Different Types of Trade Show Display Graphics

Trade show displays take on tons of different shapes and sizes—they’re made of different materials, are built of different materials, and can include lots of fun features like backlighting, modular elements, and so on. But out of all the aspects of a trade show display that make it work, the most important thing is always your custom branding.

Your brand might be one that appeals to a young demographic, advertising a revolutionary product—or it might be a service directed towards other businesses, with an emphasis on your industry experience and so on. Whatever your brand may be, a good display will let you showcase it through its graphics: the elements of a display that can be customized to fit your visuals and message.

What are Trade Show Display Graphics?

Trade show display graphics take on several different forms. In general, though, they’re a fabric that’s custom printed with your designs, which then attaches to a trade show display in order to give your brand the visual real estate it needs to convey an idea and leave an impact. The most common trade show display graphic types include:

  • SEG Tension Fabric
  • Pillowcase Tension Fabric
  • Vinyl
  • Other

SEG Tension Fabric

SEG stands for Silicone Edged Graphic, which refers to how the graphic’s fabric is attached to a trade show display. While the main portion of the graphic is made of tension fabric, the very edges are reinforced with silicone that you can slide into secured slots all along the display’s metal frame.

As with other tension fabric display graphics, this fabric type is specially cut to fit your display frame and produce a tight, sleek look all across your printed graphic, so you won’t have to deal with any visual warping or sagging. When compared to the pillowcase tension fabric that we describe below, this material takes up a bit less space in storage while still providing that sleek tension fabric look and feel.

Example Products

  • Prism Backlit Display:The Prism line we offer at Displayit is a premium collection of displays that comes with backlighting and durable aluminum box-shaped frames—these are the strongest and brightest displays we offer and a great option for anyone looking to blow the competition away.
  • Graffiti Backlit & Non-Backlit Displays:Our Graffiti display line includes trade show displays with a ‘pop-up’ display frame. These are designed for a rapid assembly and disassembly process, making them a budget-friendly and effective way to get eyes on your brand fast.

Pillowcase Tension Fabric

In contrast to SEG tension fabric graphics, a ‘pillowcase’ tension fabric display works just like its namesake: the pillowcase. With this type of graphic, your branding is printed on the front-facing side of the fabric, which is basically sewn like a large sack, with one end left open. Rather than use reinforced edges that snap into your display frame (as with SEG), a pillowcase graphic just slides over the frame in one easy step, making it ridiculously simple.

Pillowcase tension fabric is super easy to store, attach, and disassemble, so this is a great option for anyone hoping for a quick and easy setup process. Plus, these graphics can be backlit, an effective way of grabbing visitors’ attention to your trade show booth and giving your branding a premium feel.

Example Products

  • Ensemble Backlit & Non-Backlit Displays:The Ensemble display line by Displayit is our series of modular display kits, each of which comes with different accessories and features like monitor mounts, banner stands, counters, and more! Their modular design allows for infinite customization options, making these a great product for anyone who wants to refresh their display for multiple events.
  • Helium Non-Backlit Displays:Our Helium by Ensemble trade show display line includes different display elements that you can mix and match to form a custom-arranged display that works best for your brand and event needs. These include 10’ displays, 20’ displays, banner stands, table-top displays, and more that all feature that easy-set-up pillowcase tension fabric design.


Vinyl graphics differ from the tension fabric materials we talked about above. With vinyl fabric, the material is thicker by default and a bit tougher than tension fabric. Rather than rely on stretching the fabric over a frame to give it a sleek look, the weight and rigidity of vinyl keep the graphic looking smooth all on its own.

These types of graphics are great for smaller displays or ones that are meant to be set up outdoors, where they can handle a bit of dirt or rough handling without stretching, tearing, or staining as easily as tension fabric might. With their added strength and durability, you’ll often find these graphics used on banner stands, counters, and other small displays.

