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What’s Hot & What’s Not

Being on trend is not just about using ‘in colours and trendy accents’, it’s also about understanding the psyche of your market. Being able to analyse the market ahead of time is one of the skills of a good designer. How do you do this? In short designers must spend some time researching, identifying, analysing and interpreting social trends. The Internet has made this task so much easier and blogs in particular are a great way of keeping up with design trends.

We love and and these sites are just two that provide endless information and inspiration for your design work.

To get you started we have compiled a list of what I expect to be ‘in and out this year'.

What’s In

  • The strongest design trend in events is ‘less is more’. Ok this one has sort of been forced on most businesses due to the economic downturn but even if your business is tracking well, any flashy or frivolous displays will be frowned upon by your clients and considered tacky. Often this is not actually about spending less…but you need to appear as though you have. Minimalism in clothing, accessories and event design can be more expensive than glitter, but it will be important for your design to look refined. A good event designer can help a client achieve this within budget if this is a consideration.
  • Uber Cool meets Eco Chic. Sustainability has been on everyone’s lips for several years now and it is so not cool not to pay attention to the sustainability of an event. However, just being green is no longer enough when it comes to event design. Successful event designers are now incorporating a strong sense of style and design into green events. King Dahl of MGM Mirage Events in Las Vegas says;
    “…the big trend toward eco-friendly events is admirable, however, there are limits to the sophistication and elegance that is possible from the likes of recycled paper cups used in a ceiling chandelier. Recently we’ve been playing with a new aesthetic we have branded ‘Gilded Earth.’ Stunning, shimmering metallic gold and platinum finishes are incorporated into actual tree stumps, adding new life to woodland forms. All wood is reclaimed from the forest floor during fire clearance with zero environmental impact. We have infused ‘Gilded Earth’ into several events over the past few months. The result is organic and opulent — as timeless as it is modern, as familiar as it is imaginative.”
  • Themed Décor with meaning and purpose. Strongly themed ‘parties’ are very yesterday. Events need clear and meaningful purposes and themes must reflect this. Design an event with no clear objective and you will have definitely committed event design suicide. As an event designer it is also your job to guide your client, which means if they don’t articulate a purpose or objective for you, you need to help them define one. Event décor needs to serve a purpose; for example the emerging trend is for client’s to demand décor that enhances the location they are already in or be an extension of their corporate image. Again this harks back to responsible spending and your client’s do not want to appear wasteful in these times.
  • Ok on the upside, colour is back and in a BIG way. However because of the minimalist trend you will find that rather than a riot of colour, events will feature the use of one base colour and then the addition of an accent colour that pops. Stay away from Black and White which is very ‘yesterday’. Instead look to Turquoise and the big, big, big one which is going to be very popular in Weddings, Orange.
  • Whist strongly themed party type events are passé, themed events that encourage a little escapism are popular. Everything is about atmosphere and creating a sophisticated space that guests will enjoy. Tom Kehoe of Kehoe Events in Chicago suggests designers think ‘Old Havana’ – an ultra-sexy environment that makes you forget about the economy and dance!
  • Giving with a purpose. Using an event to generate some funds for a charity is always worthwhile, but don’t let your client’s get caught doing it just for kudos! If you are going to make your event ‘worthwhile’ for a cause make sure you understand the cause you are supporting and that this is reflected in the décor of the event. This goes along with ensuring events are not wasteful….don’t get caught wasting, time, money or product just to show your support of a cause.

This list above gives you a good idea of what is out as well as in but here are a few more hints on what not to put into events:

  • Black and White Brocade. I love the Parisian look that this encompasses but you won’t see me incorporating it into events next year…so yesterday!
  • Say goodbye to backlit bars, buffets that glow, candy buffets, submerged flowers and logos on pillows.
  • Strongly themed parties and conspicuous, over the top spending. I discussed this in ‘what’s in’ but it all comes back to the economy. Whether you can afford it or not anything over the top will look tacky. If you can’t get your head around this one consider how much more stylish Angelina always looks than Paris Hilton. It’s not about the money in your pocket, it’s how you use it that counts.
  • Minimalism does not mean white. Colour is important.

One final word. This is not the Depression but spending with conscience is definitely in. Take it on as a challenge to your design skills and you will enjoy your events. Happy designing!