Remember the feeling of victory when you found the perfect show shot—the one with a bustling show floor, folks crowded around booths chatting, shaking hands and smiling?

Those were the days.

There’s a special kind of energy that is conveyed when you see large gatherings of colleagues sharing ideas and engaging on the latest ideas and innovations of a particular industry. But in a few short months, we’ve had to reinvent creative and campaign visuals to capture that same feeling of vibrancy and connection.

At Fixation, we are working with our clients on every possible scenario: cancellations, postponements and moves to virtual and hybrid events. Every situation requires a customized creative approach based on the attendee makeup, the industry and the timing of the event, among other factors. When faced with these huge changes, it can be hard to know where to start when you’re at square one.

As we waded through these uncharted waters ourselves, we discovered a few key considerations for revamping creative in the pandemic era:

Move away from destination marketing

Even if you have a physical location, your virtual or hybrid event can effectively take place anywhere. In place of city-focused imagery, consider using:

  • Bold typography
  • Imagery and icons that convey industry-related benefits and outcomes
  • Dynamically designed testimonials from past events, reminding attendees of the value of participation

Embrace the abstract

With the situation changing constantly, and every city and region experiencing different challenges, you need a design that can adapt and stay relevant as the event updates.

This is a good time to let art do what art does best: Showcase the intangible and eternal instead of the specific. Rather than limiting yourself to photography from past events or stock photos, embrace a more abstract look and feel for your event.

Abstract shapes and patterns can evoke the energy, values and emotions at the heart of your event—like feeling empowered by knowledge, excited to discover something new or inspired by a speaker. These are elements that remain true regardless of your venue or format, so you won’t be fencing yourself in.   

Show connection in creative ways other than handshake photos and crowd shots

People are craving connection, especially having stayed home for the past—how many?—months. Find ways to represent attendees connecting through your event in non-physical ways. Instead of those once-coveted crowd shots, try:  

  • Icons and other graphics to play up unique features of a virtual experience
  • Callouts and sidebars showcasing a virtual trade show experience
  • Candid photos of speakers that show them emotionally connecting to their audience

Consider your color palette

The trick with colors right now is to strike the right mood and tone for your specific event. While we may have used more explosive colors, pastels and bright imagery in the past, overtly cheerful colors might now be a turn-off to some attendees or industries. Just be careful not to overcorrect toward somber and plain. You still want the colors to fit your brand identity and set the right mood.

It’s important to factor in how the pandemic has affected your industry specifically. For example, healthcare industries might require a different tone and palette for visuals than other non-frontline audiences.

Make messaging authentic

Authenticity has been a buzz word for a while, but it’s more important now than ever. For the long term, people will trust companies and organizations who show they care, speak honestly and empathetically and deliver on their brand promise and mission. For more on this subject, read Fixation copywriter Lori Kurtyka’s ASAE piece.

In the year to come, events will indeed be a welcome opportunity to connect with peers, problem-solve with suppliers and plan for the future.

While we await the arrival of “the new normal,” we can still create powerful designs that inspire action, evoke emotion and communicate the immense value trade shows and events contribute to their industries and professionals. A flexible design template paired with the right message can effectively sell your event, no matter where it is or how it’s delivered.

Let us know if we can help you do this and more with your designs.

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