Our recent SAM Award for Best Use of Print has us considering the importance of artwork, even in a digital world. What is it about an event poster that attracts an audience? The buzz that built organically about the series of vintage destination posters that we arrived with at the 2018 Boston Ski Show was undeniable. Below are some other examples of how event marketing and placemaking come together to make a head-turning piece of design.
Putting butts in seats is serious work, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun with it. As a matter of fact, we’d hazard to say that it is exactly when a design team has fun on a project that it comes through in an irresistible way for passers-by. Capturing the essence of an event is the best part of this kind of design, simple, high-level but still worthwhile. This series of show posters for the Adirondack Theatre Festival was the exclamation point on 13 years of collaboration with one of our favorite non-profits.
Beginning with color and texture, and on through to typeface and illustration style, you can use design to set the tone for an entire evening right from the start. For the jet-setters on Florida’s Gulf Coast, this piece for a New Year’s Eve soirée did just that. It brandished the grandeur of days-gone-by to outsparkle the latest slick club. Event attendance tripled from the previous year’s event, and the Don had a grand evening for old time’s sake or, auld lang syne.
You need to get the who, what, where, when, and why out there, but it’s more than that. Communicate beyond dates and times—inspired by Patagonia’s 1% for the Planet campaign, and their commitment to reclaiming and repairing their merchandise, we created these recycled paper posters for our own Adirondack outfitter, Fountain Square.
Event materials are the perfect opportunity to reinforce brand-building, placemaking elements with colors and textures. Posters are informational pieces, but if they do their job, they’re actually products themselves. Keep in mind how a person that isn’t from the organization or venue would feel about it. Would they want to keep it? Gift it? Hang it on their wall? There are ways to make the answer “Yes!”
Most people’s calendars are a minefield of to-dos, some they want to do, some not so much. What is it about your event that is worth inking it on the calendar? Or maybe worth sending regrets for another event? Communicate the uniqueness of your event, and stand-out from the crowd with a different approach like these event posters for Hunter Mountain in the Catskill Mountains of New York. It’s also an opportunity to deviate from your brand a bit, get a little frisky with color.
Ultimately, if you have made the decision that the investment of time and resources to hold an event will drive your mission, then you have to give it the full benefit of your imagination and support. “If you build it, they will come,” was a nice sentiment in a cornfield, but that’s about the only place it works. Event marketing needs to go above and beyond to make sure a potential guest can see the guarantee of a good time. How will you approach your next event?