We’re only two months into an eventful 2017, but consistent styles are already emerging in graphic design for events. Some are new, but this early on more event identity design trends are carrying over from previous years. These fourteen event collateral examples are a good cross-section of what’s happening.

We didn’t create them, but these event identity design ideas are indicative of what’s trending right now, and we predict these event design trends will stick around for the immediate future. Conferences that want to keep contemporary might want to adopt these styles, and conferences that would rather differentiate may wish to avoid them—but well-designed event identity can both surf trends and stand out from the pack.

Event Branding: Conference Websites

These conference websites exhibit new styles, carry over others from 2016, or both.

1. NOEW (New Orleans, LA)

Trends spotted: diagonals, duotones, purple. NOLA’s colors combined with other rich hues evokes an enlightening experience. Typefaces: Proxima Nova, Futura.

2. Off-Grid 2017 (Wellington, NZ)

Trends spotted: minimalist and clever (type-based, sans serif, few—but rich—colors), that re-centers the world Down Under. Typeface: Calibre.

3. SXSW (Austin, TX)

Trends spotted: minimalist (sans serif, few colors, but rules above subheads). Identity takes a back seat to content, so color and imagery aren’t confined to their boxes. Typefaces: Founders Condensed, OfficeCode, WorkSans.

4. HOW Design Conference (Chicago, IL)

Trends spotted: minimalist elements combined for a maximalist experience: duotones, gradients, rich but muted colors, rules above subhead type. Typeface: Gotham.

5. An Event Apart (Various Locations)

Trends spotted: duotones, slab serif, sans serif, bright calls-to-action. Nested identity (event over brand) also takes a back seat to content, but not as starkly as SXSW. Typefaces: Jubilat, FreightSans Pro.

6. Experiential Marketing Summit (Chicago, IL)

Trends spotted: multiple shades of purple, sans serif all-caps typefaces, and faint illustration details mix previous with current trends. Typefaces: Oswald, SourceSans Pro.

Event Branding: Digital Imagery

These supporting images adhere to, preview, or complement an event’s overall identity.

7. AIGA Design Conference (Minneapolis, MN)

Trends spotted: purple for Minnesota’s late Prince, of course—though like previous years, this identity is temporary and will likely change as the conference date approaches. Fonts: GT Haptik, Serifa.

8. ASAM Annual Conference (New Orleans, LA)

Trends spotted: more direct use of purple, equalized by the other NOLA-associated colors and dominated by white overall. Also mostly sans serif typefaces (Gotham).

9. Conference for Administrative Excellence (Various Locations)

Trends spotted: gradients of rich colors (starting with purple) and san serif typefaces (Roboto) on the conference location map.

10. KBIS (Orlando, FL)

Trends spotted: multiple shades of purple, flat design, sans serif typefaces (Open Sans).

Event Branding: Physical Collateral

Print identity and stage installations also show a swing toward minimalist luxury with purple and/or gold palettes, balanced by minimalist san serif type.

11. ICAM 2017 (Houston, TX) Brochure

Trends spotted: multiple shades of purple, flat design, sans serif typefaces (Helvetica Neue, Arial).

12. JMU (Harrisonburg, VA) Contemporary Music Festival Poster

Trends spotted: multiple shades of purple, duotone images, geometric shapes, sans serif typefaces (Chantilly Serial).

13. NFL Women’s Summit (Houston, TX) Stage Installation

Trends spotted: minimalist luxury with lots of white + sans serif type (Gotham, Avenir), and gold trim.

14. Web Summit (Lisbon) Overview Brochure

Trends spotted: multiple shades of purple, sans serif typefaces (Lato).

To recap: we’re seeing a lot of palettes with three to five rich colors, gradients and duotones from recent years, and the reliable sans serif typefaces that read better on screen. These won’t be the only trends out there as the year continues, but right now they’re the most cutting-edge in a sea of templatized, same-y visual identity. In that environment, event brands will need a unique visual identity to differentiate themselves before, during and after the conference happens.


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