Staging Connections

How to create an effective media wall for your awards night or gala dinner

From too many logos to unflattering lighting and misplaced designs, leading event & AV specialists, Staging Connections, share the Do's & Don'ts for effective media wall design so your event and its sponsors get the most ROI.

From glamorous red carpet photo opportunities to bold and eye-catching backdrops, media walls or photo walls are essential to any major sponsored event. A well designed media wall can become a great marketing tool – it lets you brand your event, enhance your event’s theme, encourage photo opportunities, and importantly promote the sponsors with ease. And it can do all this without detracting from your event and guests. Sounds simple right? Wrong. 

From too many logos to unflattering lighting and misplaced designs, Staging Connections has been in the game long enough to know what a good and bad media wall looks like. With the potential for so many eyeballs on the finished photos, it’s essential to your event and your sponsors ROI that you get it right.  

Our team of event experts has put their heads together to devise a list of Do’s & Don’ts for a winning media wall formula. From printing and set-up right through to design and execution on event day, we’ll help you get it right! 

The DO’s 

Stick to the basics and keep your media wall simple  

Media walls should be designed to create a great first impression, but there’s no need for them to steal the show from your awards night, gala dinner or branded event. The key purpose of any media backdrop or photo wall is to brand your event and provide exposure to your event’s sponsors. Avoid over-complicating your media wall’s design with too many logos or repetitions, and steer clear of busy visuals or distracting graphics. Less is definitely more! At its most basic design, a solid white background with fewer than 4 brand / sponsor logos repeated is usually best for a media wall.

Pictured: A simple media wall design with few logos repeated is best.

Use media backdrops to put the spotlight on your brand and sponsors

When you’re printing brand logos onto your media wall, double-check you’re providing the correct file size and format for your media wall’s dimensions. JPEGs aren’t always the best solution, and the higher file size resolution, the better. Be sure to check that yours and your sponsor’s logos are current too, it only takes an email or phone call. If you’re using this to draw attention to your brands, make sure you get it right. 

Location, location, location! 

Be sure to install the media wall either at the entrance or in a spot that receives a lot of foot traffic to ensure you capture everyone as they enter, or have a spare minute.  

Photo walls or media backdrops work well with a red carpet and bollards to direct your audience where to go. Your media backdrop can also be a great centerpiece to signal the entrance of your gala dinner or awards night. 

Position your media backdrop carefully  

If you’re not using an internally lit Event Backdrop, make sure there’s adequate light in addition to the photographer’s flash. Your media wall’s life will extend much longer than the event itself through photography - so make it count! 

If your media wall is being positioned against a wall, be sure to consider proper backing. It’s important that every feature of your event is installed correctly and has all the safety enhancements and fixture needed. If your media wall is self-standing, such as an Event Backdrop, don’t forget to leave sand bags on the floor for safety and stability.  

Pictured: A styled media wall created using fleur panels with truss uplights along the bottom with additional soft white light stands.

Go the extra mile for your event with a styled media wall for your gala dinner or awards night

If you’re looking for a media wall that leaves a lasting impression, enhance your theming with a styled media wall. Consider using textural elements such as fake grass, vertical gardens, corrugated iron for an industrial / outback look or fleur screens. If you're heading down this route be sure to liaise with your audio visual company to devise an alternate solution, such as lighting, to display your brand logos. 

Pictured: An Event Backdrop fully covered in fake plants to enhance the 'Vanity Fair' theme of the gala dinner.

Get prop happy! 

If it suits the purpose of your event, such as a gala dinner or awards night, try adding some fun props too. This can help camera-shy people get in character and makes for a unique photo op. People will also be more likely to share photos on social media if they are in character, which amplifies your brand’s exposure online. 

Pictured: A 'Hogwarts' themed media / photo wall area complete with styled props.

Make your media backdrop social media friendly 

If you’re looking to maximise the reach of your event and engagement in the room, try using an event social media wall like Event Feed, which pulls all public social posts using your event hashtag and displays them live on screen after moderation. It’s a great way to get people engaged, start conversation and encourage photo taking and social uploading, extending the longevity of your event and brand messaging. Get the most out of your media wall / photo wall and use a cameraman who has the technology to post straight to Instagram. 


Avoid unflattering lighting

Event lighting is often just as important as your media wall. Don’t project blue light onto your media wall as it’s very unflattering and can distort faces in photos. We recommend using a soft white light instead – it’s the safe option and clearly captures the talent.  It’s also a good idea to avoid using down lights, as they cast unflattering shadows over people’s faces. Consider using truss uplights along the bottom of your media wall, which casts a nice light on your event’s logos making them stand out. 

For best lighting results, we recommend using Event Backdrop – a digitally printed backdrop available in a range of sizes and can be internally lit, which makes for maximum impact on your branding. 

Pictured: A themed Event Backdrop with internal lighting making it the perfect solution for a branded media wall.

Limit unwanted photobombs with careful design consideration 

Consider the placement of any printed people, animal or objects onto your photo walls too as these can turn up in unexpected places when looking at the pictures, and often make for embarrassing (or hilarious) photobombs. You wouldn’t want this happening to the company CEO.  

Don’t leave your media wall until the last minute 

If it’s being printed, provide your supplier with the multimedia files at least 4 weeks before the event so you can see the mock up, approve a print test, and go through print and delivery with enough time to spare for changes in between.  

Be prepared for the unexpected 

Your media wall may also be set up in a different spot to what you planned, so consider possible power points, lighting, styling and anything else you may need for an alternate location. This may mean it needs to be installed at a different time, so ensure the set up is included in your run sheet. Any reputable AV company should be prepared for instances like this, but it's always safe to have the 'what if' conversation to make sure all bases are covered.

Pictured: A simple media wall design on pull-up banners with purple velvet draping.

Partner with experienced events specialists you can count on

Looking for further ideas for your media wall or how to style your next awards night or gala dinner? Staging Connections are audio visual production and events experts. Get in touch with us by calling 1800 209 099 or by sending an event enquiry to explore how we can take your event further.

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