Example Products

  • Retractable Banner Stands:Banner stands are one of the cheapest and fastest display solutions out there—they’re durable, portable, and take up a lot of visual space without breaking the bank. Using vinyl graphics also allows us to make these banner stands retractable. With those products, the graphics roll up into the banner stand’s base—easy transport, set-up, and take-down.
  • Counters:Trade show display counters make an ideal solution for anyone who needs to display their brand and get a bit of extra storage space, to boot. Our newest line of display counters includes the Small Round Counter, the Oval Counter, and the Waterdrop Counter—the last two include easy access to the counter’s interior, providing extra storage space on top of the display space you’ll get on the countertop itself.

Other Trade Show Graphics & Visuals

In addition to the standard graphic types we listed above (SEG/Pillowcase Tension Fabric and Vinyl graphics), there are other types of graphics and visual media that you can incorporate into your display through kits, display accessories, or by adding digital media using a monitor mount.

Graphics on Solid Substrates

Some of the trade show display accessories we offer include solid materials (substrates) that you can have custom-printed to match your brand and messaging, just like fabric. Our Ensemble series, for example, includes optional clip-on wings that attach to the sides of your display to give it a different shape and add variety to the display’s materials.

If you’re looking for other solid substrates for your graphics (metals, larger solid surfaces, etc.) check out the products offered by our High Impact Services brand, which include premium rental displays with a wide variety of high-end graphic printing options.

Digital Visuals

One of the best ways to add visual variety to your trade show display is through the use of digital materials—videos, presentations, image slideshows, interactive experiences, and so on. To add something like this to your display, all you’ll need is a monitor mount, which you can easily add onto our modular Ensemble display line, or can purchase as an optional add-on for other display collections like our Prism or Graffitidisplays.

And if you want to set your monitor up separately from the rest of your display (or just give yourself more customization opportunities in terms of how your display is arranged) check out the standalone monitor mounts that you can purchase in our store’s accessories category.

To really add a digital punch to your display, though, you might be interested in checking out larger digital solutions like the LED backwalls offered through High Impact Services.

Outdoor & Loose Fabric Graphics

Outdoor displays are a popular way of showing off your brand material come rain or shine. Other products, like our 10’ Exhibit To-Go, use a similar framing system to the other displays we’ve described above but have a custom-printed rigid fabric instead of a tension fabric.

How Custom Trade Show Display Graphics Are Made

When you purchase a display with Displayit, you’ll send in your custom graphic designs to our team, who will apply those assets to the display that you’ve ordered. Once that’s done, we’ll send over a digital proof of how the end result will look, and upon your approval, we’ll begin the printing process for you. Read more about the process on our Upload Art page, where we walk you through the file types we need, quality requirements, and more!

Replacement Graphics Services

Buying a display shouldn’t be a one-and-done deal, since your brand and your event needs will change over time. To keep your display looking relevant, you can take advantage of replacement trade show graphics service for any display and graphic type in our collection—we’ll print out a new design that fits your current display exactly.

Keys to a Good Graphic

If this is your first time ordering a display graphic, a few last quick tips might help you create something that’ll really stand out and get your message across. Of course, if you ever find that your current branding needs a refresh, our Creative Services team can work with you to add something new to your display that fits your brand perfectly.


One of the key elements to a great trade show display is legibility: you want a design that’s going to be easy to see, read, and understand even at large distances. Of course, it’s not a bad idea to include some finer-print details that visitors will only fully appreciate once they’re actually at your booth, but if your whole display is hard to read from far away, you might have trouble drawing people over in the first place.


Another great principle to follow when designing your trade show graphics is to use lots of contrast: displays with colors and design elements that pop are way more likely to draw visitors’ attention than those with muddier, subtler designs, so use contrast to your advantage!


Adding backlighting to your display isn’t a requirement, but it is a simple and proven way to give your display a more premium aesthetic and add some visual impact. Many of our tension fabric graphics use backlighting, but can also be purchased with cheaper, non-backlit alternatives.

Ready to Show Off?

We’ve walked you through all the different graphic types, so hopefully you’ve got a better idea of how they all work and which type might be the best solution for your next trade show display.

If you’re ready to take a look at some of the display styles we’ve talked about in this article, check out our shop to see how they look in action, compare prices, and more!