I am working on a banner for a startup to be displayed at events.

However, I am struggling with supporting colours at the moment.

The entire thing looks very dark, and I wonder if it does the job of drawing the audience in, or will it just be ignored by passers-by.

enter image description here

Any feedback on how I can alter the colour scheme to make it bright while keeping the main brand color of #191c4c? I feel like the man in the middle should be a bit brighter, but I'm not sure what alterations to make.


It is too dark. A brand color especially if its such a dark one doesn't need to be the entire piece like that.

Look at the histogram of your piece, here's an Answer of mine on Photography explaining a little: Photography.Stackexchange: Can I tell which photo has more contrast from their histograms

Historgram with no contrast

In general you want a piece to have a nice full range. And generally speaking more in the lighter areas since our eyes are drawn to light. Kind of the same reason why trade show booths often add additional lighting.

Even though the brand color is a royal blue, it doesn't need to be the entire background. Break the image up to lead the eye from section to section.

Not so much about the color but I'd also say as a whole the banner does nothing to communicate why an attendee should care about the product/service.

Without knowing anything about the product or brand its hard to make recommendations. I would probably look at just adding more to. Maybe some yellow or orange elements to add some brightness and contrast. Gradients could really help a lot as well.

To be kinda brutally honest its flat and minimal in a bad way. It looks like a piece of clipart on a colored background. Nothing was done to lead the eye from section to section or create interest.

Glance over Pinterest: Trade Show Banner. See how there's colors, shapes, text, and especially contrast. Big bold graphics and photos.

  • I second the point for having a full histogram in a photograph but I've never heard / read that a full range was a desirable feature in graphic design? Do you have some references or do you mind to elaborate? – curious Sep 10 '19 at 13:57
  • @Emilie that's far too broad of a question. My only advice would be for you to read up on the histogram and draw your own conclusions based on what you know about print design. – Ryan Sep 10 '19 at 14:27
  • Thanks, I've scrapped this current design and started working on a new one. – methuselah Sep 12 '19 at 8:10
  • The short answer is that you want good contrast in any image for impact. As an illustrator / graphic designer I try to slip in full white and black somewhere. Light images generally preferable over dark (yes), although at a conference there is a danger of looking like everyone else (who are doing this) A dark banner can stand out. Use white or a complimentary to create impact - orange or yellow would work for you. At eye level (you have position correct) you should indicate a compelling USP / offer / description of the product as likely lower copy wont be read. Example: bit.ly/2m8s20X – Applefanboy Sep 13 '19 at 8:48

That blue is much too dark, needs to be more cheerful. Add a bit of color and texture to the background, plus everything else is too white. Make the website a big purple round cornered button. Also the man in the middle needs to stand out, so needs a bit of contrast / different color scheme. Some inspiration below.

enter image description here

enter image description here

  • The blue is the main brand color OP needs to keep – curious Sep 10 '19 at 12:13
  • Oh i missed that part, we don't have all the facts about this branding, but certainly you can keep the color and just add some shading to it. Or better yet use a white background and use the blue selectively for text or some highlights. – Lucian Sep 10 '19 at 12:44

I think the banner would be more likely to draw people in if the character was made much bigger. While that doesn't change the colors you are using, it would change the proportion at which they're used; you would get more of the flesh color which is close to the complementary (blue/orange) and efficient at catching attention.

In addition, getting closer to the face of the character would communicate more emotion. People are attracted to faces, so I think it would be a good alternative to consider.

Some asides:

  • Have you tried lowering the logo and type under the character? It would free the character's perceived motion somewhat.
  • Is there a reason why the lightbulb is blue? I ask because it makes it look like it's turned off, and having it seem "on" with a different color would also potentially help attracting attention.
  • Thank you very much, I've updated the banner based on this feedback. – methuselah Sep 12 '19 at 8:09
  • @methuselah Glad that was helpful! – curious Sep 12 '19 at 10:40

I'd consider it a good design. Minimal (in a good way) and effective (well I'm assuming the character is having a message there, one that is not apparent to me, but that's OK). I don't support two previous comments. If it goes into environment full of information and complicated design (most of fair envs), then it will shine. But if it will be surrounded by number of simple pictogram-like looking banners and uniformly colored objects around, then I'd choose patterns, gradients, cut images and scenes etc. So in my opinion it depends a lot on the purpose and knowing target environment and people is always an advantage.

  • 1
    +1 for "If it goes into environment full of information and complicated design (most of fair envs), then it will shine. [...] it depends a lot on the purpose and knowing target environment and people is always an advantage." – curious Sep 10 '19 at 13:53
  • Thanks for offering a different perspective! – methuselah Sep 12 '19 at 8:09
  • For what it's worth, your answer inspired me to update my review of our current critique guidelines – curious Sep 12 '19 at 10:43
  • Thank you @Emilie, I read your answer back then too, and I do consider your answer inspiring too, especially the way you think about some details. It was just the overall picture I described; which I always consider first. Naturally, because I'm usually on the ordering side of such projects. – Oak_3260548 Sep 12 '19 at 11:20

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