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Top 4 Graphic Design Mistakes in Event Marketing

man with his head in his hands while surrounded by two people trying to show him designs

Have you ever been to one of those meetings? You know the kind I’m talking about. There are dozens of slides on a PowerPoint, each filled with paragraph after paragraph of tiny text (one of those graphic design mistakes we talk about below).

People are nodding off and dreaming about the donuts in the break room. We’ve probably been on the other end of it though, too. How often are we the ones with the laser pointer trying to explain concepts to a room of people who just aren’t interested in staring at our overstuffed slides?

The irony of it all is that the more information we try to cram into one space, the less information actually transfers to the audience. That’s why your graphic design is so undeniably important and can really make or break it for your event marketing endeavors.

Check-in with your current graphic design: Are you happy with how it looks? With what it communicates? If you are feeling like something is off, it’s time to reassess.

This is non-negotiable for trade show success

We’ve rounded up the top 4 graphic design mistakes we see from event marketers (and tips for how to avoid making them!):

1. Excessive Copy

This is probably one of the most common mistakes we see because it’s so easy to overdo your copy! We cannot stress this enough. When you have a lot to say, it’s tempting to want to spell it all out for your audience. One of the reasons this is such a common mistake is that it takes time and discernment to decide what to edit out and what to include in your marketing materials. Take the time to cut it down to the bare minimum. If you do decide you need more text than usual and can’t make any cuts, experiment with at least breaking it up and creating white space between portions of text. That being said, if your graphics or text are overwhelming, overpacked, and spilling off the flier, it will negatively impact audience engagement. Every time. 

2. Visual Clutter

The “less is more” cliche couldn’t be more applicable when it comes to your graphic design. We’ve talked about having too much text, but there are many other ways visual clutter can destroy a design. It doesn’t matter how brightly colored your charts and diagrams are–if there are too many of them all in a row, they may as well be invisible. As an example, when using your logo, you may opt to keep it in one prominent place rather than six different smaller places on the same page.

You need sleek graphics that are “easy on the eyes” and that can send your audience a quick message before they have time to blink. Think clean and clear and don’t be afraid to leave a little to the imagination. It’s actually better if the audience isn’t spoon-fed every detail about your brand. Draw them in with approachability, relatability, and a minimalist look–and then let them ask for the details themselves! That’s powerful stuff right there. You can see how something as simple as scaling back on the visual clutter can invite more engagement and long-term loyalty. So yes, less really is more.

3. Mixed Messages

Speaking of less being more, let’s dive a little deeper into the marketing strategy. If your audience is trying to make sense of three (or more) different visual messages, you are going to lose them so fast. We’ve discussed how any extra graphics are only going to distract from your message, or worse–make your brand invisible. One way to make it easier to pare down all the noise is to find the one most-important message. Yes, just one. If you could only communicate one thing, what would it be? What is the core purpose of this graphic design end product? Take the time (maybe even the bulk of your time) you need at the beginning of the project to consider what it should be. Narrowing it down might seem overwhelming at first, so utilize your team’s talent and experience. You’ll be grateful when your graphic design focuses on a singular message that has the power to create curiosity, provoke thought, and initiate action.

4. Listing All the Things

Everybody likes a good list, right?

Well, sort of.

When you are creating graphics it’s natural to want to display too many lists. Creating lists seems like a great idea! They can relay a lot of information about your brand or event in a semi-contained format. But as we’ve discussed, all that text can quickly get out of hand and soar right out of the range of your audience’s short attention span. That’s why we recommend avoiding a list of all products, features, or contact details on your graphics. It can definitely detract from the key message (remember that #1 why?) and dilute the brand’s impact.

Moral of the story? You guessed it. Less is more. Finding that intentional simplicity is what will make your graphic design have an amazing impact on engagement and customer loyalty.

Are you making any of these graphic design mistakes for your brand. Give your graphics a once over and be inspired to declutter, cut, and hem the excess in your own events.

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