Design trends are going big and impressive, with the goal being to catch guests' attention and make an impact by using both large-scale decor and curated aspects. Jeffrey Foster, Senior Designer at full-service production agency Event Creative, shares his tips on how to create an awe-inspiring look and feel for your next soiree. 

Rustic Touches and Bright Colors

Current design trends often incorporate what Foster calls a "RustLux" look, which combines luxury elements with a rustic feel, such as wooden tables paired with a pop art chandelier.

Bright, neon colors are also popular, which bring a playful and child-like feel to the space and work especially well for interactive and daytime events. Foster said it's important for people to design with their goals for the event in mind. "Instead of just making a room pretty, it's (about) highlighting (the brand) and getting their (ideas) across," Foster says. "It's important to make the decor fulfill the (company's) message."

Design High, Not Low

Rather than incorporating logos on tables and carpets and at the bar, Foster suggests focusing your branding on light fixtures, banners and walls. "Put (your) money into things overhead," Foster says. "Everyone sees them and it has more of an impact." 

Become "Inspired By the New Chicago"

When looking to tie-in the city's vibrancy and excitement into an event's design, Foster advises planners to take cues from the Chicago of today, not yesteryear. "Many times, (clients) want to have a Chicago event and the first thing they want to do is a speakeasy," Foster says. "Be inspired by the new Chicago: our arts, our dance companies, our museums, our art collections and (our) lakefront."

Foster suggests showcasing the city's architecture, which is home to works by Frank Lloyd Wright, Frank Gehry and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.

Themes and Trends for 2016

  • Festival Frenzy: The explosion of music festivals has segued into the business realm, with many events now designed to give attendees the freedom to roam and include multiple ways for guests to engage and interact
  • Playtime: Be on the lookout for more casual, playful events, where games and challenges are a big part of the experience
  • Bold Colors and Motifs Inspired by Rio: The Summer Olympics will be held in Rio de Janeiro this year, bringing with it an influx of dance elements, vibrant hues and a carnival-like feel to many forward-thinking functions
  • Breathe Deep: Guests are also seeking a more calm, neutral-colored and outdoor-focused atmosphere, with spaces to disconnect from technology and engage in the natural world
  • The Art Effect: Brands and companies are now commissioning works of art, set pieces and design features that are intended to amaze attendees at first sight

Photos and article courtesy Event Creative