You see them all the time whenever you’re gawking at celebrity photos on the red carpet. They’re at events large and small from your local charity fundraiser to the Oscars, but no one really what they are after all – step and repeat banners. We’ll take a look at these from a beginner’s perspective so you can learn what they are, when they’re best used, and how to design them properly to add uniqueness and class to your event.
What is a Step and Repeat Banner?
A step and repeat banner is a large banner that is displayed often at red carpet events with two logos – usually the sponsor logo and the event logo. Sometimes logos of two sponsors are on the banner in a repeating fashion.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as so:
Full Definition of STEP-AND-REPEAT
: of, relating to, or employing a method in which successive exposures of a single image are made on a printing surface that is being prepared for gang printing
These are the large banners or wall murals with logos that you see everywhere in celebrity photographs of awards shows and charity events, but you probably never knew the name of them. They are a fairly straightforward product to have printed, and class up your event like no other. If you’re the first to have one of these for your toddler’s birthday party, you’ll definitely be the talk of the preschool for the next month.
Origin of Step and Repeats
From a bit of internet research, I couldn’t find any definitive resources, but the gist of the origin of the name step and repeat is as follows. The celebrities or attendees on the red carpet at the even would step in front of the backdrop in order for the paparazzis (or moms) to take a photo of them in their Zoolander poses. The talent would then carry on to the ceremony while the next lucky celeb would step up for the shot and repeat the process. I like this story, so we’ll stick with it until a better one comes along.
When Should you Use a Step and Repeat Banner?
Step and repeat banners are large format printed banners, but they are not necessarily to be used everywhere. Although very similar to media backdrops, what makes step and repeats unique is their patterned logo backdrop that is meant for maximizing brand exposure both at the event and in photographs.
You wouldn’t necessarily get made fun of for using a step and repeat backdrop at your trade show booth, but it wouldn’t do much good. Generally the logos are large enough to be visible from a medium distance, but small enough to fit in behind the people in paparazzi photographs.
Therefore, any type of significant event where you are anticipating many people dressing up for the night and taking photos would suffice. Events would include charity fundraisers, industry award ceremonies, film festivals, high school proms, college grad nights, and many more but there’s no reason they should just be limited to these events – if you want to create a unique event with them, go for it. I have yet to see someone use a step and repeat backdrop at a wedding, but that would be awesome – use the couple’s names as one of the logos and either the venue or the bride’s father as the sponsor.
How to Make a Step and Repeat Banner?
The step and repeat printing process is fairly simple. You’ll need to select the two logos that will be used on the banner and ensure that they’re in a high quality format that your printer requires. For our step and repeat banner orders, we require high quality 300 dpi photos. The logos should be one of a few formats, including .png, .ai, or .psd among others. Often times your printer can help you with sizing and the graphic design portion, as we do.
Besides the logos, you’ll want to choose the background color of the step and repeat banner, which is almost always white. Lastly, you’ll need to decide on the size of the banner and the material to be used – again, your printer can help you finalize this.
Can you make a step and repeat banner at home? Not if it’s for an event you care about. You would need large format printers that cost tens of thousands of dollars and the right material to print on. If you really want to create your own for a fun film project, you could look into pasting logos onto painted cardboard by hand, but that’s for another blog post.