Learning patterns/Imagery for event promotion

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A learning pattern foroutreach
Imagery for event promotion
problemAccurately conveying both the objective (subject-matter, technical) and subjective (social, emotional) gist of an event to a potential attendee is challenging, especially in written. This makes it especially hard to engage underrepresented audiences.
solutionImagery, in particular illustration, can help convey the twofold message of the event’s objective nature in conjunction with the (more subjectively perceived) social setting of the event.
created on00:24, 2 October 2017 (UTC)

What problem does this solve?[edit]

When promoting an event to potential participants through posters, banners, posts, etc., mere seconds decide about whether an addressee will

  1. be interested on a subject-matter level and
  2. expect to be welcome/feel comfortable at the event.

Covering these two aspects in a single concise publication/statement is rather challenging, especially in a verbal-only context.

Think of a hackathon as an example. For those unfamiliar with the concept and confronted with an advertisement for a hackathon, their attention span may just be enough to decipher the word “hackathon” and evoke all the connotations that mainstream media associate “hacker” with: male, solitary, black clothes, hero or criminal[1][2]—an unlikely premise to engage a demographics typically underrepresented at hackathons.

What is the solution?[edit]

Well-chosen (or well-made) imagery can help counter those stereotypes and at the same time convey a sense of what the social setting of a hackathon should be expected to be. This might be especially effective with banners or posts on talk pages that often don’t receive any more attention than a fleeting glance.

Things to consider[edit]

Example of imagery underlining the experimentalist/playful spirit of hackathons through humor, but lacking in diversity and thus probably failing to engage an audience typically underrepresented at hackathons
  • Imagery used in the promotion of events should convey
    • the goal/subject matter/objective activity of/at the event as well as
    • the social setting/expected atmosphere/subjective feeling of the event.
  • If a single image is used, this can be achieved by imagery showing humans engaging in an activity typical for the event.
  • The targeted audience should be able to identify with the humans shown. This can be facilitated by
    • depicting a diverse range of persons
    • abstraction, for example through the use of illustration rather than photography.
  • Some sense of humor is probably permissible in the imagery used if that helps convey the spirit of the event. (See example on the right.)

When to use[edit]

  • when promoting events
    in particular,
    • when promoting to potential participants unfamiliar with an event’s concept or nature
    • when the name of the event may be misleading or otherwise an unfortunate choice
    • when promoting to specific—for example, underrepresented—audiences
  • when reporting on an organization’s plans for future events



This learning pattern was inspired by discussion during the breakout session What do women want at a hackathon at the hackathon at Wikimania 2017.

See also[edit]

Related patterns[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. Erin Carson (February 25, 2016). "Photos: Our 10 favorite stereotypical hacker stock photos". TechRepublic. 
  2. Daniel Solove (March 2, 2015). "The Funniest Hacker Stock Photos". TeachPrivacy.