The winners of the Event Design Awards have been announced (click here to check them out), and we thought we’d dig into all of the year’s top entries to find out which had their hands on the trends and ideas that will shape the experience design landscape in 2015. Here, five event design trends for the year ahead:
1. Collaboration zones.
Several of the exhibits that received high scores from our judges featured communal and hacker spaces full of whiteboards, touch screens packed with relevant content and discussion areas. Helping attendees feel like your brand is part of their ideation team is always a solid play. For instance, at Google I/O, the search giant created a “CodeLab” area where developers could experiment with apps and tools for future release.
2. Total transformation.
Some designers go for endemic, fluid spaces that fit in with the venue’s surroundings. The winners this year looked past that and completely rethought the environment at hand to suit the needs of the brand in the most strategic way. To leverage its sponsorship of the Heineken UEFA Champions League, the brand took over one of Ibiza, Spain’s empty bay areas and created Heineken Bay, complete with a floating “Star Bar” and full beach party environment.
3. The Devil is in the Details.
Little touches of taste that tie a footprint together make all the difference. Well-chosen furniture pieces can lend a nuanced flavor of the brand to the entire space, or a reclaimed wood wall might ease a tech heavy exhibit toward a more rustic feel. At Amway’s Nutrilite Center for Optimal Health exhibit, the brand used authentic items like irrigation structures from the farm where it sources its ingredients. The design elements lent credibility to the content and the story that the brand wanted its sales force to absorb.
4. Balance and Contrast.
It’s no small feat to maintain a cool technological edge while making a space feel warm and inviting, but the best designers leading the pack this year are finding that sweet spot, and setting the stage for powerful consumer experiences by doing so. Intense Lighting at the 2014 International Light Fair Show wanted to show attendees that the brand’s high-end lighting technology can be a real architectural statement. The brand built mahogany walls to offset the lighting and dimensional signage on the raised staging. All of this combined to make the high-tech product look classic and classy.
5. Social integration.
The lines between social media and real-world exhibition continue to blur. Brands are integrating walls, kiosks and multimedia displays into the architecture to create one, dynamic statement that’s not only eye-catching, but customized to the attendees standing in the booth. The EMC World trade show made its Social Lounge a centerpiece of the action for the entire show. It included soft seating and networking areas with power stations, and a special “Elect” section that attendees could pay to enter for private engagements and refreshments. It all added up to thousands of social media mentions and user-generated content pouring out from the show floor.