Using Website Templates to Set the Mood for Your Event
Hundreds of logistics decisions go into planning a successful event. Between the effort expended choosing a venue, organizing sessions and managing other major responsibilities, it can be tempting to let little details like registration page design fall off your radar.
But failing to set the mood for your event through clear, consistent visual branding lessens the impact of your event. Can you imagine if Apple hosted an event, but failed to carry its branded imagery and typography through to the invites? Or if Red Bull put up an event website without its characteristically bold design?
These companies understand how important branded design is - and you should too. Fortunately, you don’t need the resources of companies like Apple or Red Bull to create a consistent mood for your event. Today, you can find website design templates available for all event types, from webinars to retreats or large conferences. When chosen wisely, these templates can do much of the heavy lifting involved in the design of your event website.
Why Your Event Website Needs a Consistent Design
Consistent visuals reinforce your company’s brand, but they do more than that. According to Forbes contributor Solomon Thimothy, a consistent brand image makes your company look more put-together - a must when attendees are trusting you to deliver an exceptional event experience in exchange for their dollars and time.
“Imagine walking into a restaurant where every server wore whatever they wanted, or a department store where no one wore a name tag,” he writes. “How could a customer identify who to turn to for help? Everything might be running smoothly in your eyes, but a polished brand image is necessary to show that you know how to run your business.”
Megan Powell, owner of Little Dot Creative, suggests in a post on her blog that branded visuals also play a role in customer loyalty. “Your visual brand is a puzzle piece that works with the rest of your brand in a system to create an experience for your clients and customers. When all of these pieces work well together, you start to build a loyal audience, and establish trust, which will lead to more customers and clients for your business.”
Loyalty is critically important for those involved in planning event series. Earning repeat attendees requires that the first event these guests participate in be memorable. Brand visuals may only be one part of this puzzle, but it’s easy to see how a well-designed event can create a greater and more memorable impact than one that’s devoid of consistent visuals.
Knowing that visual consistency is so important, consider all the different branding opportunities for your entire portfolio of events. Although some of the items listed below may not be relevant to a particular event, use this list as a starting place for creating your own “to design” list.
Opportunities to carry branded visuals throughout your event:
- Your event website
- Your event’s registration pages
- Checkout sequence and “thank you” pages following registration or ticket purchases
- Event signage (print and digital)
- Advertising banners
- Event badges or name tags
- Print materials provided during the event
- Staff or team member t-shirts
- Your event’s mobile app
- Your event’s social media pages and banners
Event Website Design 101
Building Your Event Website
Website templates help simplify the visual branding process for events. When used correctly, templates can bridge the gap between the consistent branded design you want to create and the amount of time you have available to customize every element (let alone your technical or design skills).
Take Attendease's library of pre-built event website templates as an example. The library contains options for all event types, including webinars, conferences, product launches, retreats, and more, while the advanced publishing engine allows you to customize them by adding or deleting individual elements. The template provides a canvas, and the event manager can easily customize the template by adding in their logo, color palette, imagery and more, to build a white-labeled, branded experience.
When you have access to website templates, you can set up a beautifully-branded website once, and then clone it as often as you need to for future events. You’ll get all the benefits of consistent visual branding, without the effort needed to manually recreate it every time.
Look at Your Existing Branding
Visual branding can be difficult to define. But generally speaking, “Visual identity is all the things that the consumer can see about the company,” according to marketing analyst Prince Kapoor. That encompasses the following elements, among others:
- Your logo (or logo variations)
- Your typography
- Your brand colors
- The style of imagery you use
Most event planners know to put their logo on their event materials. However, not all carry through the other elements listed here - yet consistency with fonts, colours and imagery are all necessary to give a put-together impression and improve guest loyalty, as mentioned above.
When choosing an event website template, make sure you’re able to optimize the pages provided for each of these elements. Finding event templates that are the closest to your existing branding will minimize the amount of time you have to spend customizing them to your needs.
Consider Your Event’s Personality
Next, think through the impression you want to give guests when they interact with your event’s design elements. No matter what your company’s branding might look like, you’d expect that the visual design for a marketing trends conference would look different than an annual gathering of estate planners.
- Are you hosting a fun networking-driven event, or will the material presented be more serious in nature?
- Are you trying to educate, or to inspire?
- Is your industry cutting-edge, or is it more traditional?
Your answers to these and other questions may overlap. You may, for example, want to impart useful information to attendees while also getting them fired up for the future. However, the greater your understanding of the kind of personality you want to convey at your event, the better prepared you’ll be to communicate your chosen personality through your design choices.
Think Through Demographics
Another important consideration when designing your event is the demographics of the likely attendees, as the reaction of individual groups to different visual elements may vary.
For example, imagine that you’re hosting a retreat for startup entrepreneurs, who may respond well to bold colours and vibrant imagery. Contrast that to the conference of a professional association, where a more classic look and buttoned-up styling may be appropriate.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t push the envelope. In fact, standing out from the norm with visual branding that defies industry convention in some way - large or small - can help to create a memorable experience that sticks with attendees. Gauge how much deviation from the norm is acceptable by examining either your own experience with the group or the standards being set by other events in the space.
Event Design Mistakes to Avoid
If you commit to understanding both your company’s visual brand and the identity you want to create for your event, you’ll end up ahead of those who don’t take these elements into consideration (or who don’t extend them to all possible aspects of event design). However, it’s also a good idea to keep the common event design mistakes below in mind when you’re still in the planning stages:
- Don’t copy. The look and feel of your event should look uniquely yours. Leaning too heavily on the design elements used by others won’t increase your authority by association - and it could land you in legal hot water for potential copyright infringement.
- Don’t make your logo do the heavy lifting. Your brand is more than your logo. Make sure other elements of your company’s and event’s visual identity - like your branded colours and typography - make it onto your event assets.
- Avoid inconsistency. As Karla Cook writes on the Hubspot blog, “When you attach your brand name to something, it should reflect and be compatible with your brand's values and voice.” It takes more energy to carry your branding throughout each of your event’s assets, but the value built through consistent visual branding is worth the effort.
And finally, don’t reinvent the wheel. Event website templates make it easy to not just create branded assets, but to replicate them as often as you need to for future events.
But keep in mind that just because they can be replicated easily doesn’t mean they should be. Each event’s design should reflect its unique mood, makeup, and theme. These elements may seem arbitrary or casual, but they are not. They speak directly to any event’s most important asset - its attendees. Subtly, they can send signals that affect how attendees engage with others, participate in activities, or even affect their decision to return for future events.
So, to help craft an event your attendees will remember, take these design elements into consideration. Taken together, they can have a huge impact on your event’s overall success.
Are you conscious of visual branding when designing your events? Share any other ways you’ve worked your company’s visual identity into your events by leaving a comment below: