Counting Down to 0 Day: The Cycle of Event Branding: Make it Modular

Now you are done with all this big time creative hand ringing, it’s time to deploy the brand on a larger or is it smaller scale.


I am not certain if there has been a more important update in understanding how to approach design in recent years than what responsive design has done for the digital realm. So much so that when someone asks me if I’ve done a responsive website, I often answer “I didn’t know anyone was still doing any other kind of website.” But for those still working through the revolution, responsive design is simply website development around adapting it’s format to whatever device it is viewed. Whether for 21 inch+ monitors or your mobile device, your website changes its layout so that it looks and functions for that specific device.


In a number of ways event branding can be considered a precursor as well as an adopter of this concept. Events often require that you design to fit in small social media ads as much as printed banners that run the span of a building. There is not likely a more appropriate type of design project where having a modular system comes into play right from the start. In fact, depending on the size of the event, modular design on this level can have far greater depth of media requirements than any type of design system you may have ever worked on. Its list can include, digital, offset and screen print, large format printing, incentives, television, radio and even some live interactive needs.


There is an important difference from designing to fit different spaces in the digital environment to designing to be modular for a live event. It’s summed up in one simple word “resolution.” Try selling an event organizer a 1000 pixel square 72 dpi image as the primary element for an event campaign and see how far you get. Yes the concept may be perfect, but the buck stops the second you put it on a 3 foot banner.


Experienced designers know the basic workarounds for this issue. One being when creating your system, you should work primarily with vector-based solutions and rely heavily on simple design systems. But it’s no catchall solution, don’t totally cast out the notion of using high-resolution images in your system, just avoid their use in very large places. If it is at all possible try and get a sense of your largest physical deployment and work backwards from it. In the meantime there is an ever-growing resource library of vector-based textures to give more life to your larger-than-life needs. And that is just a few ways of tackling these scale issues.


The point I’m trying to make here is plan ahead and that your energy for creative problem solving shouldn’t stop until the attendees are leaving the event.