Tips for Finding the Right Graphic Designer for Your Corporate Event
We talk a lot about the things you need in order to successfully host a corporate event: the food, the venue, a way to accurately measure ROI, among others. One thing you may not have considered is how indispensable a skilled graphic designer can be to your event and team.
The biggest make or break factor to guest satisfaction at your event isn’t the food. (Although, we’d be willing to concede that it’s a tight 2nd place.) No matter the location, type, or size of your event, the first place factor is communication. If a potential guest is interested in attending your event only to find that the website is confusing, you could lose that attendee. If a guest can’t find the address of the venue when they need it or simply can’t find the bathrooms because there aren’t any signs, you’re missing out on an opportunity (as simple as it may seem) to keep your guests smiling and wanting to return for future events.
So, how do you ensure that guests have all the information they need, in a comprehensive, on-brand manner? Our team recommends hiring an excellent graphic designer who understands the needs of corporate events. Today, we’re sharing a few tips for effectively utilizing a graphic designer’s skills, thanks to our own in-house designer, Brenda Lyman.
Tip #1: Hire Someone Who Specializes in Events
Our top tip? Use a graphic designer who specializes in events. It’s important to have someone on board who understands what types of assets you’ll need for your event; even if this is your first rodeo, it won’t be theirs, and your event will be better off for it.
The majority of events require the same basic event materials, like name badges, wayfinding signage, perhaps a program. It takes an experienced print designer to know how to layout a name badge to be read from five feet away, to design signage that can be quickly scanned by attendees on the move, and to create a program where information like the Wi-fi password is easy to find. You might also want to consider on-site branding for your event; this is where the services of an experienced graphic designer can be indispensable. Working with a designer who specializes in events could save you immense amounts of time because a designer who already understands the specific needs of an event will be familiar with best practices for creating the assets necessary for your event.
When we worked with FERN Talks & Eats, the client had a graphic designer create the website for their event, but that designer didn’t have experience working in print. Brenda was able to work from the website design and create signage, name badges, and a double-side program that matched the event branding.
PRO TIP: Her previous experience in event branding and design is why Kennedy Events decided to hire Brenda Lyman to be our in-house graphic designer! When you work with Kennedy Events to plan your corporate event, you also gain access to Brenda’s amazing skills and expertise. (She’s been working as a graphic designer for 20+ years!) This has been hugely popular with our clients, and we’re thrilled that we’re able to offer these services in-house.
Tip #2: Be Mindful of Digital vs. Print Needs
When you’re hiring a graphic designer for your event, you’ll want to consider your needs. You might need print materials like signage and name badges or maybe you’re taking a more digital approach through an event-specific website or an app for helping your guests connect.
There are four things we highly recommend you do:
Ask the designer about their skill set to ensure they can meet your event needs.
Visit the designer’s online portfolio to get a sense of their design style.
Request samples of the materials you need the designer to produce.
Share your list of projects with the designer early in the process.
When we worked with WWCDA on their annual conference in New Orleans, Brenda created the design using the organization’s brand guidelines and added a bit of New Orleans character to the materials. Along with the print materials, WWCDA also needed an event-specific page added to their current website as well as an email campaign. While Brenda’s specialty is print, she has previous experience working in digital mediums as well, specifically with website programmers. She was able to provide consistent design in formats that worked for both the website programmer as well as the email marketing software to carry the event branding through every piece, both print and digital.
Whatever your needs, it’s important to hire a designer who specializes in those specific areas. Not every digital designer has experience working in print, and not every print designer could code a website or create an app. Hiring the right designer will not only ensure that your event materials look great but it could save on time and money as well!
Tip #3: Provide the Designer with Your Brand Guidelines
In an ideal world, every event would have a brand identity kit associated with it. These guidelines include the color palette for both print and digital, standards for style such as logo lockups and preferred typefaces. In our best-case scenario, this would also include providing either the event logo or your company brand materials in various file formats; vector art being the industry standard for logos and high resolution for all print needs). Nothing pulls the look of an event together like a distinctive branding portfolio that complements the host company’s own branding suite.
When Kennedy Events managed the San Francisco Office Warming Party for Linesight, the client provided a single page brand specifications file that Brenda worked from to create art for the podium, backdrop, and other materials. Something as simple as this one-page document (shown at right above) helps the designer know how the logo and any other graphic elements may be used by showing alignment for both horizontal and vertical lockups. It also provides the color palette to work with, often including Pantone, CMYK (for print), RGB, or web-specific color formulas.
Successful events require many moving parts behind the scenes, including hiring a graphic designer who’s capable of producing everything from name badges to stage backdrops. We’ve learned that hiring a designer with the skill set necessary to create event materials that communicate your message accurately to every guest can be key to a successful event experience.
What’s Next for You?
Do you have an event coming up? We’d love to hear all about it. Send us a note with some details and we’ll be in touch ASAP. We love planning events that are just as meaningful to your company as they are fun for your guests.
Maggie Kennedy is the co-owner of Kennedy Events; a large-scale event management company based in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York City. Our team creates stress-free conferences and events with a positive impact, which allow our clients to resonate with their audience. Kennedy Events specializes in producing flawless product launches, award ceremonies, fundraisers and multi-day conferences while keeping our eye on retention and engagement goals