Corporate events can help your company accomplish all sorts of goals, from external marketing to internal inspiration. While corporate events have great potential, they can also fall flat in some cases if they feel too stale and unimaginative. When asked what they care about most when planning corporate events, more than 81% of corporate event planners say “innovative ideas.” When you want your event to be innovative, a bland run-of-the-mill venue can work against that goal.
Since most venues start out pretty plain, we’re going to talk about why customizing your venue is so important, and we’ll look at 10 ways you can make your next event venue unique. The result should be a venue and an event that is visually engaging for guests and gives a positive impression of your company.
WHY CUSTOMIZING YOUR VENUE IS ESSENTIAL
Before we look at some ways to make your event venue unique, let’s talk about why that goal is so critical. If you’re a corporate event planner or you’ve ever been involved in planning an event, then you know that choosing a venue is a top priority. It’s difficult to plan other aspects of your event until you’ve found the perfect venue to accommodate your event.
As you look at possible venues, you’ll likely notice that these venues all have a pretty similar aesthetic. Convention centers, hotels, banquet halls and meeting spaces tend to go for simple, neutral design features so they act as a blank canvas for your event. This means you shouldn’t settle for the uninteresting aesthetic the venue provides. Instead, look for ways to make the venue appear more unique and customized to reflect your business’s brand or the theme of your event.
No matter what type of event you’re hosting — whether it’s a trade show, awards dinner, conference, product launch or any other corporate event — you want it to be visually engaging. Engaging attendees is important for any event, and 39% of event professionals believe it is the most crucial goal of all. An event in a boring space will likely feel boring to attendees while an event in an interesting space is likely to interest attendees. You can create a more engaging atmosphere by introducing more design elements into the space.
IDEAS FOR CREATING A UNIQUE EVENT SPACE
Now, let’s look at some ways you can take an ordinary venue and turn it into a unique space that works perfectly for your event and keeps guests interested. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to customizing a venue. Just be sure to check with the staff to make sure you abide by their rules. We have 10 ideas to help you make any venue feel unique and interesting.
- CREATE A WELCOMING ENTRYWAY
When you’re looking for ways to make your venue unique, you’re likely to focus on the main event space, whether that’s a ballroom, gymnasium or any other large space where most of the event will take place. Focusing on the primary event space makes sense, but in most cases, your guests won’t enter directly into this space. Their first impression of the venue and the event will instead come from the entryway. Therefore, you should always give careful attention to designing this space rather than leaving it plain.
Depending on whether you’ve rented an entire building or a part of a building, the entryway to your event may be a lobby, foyer or the space just outside of the room you’re renting. Whatever the case, set up custom signage and have staff on-site to ensure that attendees feel welcomed when they enter, that they know how to register or sign in, and that they form a positive impression of your event right away.
- SWITCH UP THE SEATING
Seating is an important aspect of many events, but it can be easy to gloss over this detail. Most venues will have chairs and tables arranged a certain way by default, but that arrangement may not be the best setup for your event. Brainstorm some other ways you could arrange tables and chairs to make the space flow better or to direct people’s attention the way you want to. You may discover an arrangement that’s more conducive to your event and adds some interest to the venue.
In some cases, you may want to rent some additional furniture to add some variety to the seating arrangement. For example, at a holiday party or awards banquet, consider including some cocktail tables for guests who want to remain standing while they mingle or some smaller high-top tables for guests who would prefer to sit with just a few other people. You can also add sofas and armchairs to create cozy lounge areas. These additions help accommodate your guests’ preferences and can vary the layout of the room for some visual interest.
- ADD INTERESTING LIGHTING FEATURES
Manipulating the lighting in an event space is one of the best ways to create the mood you’re after. Planning a high-energy networking event? Opt for bright lighting. Hosting an elegant charity gala? You may be better off with dim lighting. Especially if you choose to keep the lights low in your venue, you may want to consider adding some interesting lighting fixtures to personalize the space.
For example, you could add some accent lights in your company’s colors at key points along the perimeter of the room or shining on any areas that are meant to be focal points, such as a stage, ice sculpture or product display. Another idea to incorporate unique lighting is to create custom backlit graphics, also called lightboxes. A backlit graphic is undeniably sophisticated with a modern edge. Consider creating a backlit banner or contour cut signage that prominently features your company’s logo.
- CREATE A PHOTO OP
No matter what type of event you’re hosting, a photo op is always a great idea. Incorporating a photo op adds a unique design element to your venue and can help your marketing campaign. The more attendees snap photos and share them online, the more buzz you can create around your event and your company in general.
