When you've worked in the events industry for as long as we have, you start becoming accustomed to the kinds of mishaps and hiccups which often threaten to ruin an event. Even the most meticulously planned conference is susceptible to the dangers of the technical fault, not to mention issues that can arise from unexpected extreme weather conditions, and there's a long list of other things which can, and occasionally do cause events to not go as hoped.
However, in our opinion, the biggest danger to any happening - be it a party, a meeting, a conference or ceremony - isn't any of these kinds of issues. You know what really spoils events? Boredom. That’s where our event concept design ideas come to the rescue.
Event Concept design and Engagement
All too often, event organisers overlook the importance of keeping their attendees engaged at all times throughout the day. Keep your audience laughing, look around themselves, moving through your space and filled with wonder and interest, and they're guaranteed to leave with a smile on their faces and a head full of ideas. It's not the hardest thing in the world to achieve either - it just involves a bit of thought, and a great use of concepts.
This doesn't mean you have to go overboard and blow your budget on hugely expensive decorations, or do anything particularly far-out or truly unusual. In fact, 'trying too hard' can often have an adverse effect when it comes to conference concept ideas. However, with some original thinking, a sense of fun, and the willingness to put in that little extra effort, you can lift your conference from the mundane to the memorable.
Want to find out more? We've put together a handy list of five event design concepts that you're going to love, and which can ensure your event goes off with a real bang. Read on to discover how!
Bring on the bubbles
OK - we know what you're thinking. Bubbles? Really? Yes, really. Having a bubble machine as part of your conference set up is a proven conference concept idea, which really gets people in the mood to get involved with the event, have a great time, and lighten up a bit. They're nostalgic - after all, who didn't love playing with bubbles as a child?
The idea behind this is a simple one - by bringing a bit of light-heartedness to your conference, your attendees will lower their social inhibitions somewhat, and be more open to engagement. Laughter will come more easily, and as we all know: when people are laughing, they're listening.
Delegates also love a touch of the unexpected, and with a few handily-placed bubble machines by your stage or podium, you're sure to bring plenty of surprising charm to even a serious keynote presentation.
Make your theme flow
Themes tie an event together, provide consistency and unity, and bring delegates together on an almost unconscious level.
When it comes to the theme of your conference, there's so much opportunity to go the extra mile, and really push the boat out. This isn't just about leaving literature lying around featuring your company logo, or adorned with the conference's colour scheme - it's about using a theme as a unifying concept which can flow through the entirety of your event.
When it comes to event design concepts, thematic ideas really are key to appearing professional, well-organised and aesthetically pleasing. Let's just consider company colours for a moment - how can you take this to the next level? Well, think about all of those little touches you'd be adding to your conference decoration regardless: cushions, tablecloths, plates, banners, drapes... and find a way of incorporating colours into them.
We've seen some amazing examples recently of company colours being included in the catering - this is most easily achieved with desserts and icings, but why not bring those colours into a signature cocktail, or even a set of sandwiches? One of the newest trends in event design concepts is bringing in organic decor. Flowers, trees, indoor plants of all sorts bring a real 'wow factor' to conferences, and also offer plenty of scope for experimentation with a colour theme.
Of course, not all themes are based around colours. Lots of successful events have imagined a theme from the message of the conference, or main focus points.
For example, if your conference is based on future planning, why not bring a 'futuristic' theme to the fore? If there's an international aspect to your event, why not seek out authentic cultural points of interest from related countries, and bring those into your space design?
Take full advantage of lighting
Make no mistake: lighting can make or break a conference. The problem is, we rarely notice great lighting, but that's almost the point - excellent lighting is seamless, almost unnoticeable, and acts to create atmosphere, intrigue and a playful use of interior or exterior space. Bad lighting, on the other hand, sticks out like a sore thumb, and can really block the flow of an event.
You should know far in advance which parts of your conference venue require direct lighting, which require more moody or atmospheric lighting, and which parts need colour, dynamism or movement.
Obviously, you need to highlight your speakers and displays, but do think about the social spaces of your conference; could they benefit from something a little more imaginative or unusual?
We're not talking about emulating a rave with strobes and glitter-balls (although thinking about it that might not be a bad idea...), but lighting is a tool which can really add something to your concept design, and shouldn't be overlooked. Here’s some further suggestions at Event Manager Blog.
Don't forget to set your tables
We've been to so many conferences where the table design has been a real let down. There's no excuse for this - when it comes to conference concept ideas, your tables provide you with a perfect opportunity to expand your theme, or be playful, fun and creative. They're essentially small open stages, ready to be decorated with something dazzling, stylish or intriguing.
At some point during your conference, your delegates are going to be sat around a table with their fellow attendees, so make sure you've thought about how to make them not only look fantastic, but also have everything your guest are going to need. We're not just talking about knives, forks, plates and glasses, here. You should be provided headed paper and branded pens, with which they can take some notes and continue their engagement.
As for centrepieces and decorations, the stripped-back industrial look is in at present - Edison bulbs and reclaimed metalware - as is copper, rose gold and pale gold, which add a warmth, alongside plenty of contemporary cool. Organic elements, too - rattan, willow, timber and suchlike - are also very much en vogue this year, and provide a simple and effective solution for your decorative needs. Some of these centrepiece ideas look good too.
Involve the arts
All great conferences encourage their delegates to get their creative juices flowing, and what better way to do this than by including a creative arts station at your event? This kind of event design concept is becoming increasingly popular, and can be very simple to set up.
You can, for example, arrange for local artists to exhibit their work at your conference, and run interactive workshops or lessons on specific artistic techniques, such as silk painting, t-shirt printing, or stencil making etc. This gives your delegates something to do between seminars, and something to take home with them afterwards that goes above and beyond the usual pen drives, notepads and branded pens included in every conference pack. Want some more inspiration? Take a look at these ideas on the Waging Non-Violence Blog.
Today's event-going public are more demanding than ever before, and it's fair to say that most of the more conventional conference concept ideas have become a real bore. As we've shown, bringing a bit of glamour, style and a touch of the unexpected to your event isn't difficult, and can really make a massive difference when it comes to your conference's social media credentials, shareable content, and overall memorability.
Here at Mask, we've got all the skills, knowledge and practical experience you require to make your event the talk of the town. If you'd like to find out more about transforming your conference from mundane to magnificent, check out what we can do on our site - we're ready to blow your minds!
So, there you have it: five event concept ideas which can add some excitement to your next conference. Have you experienced any of these concepts recently? If so, what were your thoughts? Do you feel we've missed anything from our list, or have you come across anything even more far out? As always, let us know in the comments - we always love to hear from you!