Event promotion means choosing the right event marketing strategies. One critical event marketing strategy is designing the event poster. It becomes the “face” and a major contributor to the brand of your live entertainment event. As a full-service entertainment agency, TSE provides Event Marketing Services for many of our clients.
Designing posters is one of the key tactics as part of any event promotion plan. TSE designs posters for many clients for their events. We also promote events in which the client did the graphic design for the posters used in event promotion.
As a result, TSE has a good idea of common mistakes that are regularly made in designing posters as part of your event marketing strategy.
Your Poster and Brand are Key Pieces of Your Event Marketing Strategy
The poster you design is an extremely important element to your event’s overall brand. In fact, one way to brand your entire event is to base it from your poser design. Your poster should reflect your brand whether it’s a series of events or a onetime entertainment event. Either can come first and still work for a professionally branded event. Of course, that assumes you’re starting with a great poster design! For this article we’ve decided to dive into some mistakes we’ve seen by clients in the past when it comes to how they design their poster for event promotion. I will also touch ideas that aren’t often thought of when it comes to designing your next live event poster.
Use High Resolution Graphic files When Designing Posters
Before you even begin your rough design of your live event poster, it’s important to reach out to those from whom you will need a photo. Ask them to supply high resolution PNG photos. High resolutions just means that there are more pixels per inch or PPI. These photos can be stretched to fit larger areas and still look good. The easiest way to determine whether a photo will work in your design is to create a document in which you can size and paste the image. If the image comes out blurry at the size it needs to be, then you will need to find a higher resolution photo.
When creating a concert or festival poster, the best design in the world will look shoddy if low resolution images are used to create it. There are ways you can use as work arounds if you have no other option. Examples include fading out a photo, or blurring the edges, but these techniques can only work so well. For the best, most professional-looking concert poster you will need high resolution photos and designs.
Touring bands, concert and festival producers and brands that are accustomed to this process should already have a file handy with the most up-to-date high-resolution logos and images they can send at a moment’s notice. For artists, they often can be found in the artist’s electronic press kit (EPK). However, this isn’t always the case. With touring acts and sponsoring companies alike, you will undoubtedly run into someone who has a difficult time getting you what you need or even understanding what you need. The easiest way to ask for a high-resolution photo is just to ask for a large one.
Understanding Image Size for Event Promotion
Remember the larger the poster, the larger the image or pixel density needed. Since image descriptions use pixels instead of inches, you can see below roughly how large a photo would need to be to work well on a 18×24 poster. If you work with the image size needed for your largest poster you’ll be printing, then you know the same images will also work well for any smaller designs you create.
You’re limited to what you can do with low-resolution photos. However, if a company that is sponsoring your event cannot produce a high-resolution logo for your concert poster there is one other option that our team has used many times in the past.
If you have someone on your team that is proficient in Adobe Design, Affinity Designer, or comparable software, you can create a Vector image of the company’s logo. This option especially comes in handy when those same logos are needed for larger applications such as concert banners. Not to mention, it just feels good to be able to hand back something to a company that they can use repeatedly. This is especially true for a sponsor that is helping fund your event as well as others who you will be working with in the future. Talk about pleasing your sponsors!
Hire an Entertainment Event Marketing Agency
When organizing any type of live, public entertainment event it’s tempting to want to save money on expenses wherever you can. However, event promotion and your event “brand” should not be one of those places. Remember, your concert or festival poster is your biggest brand asset.
Successful promoters are the ones that understand the importance of an event’s image in marketing. You can spend thousands of dollars marketing your event. If you can’t impress your audience visually, that budget isn’t going to provide the same type of ROI. You’re better off spending the extra dollars on a professional graphic designer, or an event marketing agency. TSE Entertainment provides the full range of services that can assist you with any event marketing strategy, including your graphic design needs.
Aside from your festival or concert poster, an event marketing agency can also design any affiliated content used for event promotion for any of your events. Having the same agency or person handle all the designs has its rewards. For one, each element used in your event poster can easily be placed into any other graphics you will need. This is the easiest and best way to establish a cohesive brand across all your event visuals including social media graphics, banners, promo videos, merch, etc. If you use different agencies for various event promotion tactics, be sure to supply them with the necessary graphic files to keep your brand consistent among the promotional tactics.
