That was the venue Jennifer Ederer, owner of Modern Day Floral in Grand Rapids, MI, worked with as she planned a large corporate event last summer. Her client wanted the event to have a fun, celebratory feel, but the green of the courts and natural outdoors colors made color selection a little tricky. "We went with a Vegas theme," says Ederer, "and used fresh, punchy colors: bold oranges, reds, saffron, and pops of turquoise. We played off the green from the tennis courts and the outdoors to work with that space."
You'll see shades of orange and red in Pantone's hot colors for the spring and summer 2013 season, which also includes gorgeous hues like African Violet, Emerald Green and a stunning Monaco Blue. Does that mean you should rush to include these hot, new colors in your next event?
"Not necessarily," says Ederer. In general she finds that the event industry sees the influence from fashion trends 6 months to a year down the road. For now, she says, the hot colors are important to know because they keep things fresh, so if your clients are leaning towards a green, you can ask them if they want to consider the trendier Emerald.
"It's important to know what the newest Pantone colors are, because you want to be current," says Ederer, "but they shouldn't be the basis for designing your event." Instead, she suggests, focus on your client's goals. "I like to ask corporate clients, What's your message and who's your audience?" says Ederer. "Let's tell that story."
Ederer finds that corporate clients usually like to use their logo colors; branding plays a big role at these events. But oftentimes, the same people attend these conferences year after year. If you're sticking to the same color scheme, the meeting can feel stale, like it's the same event as last year. Ederer says the key to using corporate colors creatively is to get people to think outside the box. Subtle changes in color, food, and design can be highly effective in bringing a new energy to the meeting and helping deliver the company's message for that particular event.
Using hot colors as accents is a great way to incorporate trends, and energize the feel of the meeting, without changing a corporation's entire color scheme. For inspiration Ederer looks to the fashion industry.
"One of the biggest switches we saw," she says, "was the metallic switch from silver to gold." When that happened, Ederer began working in the trendy new gold color by using it as an accent with gold chargers or gold candelabras, which she says they hadn't done in years. But by using a trendy color, like one of the newest Pantone colors, on small things, like place cards or chargers, you can bring a fresh feel to a corporate event while still using on their logo colors as the basic color scheme.
Since color plays such a key role in the mood of the event, it's critical to use it wisely. "The idea," says Ederer, "is to create an experience thats not a typical sit-down-and-eat-your-meal conference experience." Instead, she says, "we want to create an environment that takes them to another place for however many hours they're there. When they have that kind of experience," she says, "they're more likely to come back next year."