An Introduction to Conferences
Just as this program was going to print (yes, it was pre-Internet) the paper arrived and was discovered to be slightly heavier than expected.
Four pages had to disappear over a weekend or the postage would be double the budget for the 30,000 copies.
Lessons learned: Expect the unexpected, and always design layouts to be as flexible as possible.
Make it Pocket-sized
This program was especially complicated because of its size (4 x 8½“). It was spiral bound and some of the pages had to be inserted as fold-outs to accommodate the format of the conference.
Turn it Sideways
Small (7 x 4½“), this program included a complicated (but easy to read) schedule with 20 concurrent sessions and an interactive author index.
Moving to Digital
Publications are still necessary, but rather than printing and mailing them, they are emailed as PDFs. Recipients can then print locally if desired.
Detailed information that was time-sensitive had to be provided in both North American and European formats. The solution was to design a single layout that worked for printing on either an 8½ x 11“ or an A4-sized sheet.
The Future of Digital
Websites, and more recently apps, have changed the way conferences are run and how information is shared. However, print still has some advantages:
It's disposable and recyclable;
It will likely be available for longer than the digital equivalent;
It will probably last longer than the digital equivalent;
It's still a very good way to promote your online presence.
Digital presentation requires a range of sizes to fit common screens and orientations, ranging from a 57 pixel square to a 2048 x 1496 pixel screen page.
Since 1996, ALDI Design has produced material for more than a hundred conferences and trade shows. Impossible deadlines are met with intelligent design (not the evolutionary kind); old-fashioned client service; and a healthy dose of good humour.