How to stand out at outdoor events and street fairs

Outdoor events are fertile ground for making meaningful connections, attracting new customers and building buzz around your business. But you can’t make any of those things happen if people don’t spot you first. That’s where the products you design for your event stand or booth – whether it’s signs, banners or posters – get you noticed.

Even if you’ve never showcased your business at a farmer’s market or street fair before, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. Our in-house designers have put together some practical tips to help you create outdoor signage and promotional materials that will turn heads and spark conversations.

But don’t wait for opportunity to knock; create it by standing out and drawing people in. Because the difference between attending an event and owning it is looking and feeling professional, prepared and plugged-in.

So, are you ready to own your next outdoor event?

Picture the scene

First of all, get a feel for the event you’re planning to attend.

  • What’s the event space like?
  • Which businesses will I be next to?
  • How many other stands or stalls are there likely to be?
  • Will I be tucked away in a corner or in the middle of a busy thoroughfare?
  • Will I be on a city street or in a more natural outdoor setting?

Then, search for images of previous events to get an idea of how other business owners designed their booth or stand. Or if you’re attending an event nearby, visit the location to see how you can stand out in the space.

The clearer you can picture the scene, the easier it is to visualise success.

Tips for looking professional at outdoor events

Embrace every space

When you have blank space to play with, it can be tempting to fill it with text and images. Resist this urge – it often leads to a crowded design. Remember, people are distracted at events and you’re competing for their attention. The best way to cut through the noise is to provide clear, to-the-point information that’s easy to read at a glance. Apply the same thinking to how you organise your stand. Tidy beats cluttered, and it makes you look more professional.

Choose what's most important

What's the first thing you want customers to see and read? Make that message or image big and put it near the top. Varying text sizes by importance guides people to key information like your business name, tagline, main benefit and phone number. Focus on what people want to know and make that information easy to find.

Use fewer fonts

With so many fonts and typefaces to choose from, making a selection can be overwhelming. But when it comes to creating a professional look, less is more. At outdoor events, you’ll want to stand out and create a clean, consistent look with fonts that are easy to read at a distance. So, stick to one or two maximum.

Cap your colour palette

Unless you sell something like tie-dye T-shirts or novelty socks, sticking to just a few colours will also help create a stronger sense of identity for your business. Choose the main colour from your logo as the “lead,” with no more than one or two to complement it. Also, consider the space you’ll be in. Will there be buildings or greenery in the background? And consider this: If green is your main colour, but you’re going to be surrounded by trees, use a white background to create contrast, so you stand out.

Create high-resolution imagery

If you’re going to include photos on any of your products – especially if you’re going to print them at a large size, it’s essential that they are 300 dpi (dots per inch) resolution. Don’t stretch or enlarge images to fill a space as this will make them appear pixelated or grainy – which isn’t the professional look you’re aiming for.

Give every piece of promotion a ‘role’

When you attend outdoor events, you’re putting your business on show – with you and your team playing the leading role. So, think about how the different products you take can be your supporting ‘cast.’ Eye-catching props are great conversation starters. A small talking point at an event can lead to a big business opportunity later on.

Banners get you noticed

Large banners should be clean and simple for maximum impact. Treat them as flags rather than advertisements, making your presence known and confidently inviting people in. Your name and logo should suffice. Once people get closer, you can let your posters and flyers do the work.

Posters draw people in

With your booth buzzing with people, the challenge is attending to everyone. Posters can help entice and ‘warm up’ visitors while they’re waiting to speak to you or try your products. Keep them simple with a clear message. Remember, people might be reading them from a distance, so keep this in mind when choosing your font sizes.

Flyers create awareness

Flyers are the perfect support for a personal invitation to stop by your booth or visit your shop on another day. Include the key details about your products and services – but again, don’t overload them with info as it’s important they stand out amongst the other flyers people are likely to pick up. Their job is to encourage people to visit your stand, booth or shop. Once people are there, you can elaborate on your business benefits.

Business cards keep you in mind

Take plenty of business cards to outdoor events, both for handing to customers you speak to, as well as keeping on display for passersby to pick. Make sure your business card design is up to date and matches the other products you’ll have with you for a consistent, cohesive, professional look.

Outdoor markets and fairs are the perfect places to create new opportunities for your business. With a little preparation and by following these expert design tips, you’ll be well on the way to making your stand or booth the main event.

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