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Wednesday Wisdom: The Step-by-Step Guide to Designing the Best Event Banners, Flyers, & Posters

Effective event banners, flyers, and posters require a basic understanding of a few things. First, you have to know some foundational design principles and best practices. Then, you’ve got to gather the right tools for the job. And, if you really want your event marketing collateral to shine, you’ve got to learn from the best through real life examples. Sounds like a lot but don’t worry, we’re going to go over all of that and more!    

How to Design Event Banners

Banner stands, social media banners, banner ads – all great options for promoting your upcoming event. No matter what type you’re currently working on, these tips should help you create something attractive and impactful. 

What should be included in a banner? 

These are the absolute must haves:

  1. Large, easy to read text. This also means taking font into consideration. The top easiest fonts to read include Helvetica, Georgia, and PT Sans. 
  2. A single, focused message. The best event banner copy speaks your audience’s language, has one main goal, and concludes with a simple call to action. 
  3. A relevant image. Seems like common sense but you’d be surprised how many generic stock photos are used in event banner designs. Plus, psychology experts tell us that humans retain 65% more information from an ad when it’s paired with a specific and related image (as opposed to our 10% retention rate for messages without images or images that are too general). 
  4. Color psychology. Brighter hues lead to more energy (and therefore action) from observers. 
  5. Smart background choices. A solid color is great to promote products or people. But a photo background is a wise choice for abstract ideas and internet based services. 
  6. No more than five lines of text. Less is more on banner ads. Keep your main message to a single sentence or two and limit additional lines to a handful of words. 
  7. A well balanced layout. No matter what kind of banner you are making, you must prioritize spacing and placement for the following items: your company logo, the main idea (in a line or two of text), and the CTA. 

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6 Steps to making the best event design banner

Whether you’re making a banner stand for a tradeshow or a cover for your event’s Facebook page, here’s how to design it well. 

Step 1: Get details on how and where the banner will be displayed. For example, if you have an all black booth, you might want to choose a banner color that will help it stand out more. 

Step 2: Align your banner vision with your campaign. Trying to get more email list subscribers? Make sure you provide incentive to join. Just trying to get the brand name out there? Opt for images or graphics that are striking and disruptive. 

Step 3: Choose your layout. Here are some top banner layouts that actually work. 

Step 4: Place your logo, main copy, and CTA. These should, in total, take up more than 50% of your banner space. 

Step 5: Add limited detail text (if needed). Trim the fat by using different colors, opting for shorter words, or providing an image that communicates the same thing. 

Step 6: Add any relevant website links, social media pages, or contact information. This is mostly important for events where inbound leads and audience building are your focus. 

3 Awesome event banner examples 

  • Recruiting Event Banner Stand: Bright colors, striking images, and simple text convey everything an event attendee needs to know from a passing glance. And for events where you’re focused on relationship building more than sales, it’s great to clearly spell out the benefit attendees will receive if they choose to stop by your booth. 
  • Brand Building Retractable Banner: This paint company wants event attendees to know that they have a high quality product. The very creative and memorable image uses paint cards rather than the paint itself to showcase a treat that looks as delicious as their color options. 
  • Registration Maximizing Display Banner Ad: SXSW maintains its fierce sense of style while getting straight to the point. It takes all of two seconds to know what the event is about, what you can expect if you attend, who is sponsoring it, and when/where it will take place – all without overwhelming the viewer. 

Also, if you’d like to learn more about digital banners, you can check out this fantastic trade show graphics guide. 

An event banner template tool to use

Signs.com has an easy to use banner customization tool with lots of template options. And once you’ve completed your design, you can even print it in a variety of sizes.

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How to Design Event Flyers

Whether they’re emailed or handed out, your event flyers might be the first or second touch point your audience has with your event. Here’s how to make them count. 

What to put on a flyer for an event? 

Here are some obvious (and not so obvious) event flyer additions: 

  1. The main event details. You know like date, time, location, admission price or registration details. That kind of thing. 
  2. Hashtags and handles. While banners have to disrupt and capture fleeting attention from event goers or internet scrollers, a paper flyer will physically stay with the recipient until they’re done with it. Give them the opportunity to follow your event online before they toss it. 
  3. Appropriate fonts. Imagine seeing Comic Sans on a B2B seminar flyer. Even if you want your event to convey a sense of fun, keep the fonts in line with your professional branding. Typography is going to be the focal point of your event flyer so don’t sleep on this step. 
  4. Consider using a QR code. The goal should be to get the message across with as little text as possible. So if you’d like viewers to know more or have instant access to your event registration site, add the code directly on the flyer. Make sure it’s large enough for them to scan. Pro Tip: make sure a UTM tracking code is attached. 
  5. Imagery or illustrations. Consider your event flyer to be a sample size experience of the event itself. Pick what mood you want viewers to take away from it. You can use colors, images, backgrounds, and graphics to emotionally move them or persuade them into action. 

How do you structure a flyer?  

First and foremost you have to capture attention and direct to the main point of the whole flyer: the event. The top or center of your flyer should always have the event name written in the largest of your fonts for the design. Then place your primary image either in the background or, if your event name is at the top, in the middle of the flyer. Leave event details and your CTA for the bottom. 

6 Steps for a great flyer design

One flyer design can translate into content for your social media profiles, email newsletters, and printed marketing collateral, so don’t skip any of these steps if you want to get the most out of your efforts! 

Step 1: Choose an inspired flyer layout. Base it on your goals. Are you trying to raise awareness, sell more tickets, or offer a discount code to help figure out where your audience is finding out about you? Or maybe it’s all three. Either way, make sure you choose a layout that translates that goal to the viewer at a glance. 

Step 2: Consider how you want readers to feel. There’s a lot event flyer creators can learn from website user experience designers. Mood, tone, and memory can all be conveyed through simple yet high quality designs. 

Step 4: Place all your major elements in order by priority: event name, main image, CTA, and event details.  

Step 5: Play around with different colors, frames, graphics, and fonts to find the right tone. 

Step 6: Properly resize digital versions. Good cropping and resizing can be a little time consuming depending on what program you use to make your flyer. But if you don’t take this step, you run the risk of cutting off what valuable information you’ve placed in an already limited space. 

You might even find that a smaller version of your flyer is harder to read, in which case you should make your message, event logo, and CTA bigger while dropping all other details. As long as you get your main point across, you’re good to go. 

Great flyer design ideas you can totally steal

Even if you have limited experience in graphic design you’ve probably run into Canva at some point during your events career. The customizable marketing content platform has an incredible amount of ideas, templates, and more for you to scope out. 

Canva’s list of 50 brilliant flyer designs has everything we’ve touched on in this section. Smart layouts, attention-grabbing imagery, and text that communicates on both a conscious and subconscious level can all be found on this buffet of well crafted flyers. 

Want to hear the best part? Every expert design featured on this list can be used as a template for your own event flyer, which is certainly one of the reasons why Canva is considered the best free printable flyer maker. 

Oh and here are some ways to reach more people with your event flyer when you’re all done making it! 

19 Trends Shacking Up Events in 2019

How to Design Event Posters

We’ve covered banners and flyers already and while there is definitely an overlap between the three, here’s what you need to know about event posters specifically. 

5 Steps needed to design a poster for your event

Step 1: Start with your theme. Posters give you a bit more artistic license than flyers or banners so your design should be as entertaining as it is functional. Go ahead and choose quirkier, more abstract illustrations and funky colors if it suits your event brand! 

Step 2: Have your most important poster element take center stage. Whether it’s your event name or a cool picture, posters should direct attention to the main idea of the design, which is often more artistic than practical. 

Step 3: Use a bold header with your event name. Again, font, color, and size are all up for consideration. Go for complementary elements rather than making everything match perfectly. 

Step 4: Decide whether you’ll go minimalist or maximalist. A strong choice in either direction will keep your poster from being too average looking. 

Step 5: Add in your remaining details for the event. No need to overload information here, just provide your key selling point along with where viewers can get tickets or learn more. 

Event poster maker software to use

We’ve already mentioned some great template based sites for marketing content creation. But here are the ones that earn top marks from experts in original poster creation: 

  • Adobe Spark. You don’t have to be a professional designer to get the most out of this sophisticated tool. It takes advanced concepts like theme and mood into account to help you create your masterpiece. 
  • Piktochart. Another jack of all trades design platform, this one is recommended for graphic design beginners who need a little extra inspiration. Plus they have gorgeous templates. 
  • DesignCap. This completely free event poster maker software only requires you to complete three steps to generate an awesome design. 

How to make your event poster successful 

It’s natural to worry about the appearance of your event poster. But if you’ve followed all of the above steps and you’re still not content with the outcome, there are a few tweaks you can make that will change the whole look and feel of it. 

  1. Increase white space. The empty parts of your design are just as important as the rest of your poster. Use it to direct the viewer’s attention to key information, make text easier to read, or just break up an otherwise complicated set of images. 
  2. Make visuals bigger, brighter, or more contrasting. This graphic design hack is easy to do. Just experiment with different shades in the same color family to see what works. You might not even have to change anything else!  
  3. Confirm it’s easy to read from far away. 25-50 feet of clear visibility is the rule of thumb. 
  4. Amp up the fun. Posters have a greater potential to be a long term addition to an attendee’s life than any flyer or banner. So if your language is too clinical or your images are boring, switch it up by adding some personality back into the mix. 

Now put your event promotion inspiration into action!

Designing a powerful event banner, flyer, or poster is an absolute must if you’d like to maximize your marketing strategy. For more on how to creatively promote your events, be sure to read our other posts on the subject: 

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