Use Online Graphic Design Platforms for Inspiration
If you absolutely cannot afford a professional to design your concert poster, there are several decent online design platforms available such as Canva or Poster My Wall. They have many poster design templates available. There may be some fees associated with these sites, but they will be less than what you can expect to pay a graphic designer.
These sites are also great for getting ideas for your poster. If you have absolutely no design background and understanding of layout, both Canva and Poster My Wall provide templates that can be used as inspiration. You can also simply google “concert poster designs” for inspiration if you do not have a solid idea already.
Keep Your Poster Design Simple
It’s an issue our team has seen time and time again from clients. This poster design tip could arguably be one of the most important. It’s understandable to want to put all sorts of information on a live event poster to try to minimize questions received by attendees. However, by adding unnecessary information to your design all you are doing is cluttering your available space and making it more difficult for viewers to see the most important details.
You can always tell a professional concert or festival poster from an amateur one by simply looking at the amount of information that is provided. A great example of this is ticket price. If your event is free and that can be used to help sell it, then that’s one thing. If your event is ticketed, people will see the ticket price when they go to purchase. This information should not be on your poster. In marketing, you don’t disclose the price until you sell (in the sense that the viewer wants the product) the product or event.
You do not want poster viewers to focus on the price. You want them to focus on the event itself and its appeal to them. If you provide the pricing, people will decide they can’t afford it before they decide if they want it.
Another great example of unneeded information is the venue address. Sometimes providing it is necessary, but not always. If your live concert or festival event is taking place at a park, venue, school, or any other place that can be located on Google Maps, you do not need to include the full address. Furthermore, if it is a ticketed event the full address should be easily visible on your box office page providing even more reason to leave it out of our poster design.
A quality, professional poster will make it easy for people to find the most important information as well as do it in a visually appealing way. To direct people’s attention effectively, blank space is necessary. When designing your next concert or event poster, keep the following in mind:
- Name of event
- Start time
- Headliners and sometimes the whole line-up (depending on the type of event. It is not uncommon for music festivals to list out entire line ups in order of entertainment level, or grouped by days)
- Ticket purchase information such as ticket link or website
- Sponsor logo(s)
- Event organizers
- End time
- Pricing – If it’s a free event, highlighting that can be beneficial.
- Telephone number
- Email address
Here are two templates found on Canva that make for great examples:
Utilize QR Codes
QR codes may not have taken off like they were predicted to when they first entered the scene, but they are still a very useful tool. The Covid pandemic resulted in an uptick in the use of QR codes. It reintroduced the application and put it back into the “mostly everyone knows how to do this” bucket. Any time there is something you can do to minimize the number of steps or work it takes to complete a desired goal, do it.
QR codes can also be a great way to track your marketing. You may not be able to count how many people see your posters, but you can use a URL shortener with analytics to track how many of those people scan your QR code! To do this simply create an account with Bit.ly or some other link shortener, create a shortened URL specifically for your QR code used on your event posters, and begin tracking.
Every time someone scans your URL that will count as a URL visit. With this type of data, you can improve your marketing efforts year over year. Maybe it isn’t worth plastering posters all over the east side because all your traffic comes from posters on the north side. QR codes can help you gather this information.
Keep Your Sponsors in Mind
If your concert or event depends on sponsors, your event poster can be a great tool in keeping those sponsors happy and hopefully coming back. A great example of this is having your acts, or perhaps just a few headlining acts sign posters. These can be great gifts for your top sponsors. If your poster is used in this way, it’s just yet another reason to keep it at the best quality possible.
You can even take it a step further and try to come up with ways the design could be even more valuable for this purpose. One person who knows this area well is our TSE team member Steve Wilson who responsible for sponsorship development. He once mentioned commissioning a different local artist to do the poster art each year. In that way the poster became a piece of art work. Sponsors would love to have a poster like that as a token from the event they helped create. This is just one idea. Imagine if you started your process with your sponsors in mind!
A well-designed poster of one important event marketing strategy in a larger event promotion campaign. You want to maximize its impact and ROI of your entertainment event. If you have the help of a graphic designer who specializes in this area or an event marketing agency you will more likely achieve that as opposed to having it done by an amateur.