How to create on-trend events in 2017

Whilst we always design events around the holy trinity of brand, brief and venue, we also know that it’s useful to keep your finger on the pulse of what’s hot and what’s not in the worlds of design, catering and technology. Here’s our quick round up of the most interesting trends for 2017 that could take your event from ow to wow…

DESIGN

Tulips green orange and magenta Rose gold and copper Authentic photo

In terms of colour, Pantone knew exactly what they were doing when they gave us ‘Greenery’ as their colour of the year. Everyone is moving away from neutrals to strong, punchy colours, often in jewel tones of green, blue, red, pink and purple. Designers are also in love with nature – we all understand the health benefits to getting some fresh air and being surrounded by the natural world, and we know that we should get moving at every opportunity, so a bright and zingy green really captures the spirit of 2017.

The trend for metallics will stay strong, with the warmth of copper, bronze and rose gold making them firm favourites. However, matte finishes have overtaken brushed metals and highly polished surfaces.

We’re also living in a world obsessed with selfies, Instagram and camera phones, and so designers are moving towards great quality authentic photography (as opposed to overly posed or generic stock images), and hand-drawn illustrations as an antidote to our photographic overload.

When it comes to graphics, form will be subsidiary to function and we’ll be promoting bold fonts, minimalist design and plenty of white space. However, minimalist doesn’t mean black and white. As we’ve already said, bold colours will be the order of the day, and if you really do have to go monochrome then navy blue is the new black.

FOOD AND DRINK

Romanesco cauliflower Rhubarb Frozen cocktail

Wellness is still a serious issue in the world of catering, and we’re pretty confident that this isn’t a fad. The number of vegetarians and vegans has exploded in the last decade (one source suggested veganism has grown 360% in ten years), and a growing number of people are cutting certain ingredients from their diets for a variety of reasons. At an event for 100 people, we used to expect no more than 5 special dietary requests, but that number is now more commonly 10-15. When selecting event menus, it’s essential that you consider how it can be adapted to cater for gluten free / dairy free / vegan attendees. However, some in the hospitality industry still have some catching up to do. One hotel recently suggested that we serve a veggie burger at a gala dinner, and we’re pretty sick of being offered fruit salads as vegan and GF dessert options.

Maybe struggling chefs should take inspiration from the hottest ingredients of 2017. Cauliflower is going from strength to strength as one of the most versatile vegetables out there, and pickles of all descriptions are also becoming ubiquitous. They are supposedly excellent for gut health, a subject which you’ll undoubtedly hear more about this year. Rhubarb is also a winner, astounding diners in everything from panna cotta to gin, and its vibrant pink colour makes every dish it touches look stunning.

In terms of global inspiration, Portuguese food is tipped to be the next big thing (no complaints from us – we’re huge fans of a custard tart), and grazing is set to take over from three square meals a day as the way ahead for productive meetings and events. Cheese is the next target for hipster connoisseurs, so expect to see more of it on menus around the country and a cheese festival coming to a city near you soon.

In the world of drink, flavoured spirits are getting ever more creative and popular, coffee flavours are very hip, and low alcohol drinks are a growing market (millennials are drinking a lot less booze than previous generations). Frozen cocktails are very trendy, and we’ve heard people talking about tequila being the new gin, although in our minds, nothing can ever take the place of gin…

TECHNOLOGY

This is a huge topic, and is probably best suited to having a blog all to itself. However, in very general terms, there are some interesting developments and opportunities relevant to all event types coming through at the moment.

Live video is booming on social media, and is a fantastic opportunity for event organisers and brands to reach out to their target markets with authentic and direct messages. Remember when we used to write a text-only post on facebook and twitter, and that was enough to get some attention? These days, if it doesn’t have a photo attached, a post is unlikely to get any engagement whatsoever. Well, video is now replacing photos as the best way to achieve engagement, so if you’re not already using it, it’s probably time to start.

In what they call their Distributed Commerce programme, ticketing company Eventbrite are working directly with facebook to reduce the number of clicks needed between seeing an event marketed on social media and buying a ticket, and initial reports suggest that this has seen sales rise, so that’s good news for everyone.  

Big data has been a hot topic for some time, but on an individual scale, the key to harnessing it to improve event attendance and ROI is personalisation – organisers increasingly need to find ways to use technology and the data it creates to produce personalised experiences for each attendee. We’re no longer content to be just a number, we want to be treated like individuals. In practice, this may mean a really simple change like sending travel instructions based on the attendee’s home town – small details matter. 

IN GENERAL

With a general election looming and preparations for Brexit underway, the pound has suffered and consequently we’re seeing many UK clients opting to stay at home rather than taking their events abroad. On the plus side, the exchange rate is making the UK seem like a cost-effective option for those based elsewhere, so we’re expecting to lose our air miles and duty free options in 2017 whilst working at home a lot more.

Zero waste events and a continuing drive towards recycling and reusing equipment will continue to be important, especially for events targeting younger people. Nostalgia will also be a key theme, although for Generation X it’s nostalgia for the 1990s, so get your Britpop playlists at the ready. 

We’ve also seen an increase in the number of people who want their event venue to have meaning for them, so we’re planning more corporate parties in offices and warehouses, and more private parties in homes and gardens rather than impersonal hotels and large venues. Whilst this brings logistical challenges that get the synapses working overtime, it also brings built-in character that we simply have to augment and complement, and this can often be much nicer than trying to create a theme and an atmosphere from scratch.  

Case Study

End of the Pier Party
This was a fun and quirky event forming part of a conference in Brighton. Colourful, memorable, and family-friendly.

Read More

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