MARK STEPHEN Experiential Agency | Event Design Trends Part 1 - FALL17/WINTER18 - MARK STEPHEN Experiential Agency
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Event Design Trends Part 1 – FALL17/WINTER18

Event Design Trends Part 1 – FALL17/WINTER18

Posted by markstephen in markblog 13 Sep 2017

Originally presented at the Experiential Marketing Summit May 17

Through our research we discovered an interesting trend that we call the “World of Extremes: Nothing in Middle.” This trend, we believe, is a result of social media and the current political climate. The common thread is that people want to be noticed. They don’t always care if they’re liked or disliked as long as others are taking notice. We broke it down into four categories: inclusive vs. selective, high-tech vs. low-tech, decorative vs. minimalist, and excessive vs. casual.

Inclusive vs. Selective

Marketers are presenting campaigns, ads, and programs which are making a statement. With inclusive campaigns, marketers are casting a broad net, communicating acceptance and openness. This is represented by the current Calvin Klein ads featuring the cast from the Academy Award-winning film Moonlight as well as the fashion brand Diesel campaign, “Make love not war.”

Contrary to inclusive is selective. These types of programs are small and intimate. They include private, invitation-only affairs that appeal to influencers who pride themselves on highly-targeted exclusivity. Social media at these events is calculated and producers are creating environments to grab the interest of the attendees, encouraging them to spread the word to their followers.

High-tech vs. Low-tech

When developing events for marketing purposes, we are always asked to incorporate the latest tech gadgets such as VR, total immersion, or IA. We don’t see this trend ending soon. However, we have experienced a recent backlash against the tech as we experience daily over-exposure through our phones, computers, watches, etc. We foresee environments that have timeless themes, where guests can escape and unplug. We see this through the success of programs such as the Ice Cream Museum and a recent installation in Paris called “The Beach,” where guests jump into pools of small spheres similar to what one finds at a children’s playground.

Decorative vs. Minimalist

We have been following the recent decorative trend primarily in fashion and interiors. Designers are incorporating floral and busy patterns in wallpaper, fabrics and upholstery. In addition, these patterns are being juxtaposed in unexpected ways such as a Leopard print chair against a bold floral wall.

Contrary to the new decorative style, many designers are taking a minimalist approach to get attention. Specific items are featured in a minimalist environment. Often, they are curated, one-of-kind objects set against a muted pallet.

Excessive vs. Casual

As a continuation of the decorative style, designers such as Gucci and Marc Jacobs have created recent collections that feature excessive, bold, and busy patterns. They are mixing purple, pinks, yellows and patterns into cloths that want to be noticed.

At the same time there is a casual, laid-back style, one perceived as comfortable, yet confident. The casual style is not to be confused with inexpensive. Those embracing this trend spend a great deal on the best fabrics for their t-shirts and work clothes. Two examples are Lulu Lemon and Y3 by Adidas.

No matter the trend, we believe the common trend is a brand’s desire to be noticed in a world where social media and quick response or reaction is the norm.


Mark Testa, Founder & Creative Director, Mark Stephen Experiential Agency.

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