Event Visual Design During a Pandemic


Senior Visual Designer


The Learning Guild


Project: Event Design During a Pandemic

Overview: The marketing and creative for DevLearn 2020 started as usual, with us gearing up for one of the best conferences yet. We started with a strong concept and had art and creative pretty much done when shutdowns across the national started happening due to the COVID pandemic. We had to pivot the visual design and themes twice over the course of the marketing campaign to account for the fears surrounding the pandemic and the eventual realization that we would not be able to host a conference that year.

Pre-Covid Challenge:

Create a new and different theme for DevLearn to represent the core audience and continue to establish our presence as one of the leading L&D events in the industry.

The marketing tagline for that year was initially "Learning Unleashed" and visuals were created around that theme:

Early Covid Challenge:

In the first few months of the pandemic developing, we quickly realized how big of an impact it was having on the world, and we couldn't use art that basically just looked like a huge virus exploding behind the tagline. Additionally, leadership thought it wise we pull back on the dark theme and pivot to something brighter and safer to ease fears during the early days of the pandemic, with the very optimistic idea that it would all be over by October (ha). I collaborated with marketing to re-do the creative for the campaign with these goals in mind.

Second phase of art, created with the assumption we would still be able to run the event

Global Lockdown Challenge:

Eventually, we all understood that we would be unable to host an in-person conference that year. Leadership pivoted to a digital conference model, rebranding to DevLearn Digital Experience. The intent was to create a robust online experience that could bring some of the value of an in-person event. The visuals shifted slightly from the previous iteration, focusing more on online imagery and less traditional conference imagery

Assets created with the knowledge that this is a fully online event


DevLearn Digital Experience 2020 was a very successful online event run during an extremely difficult time for everyone. It was the most profitable event anyone in the larger company (Closerstill Media) had ever run, and received fantastic feedback. Additionally, we created some event-specific swag that people could order online, with all profits donated to a charity devoted to bringing technology to underserved communities.