Design Approach – Every Detail Counts

Veteran planners know that details matter when it comes to designing an experience that leads attendees on a journey of the senses. The desire to go that extra step by adding small details that make a big impact is one of the things that differentiates top event professionals.

In a recent article by Smart Meetings magazine, our Executive Creative Director, Hillary Smith explained the business-focused approach to introducing on-trend design. As she shared, “It really is about aligning with the client’s greater needs and making decisions based on what we see in the things around us through our daily interactions, real life experiences and social media.” Hillary, along with other leading designers gave insights on what is new, trending and most effect for event décor:

Design Tech

From facial recognition check-in to wearable wristbands and chat-bots designed to answer attendee questions  regarding schedule and logistics, these innovative elements can be integrated and branded in ways that enhance the overall experience.

  • Merging technology and furniture – couches and armchairs with charging ports built in
  • Robot greets and virtual servers (think holographic bartender)
  • Photo activations, interactive art creation and statement making branding

In the Spotlight

Transformative décor elements create a mood or environment within any given space.

  • Define focal points of the room with theatrical lighting to add mystery and surprise
  • Creative use of audio visual- consider large-scale LED walls, 70-foot-wide screens and video mapping to create a flow.
  • Divide rooms for the event journey to create various environments and leave nothing to the imagination.

Soft Decor

Why throw on a white tablecloth when you can anchor the meal with saturated burgundy, or mix and match patterns and solids in a family of sophisticated hues?

  • Instead incorporate organic, textured fabrics in coordinating colors.
  • Balance with a mix of neutral, tone-on-tone colors blended with fabrics and textures—such as dark brass, metal and wood mixtures.

Festivalized Touches

An entertainment trend is the folk-style alternative rock band—think Mumford & Sons, with full-throttle waxy mustaches, acoustic guitars, banjos, piano and double bass, played with a rhythmic style of alternative rock and folk. “Our teams are using this type of entertainment and blending it into the local flair with a twist of bluegrass, swing or soulful. It crosses over demographics and is pleasing to the older and younger crowds, creating a community feel,” Hillary said.

  • Interactive F&B is another area ripe for creative brand expression. Whether it is a mojito muddler, s’mores-maker or flavored cotton-candy station, the key is that it includes limited components prepared in small batches and put together on the spot.
  • Themed bar as an effective way to add to the festive flair of an event. “This area typically has the highest congregation, similar to how house guests gather around the bar in the kitchen; it is the place where people strike up a conversation and rarely leave.”
  • Raised communal tables ensure the crowd networks and moves around the room more actively than with rounds. In the sea of social media and starvation for face-to-face connections, people are clamoring for more interaction in their daily lives.

Sustainable Wow

Event professionals and attendees are more conscious than ever of limiting waste. This is affecting everything from buffets and silverware to floral arrangements.

Many groups see extensive florals as expendable. This has resulted in planners moving toward a deconstructed style—blending items such as globes, books and lanterns to resemble a residential feel and sense of home. Incorporating variations on the centerpiece from table-to-table can also make the overall feel more interesting.

Memorable Touches

Create moments of delight by creating hidden rooms—unexpected areas within an event that guests can stumble upon. PRA recently produced an event in a large ballroom and utilized the existing stage for entertainment. However, a behind-the-scenes experience contained an interactive photo booth, shoe shining, craft cocktails, green room-inspired decor and a behind-closed-doors vibe.

Inspired by speakeasys, the hidden room space was not promoted to guests, but word spread during the evening and it became more popular as the night wore on. The best part was the reaction of the guests and the looks on their faces, as if they had just landed on another planet in a different time.

Design Done Right

Coming up with design ideas is easy. Coming up with the right ones takes work. Décor is not just about making a space pretty. The right elements set the stage for a cohesive message that both consciously and subconsciously prepare those in the room to learn and grow. What are you using in your design approach to elevate your event? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.

At PRA, our creative design process transforms the way we create value for you and the events you oversee. Let us work with you to deliver design elements that raise the bar for your next event. Get started now.

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