I was a then full-time Art Director for a good-sized church in Huntington Beach, CA when I was asked to be on the Planning Committee for a first time, on-campus Women's Conference. Before I said yes, I had to make sure they understood that I'm very into details. We started planning a good 6 months out with the team, however, since I worked 2 offices over from the Women's Director, we basically started the day after the previous year's retreat.
Most people start with a theme, we start with a verse. Once we get that finalized, it's very easy for me to start into motion with designing all the details. I have this knack for being able to envision a look and feel in my mind's eye. This year, the Verse would be 2 Timothy 1:7 "For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline." This conference was all about empowering women and helping them DISCOVER their gifts that God gave them and to go out into the world to BE BRAVE and use them.
LOGO Sometimes I create a mood board to help me get started, but a lot of times I'm working on several projects at the same time, I don't have time to make the perfect "matchy matchy" mood boards that are all over Pinterest. Seriously, I'm lucky if I make a private board on Pinterest and share it with the team, let's be real. Since this is a one-off event, I'm able to design with what's currently on trend instead of going for something that is timeless and would have to hold up for years.
COLOR Once the logo is finalized, it's time to add a color scheme and maybe some textures. At this point, I will make a "live" mood board and start pinning scraps of samples, the logo, etc. onto a giant bulletin board in my office so I can start to see how the look is shaping up. I still held true to what was on-trend at the time, we chose black, silver and a light salmon color. Now that ideas are flooding in, sticking with the color scheme or coordinating colors is key. Be open to make adjustments, it might come down to introducing an alternate color choice simply based on decorations and supplies that are available. The goal is to have a cohesive and branded look throughout the event.
ADVERTISING Since this is a first time event of its kind on our campus, the timing is key to start promoting and advertising to build-up excitement for the event. Know your audience and demographic, this may take some research, but you should have a good idea to what works best for promoting your event. In our case, since it's a church and has a wide range of ages of women who we're targeting, we opted to use both social and traditional advertising. And since we are part of a larger "company" so-to-speak, we had to heavily rely upon our personal social profiles to create engagement with our potential attendees since there were often other church-wide topics that needed to be conveyed. (Below is an Announcement Slide).
PRINT Like most, there was a budget that we had to "try" to stick to. The only print materials we provided was a cute black stitched journal with our logo printed on the cover and a card slipped inside with bios for the Director of Women's Ministry and the fabulous guest speaker, Megan Fate Marshman. On the back were opportunities how to get plugged-in for sharing your gifts and upcoming events, they were placed on each seat of the attendees.
DETAILS At our church, the bar for putting on an event is set pretty high so it was important to me to keep the overall branding on-point in all aspects. I designed for all of our volunteers, a cute Dolman sleeve t-shirt with one of our alternate phrases "Be You Bravely" printed on it, instead of one of those men's Hanes Beefy T's. It was one of the best details that was added and was highly appreciated by the women. Since there is a coffee shop and bookstore on the campus, we also concocted hot & cold specialty conference drinks called "Berry Brave", Blackberry Lavender Iced Tea and Blackberry Lavender White Mocha. No detail was left undone, I had a stamp made with the encouraging phrase, "Brave is Beautiful" and hand stamped all the coffee sleeves for all the guests. The cost for the stamp was minimal for the return of investment.
SIGNAGE The Women's Conference was located on the church campus, which is big, so we took care of directional issues with lots of signage, branded signage.
LASTLY, the stage design. Since the conference was held in a venue that we don't normally use for this type of event, the stage seemed really really large. I was trying to come up with some sort of backdrop that would take up a large footprint on the stage, however, leave enough room for the band to leave their instruments. Anything I came up with was going to have to be a DIY since the budget was pretty much shot. I made letters approximately 3' tall and spelled out "Be Brave". It took up just the right amount of space and stayed on the stage both days of the conference.
Please enjoy the below photos from the DISCOVERY Women's Conference.