Step and Repeat
A step and repeat banner (sometimes a step and repeat wall or press wall) is a publicity backdrop used primarily for event photography, printed with a repeating pattern such that brand logos or emblems are visible in photographs or selfies of the individuals standing in front of it. Step and repeat banners are common fixtures of red carpet or fashion events, or custom-printed for weddings or galas in order to give a more “celebrity-like” feel to attendees’ photos.
Another version of the press wall is often seen in professional and college/university sports, where the same type of background with sponsor or team logos is utilized as the background for a press conference within a team’s media room or visitor’s locker room, which can be a piece of material, a permanent wallpaper, or a flat-panel display where logos rotate behind the speaker every few seconds, providing multiple advertisers promotional opportunities. In Europe or Asia, the press wall is often portable and transparent, and brought out to a soccer or cricket pitch after a match to provide the same type of background.
Step-and-repeat backdrops can be made in several ways. The most common ways are either vinyl, fabric, poster paper, canvas or adhered onto a hard substrate such as plywood or foam core. Recently steps and repeats have been created with greenery, called ‘green step and repeats’. Each has its own sets of pros and cons. Fabric is less likely to have hotspots in photography which means it tends to absorb a flash rather than reflecting it. Vinyl is heavier duty and sometimes has brighter, more vibrant images. The support structure can vary depending on size. Standard trade show display frames are often used, or it can be hung from or applied on a wall.
The main use for step and repeats is brand awareness. Vendors may charge a sponsorship fee for a logo to be displayed or for the company name to be featured in the background. The idea is that the photos will be shared through various platforms causing a ripple effect in impressions. More recently, step and repeat banners are being used more widely in and not just for Hollywood style events. They can also be seen at trade shows, conventions, demo days, grand openings, and even birthday parties and weddings. They have also been utilized to provide a background for people to take a picture in front of a COVID-19 vaccine with the health care provider’s logo and vaccine encouragement slogan.