KEEP CALM and PARTY ON is all I've got
October 10, 2015 9:43 PM   Subscribe

I volunteered to make posters advertising a high school graduation party, planned for May 2016, and I'm already out of ideas. While it will be a "safe & sober party" I don't want to harp on that particular slogan when advertising to the students.

I need to design 20-30 posters which will be changed out every couple weeks to get the students excited and to pique their interest. The budget can't afford color copies; I'm limited to black ink and brightly colored, letter-sized, card stock. I'm hoping the hive-mind can help suggest slogans and design ideas that an ordinary person (me) can use to create posters on a home computer - without any fancy graphic design software (my first attempts were made with PicMonkey).

We have a website and qr code, so I don't always need to reference the date, time, location, and ticket price, but I think it might be wise to include that info on some of the posters. If you're not familiar with grad night safe & sober parties, they typically run from 10 pm to dawn and the graduates are required to remain at the venue. There will be lots of food and endless entertainment (hypnotist, fortune tellers, photo booth, music, dancing, arcade games, raffle prizes, and more).

TL;DR: please suggest slogans and design ideas for b/w posters to advertise an all night, alcohol free, high school graduation party to be held at an arcade/night club/restaurant style venue.

posted by kbar1 to Media & Arts (10 answers total)
Best answer: I think your current slogan is perfect! How about sticking with the wording and mixing up the photo? For example, why not ask students to submit silly selfies holding a sign with the slogan and post a new one each week. Everyone loves selfies, especially teens (even if they claim to hate them*), and you get some buy in due to positive peer pressure!

I went to my all-night grad party many years ago expecting it to be lame. Some friends talked me into going and I'm so glad they did: it ended up being one of my best high school experiences! (I had fun with friends, found closure with others, and won a Playstation!) I think the promise of fun with friends is key, even more than creative advertising and pithy slogans. Those don't hurt, of course, and it sounds like you're already on the right path!

*I realize that some people truly do hate selfies but everyone takes them, even if they never share them, and even the haters can generally stand the occasional post. I say this from experience, both as a high school teacher and stealth taker of selfies that shall forever remain under lock and key. *Ahem*
posted by smorgasbord at 10:00 PM on October 10, 2015

Best answer: Maybe play up the fact that your parents can't demand you come home by some curfew hour if you're there. Party all night without getting grounded, that sort of thing.
posted by erst at 10:09 PM on October 10, 2015

If you want bigger than letter-sized posters made from individual letter-sized pieces of paper, check out Rasterbator.
posted by erst at 10:12 PM on October 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I think the keep calm and X on thing is pretty over. Or at least I get that vibe from college students.

Playing on the latest memes may be a good strategy.
Pizza Rat (fight), for example... "we promise there will be enough pizza that you won't have to do this"
A photo referencing the naked Justin Bieber picture...

It will probably be some work to keep up with the latest but I think it would be an affordable way to peak interest.

Also look through the Microsoft Office templates online and find some good templates for Word. Download some cooler fonts to snazz things up. Pinterest search free fonts and you'll probably find a repository.
posted by k8t at 11:51 PM on October 10, 2015

Could you have some sort of long-term puzzle or task embedded in the series - every poster has some connection to a theme? Figure it out and win...something?

In this way, the event itself is the culmination of a process - a bit like graduation day itself.
posted by mdonley at 3:36 AM on October 11, 2015

Best answer: The "Party, WOO!" theme works on some people, but also turns off others. I always avoided that kind of frat-boy-like thing even in high school. I'm not good at this kind of advertising, but maybe also play up the goodbye celebration aspect, last chance to hang out with some of the people you've had good times with and may not see again for a long time. Don't just tell me it's a party, or what there will be at this party, tell my why I want to go to it. Even for the party crowd, it's a school function and there will be no alcohol, so, lame. The reason to go is the people, not the attractions.
posted by ctmf at 6:09 AM on October 11, 2015

20-30 posters which will be changed out every couple weeks to get the students excited and to pique their interest

Announcing this over and over again for months seems like a sure-fire way to turn people off it. Can you change the media-plan? Concentrate it in the last three weeks running up to the event (when graduation will already be on everybody's mind)?

If it's necessarily a long-term thing, then try to piggy-back your bi-weekly installments of the most recent trending hashtags, as per k8t. (Keep your slogan, the one in your title, as the constant tagline at the bottom of your page/posters.) Go for sparse, straight white text on a full black background. Become a little clever appointment.
posted by progosk at 6:41 AM on October 11, 2015

I agree that you don't necessarily need to put the date/time/loc on every poster, but skip the QR code. They never really caught on but they certainly are beyond passe now.

I also agree that you don't need a months' long campaign. Maybe advertise now for a few weeks, again in February, and then right before the event.
posted by radioamy at 12:24 PM on October 11, 2015

Response by poster: QR codes are passe? Ugh! Is there another way I can steer them to our website without spelling out the url? Our website was created on Wix and the address is cumbersome.

Thanks for the input thus far - I'm up to 7 posters! I used pizza rat but haven't figured out how to reference the naked Bieber without risking censorship! I'll keep checking back for more ideas!
posted by kbar1 at 2:27 PM on October 11, 2015

Best answer: Can you do a customized short URL or perhaps a Facebook page with a link to the Wix site? QR codes are a pain. And this is especially tough if kids aren't allowed to have mobile devices at school.

For more memes, keep your eye on the Daily Dot.

Maybe also a play on a Buzzfeed quiz. "Can we guess if you're going to come to the NAME party based on your eye color?"

What about "Be sure to finally master the Whip and Nae Nae by May 20, 2016[use real date] so you can do it at the NAME OF PARTY"
posted by k8t at 5:10 PM on October 11, 2015

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