I was at the ad:tech show this week. Good buzz and vibe – clearly, dollars are flowing back into the online ad market. When we go to these shows we get good tips on what’s working and what’s tired in displays. This is an image driven show – lots of splash, iconic logos (think Google, Facebook, Linkedin, etc) and branding.
It got me thinking – what makes a great graphic? Is it content? Is it color? Image? Typeface? The answer obviously depends on your company and its identity. If you’re lucky and everyone knows your company, the name alone (writ large) will do. But if your company is not so well known, what do you use to get the attendees interested?
Sue me for the unscientific nature of this survey, but specific information comes in a distant 3rd to image and color when it comes to attracting attention. We are visual before we are contextual. We respond to vivid colors, exciting, unusual or attractive imagery. I saw a lot of displays that not only had great imagery, but incorporated the imagery into the design of their display. For example, Plenty of Fish (www.plentyoffish.com) had a cool flowing oceanic theme on a 10×20 serpentine pop up display. It was very compelling for a basic display. And it had (pretty much) zero product/service information. Which made me walk up and ask “what exactly do you folks do?”
This is not to say you should not have informationally rich graphics – in some situations these graphics work best. But think about the attendee – what are they likely to be attracted by? How informed and knowledgeable are they? Can you make them more informed by putting information on a graphic? Or do you need a visually stimulating image to create an interaction. In general, I find companies working too hard to “make the sale” before the attendee is in the booth, which is just not going to be effective.
In order of preference, this is what I think get’s attention:
2. Simplicity (of image)
4. Action or connotation of action
Try it out for your company – think about what you want to use to bring people in to ask “what do you folks do?”
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