You can hire UMI to come in and set up a photo booth in your venue, or you can set up a customized backdrop and have a member of staff available to take photos or simply let people take their own photos in front of the backdrop. An ideal option for a photo backdrop is a step-and-repeat banner. These backdrops are common at red carpet events, so your guests will feel like stars when they take their picture in front of it, and your company’s logo can be in every picture!
- ADD CUSTOM DIRECTIONAL SIGNAGE
Directional signage, also called wayfinding signage, serves an important function at any event. Directional signs tell guests where to register, how to find certain areas and when they’ve arrived at the correct rooms. Your venue should have some permanent directional signs for certain features such as exits, elevators and restrooms. However, these signs won’t tell your guests information about your event specifically. Therefore, you’ll need to incorporate some custom directional signs into the venue.
Directional signs for events can also be one of the ways you put your company’s personal touch on the venue. Incorporate your branding through the fonts, colors and images you use on your directional signs, so every sign serves a dual purpose of personalizing the event space, as well as directing attendees where they need to go.
- TRANSFORM THE FLOOR
When you’re looking for ways to put your own touch on a venue, you may not even think to look down at the floor. The floor of your venue is likely a lackluster surface that doesn’t add much of anything to the overall aesthetic of the space. It doesn’t have to stay that way, though. Floor graphics are an excellent way to transform the floor into a more functional and creative part of your venue.
Floor graphics are decals that adhere to the floor. They are protected by a top layer that can stand up to foot traffic at your event. As long as your venue has hard floors, like wood, tile, vinyl or concrete, you can apply floor decals of any size and shape with your custom graphics. You can even apply floor graphics on asphalt surfaces for outdoor events. In addition to using floor decals to personalize the space with your company’s branding, you can also use them to help with wayfinding.
- DRESS UP TABLES WITH CUSTOM COVERS
Many event venues will have standard table linens in a neutral color like black or white that you can use to cover tables at your event. There’s nothing wrong with using these linens if you’re planning a banquet or another type of seated event. However, for important tables, such as head tables or registration tables, you may want to forgo the plain black or white cloth and use a custom table cover instead.
Many event venues will have standard table linens.
Custom table coverings are tablecloths you personalize with your own graphics. They come in a range of colors, so you can choose one that fits with your branding or the color scheme of your event. Custom table covers are an excellent way to enhance the professionalism of your event. These table covers are great to have on hand for future events where your company has a presence, such as a trade show.
- CREATE UNIQUE CENTERPIECES
If you’re planning a formal seated event, such as a banquet, then centerpieces are a must for your tables. When most people think of centerpieces, they think of the usual floral arrangements, balloon bouquets or candles, but there are many other options you can consider if you want to make your event more memorable. The key is to brainstorm centerpiece ideas that capitalize on your company’s unique identity. Let’s consider a few examples to ignite your creativity.
At a holiday party for an automotive manufacturer, the centerpieces could include holiday ornaments of some of their most famous models. For a military event, the centerpieces could be freestanding contour-cut graphics of that branch’s official logo. For a company anniversary celebration, the centerpieces could include old photos from the company’s founding and early days. If you choose to go with more traditional centerpieces, be sure to choose flowers, balloons or candles in colors and designs that reflect your brand.
- SPRUCE UP DEAD SPACES WITH BANNERS
Banners are always a win when you’re looking for ways to make your venue unique. Banners on retractable stands, in particular, are so versatile that you can have some made in different sizes and use them to fill in any dead spaces that are left after the rest of your tables, chairs and décor are all set up. This way, you can ensure every part of your venue is personalized and eye-catching.
When designing these banners, consider the main message you would like to project throughout the event space. If your goal is to reinforce your brand, then consider having some banners feature your company’s logo while others call attention to your core values, mission statement or other aspects of your brand. You can also use banners to welcome guests, give directions or accomplish nearly any messaging goal you have. For added style and visibility, consider opting for backlit banner displays.
- ADD A CHARGING STATION
Event signage doesn’t have to be two-dimensional. You can also incorporate custom graphics through three-dimensional pieces. A great example of this is a charging station, which consists of a fabric graphic stretched around a frame topped with a countertop with powered chargers. Customized charging stations combine form and function to be both a practical help to attendees who need to charge their devices and an impressive display where you can feature your custom message or brand.
A charging station may be unnecessary for an event that takes place in a single evening, but it can be hugely helpful during an event that spans multiple days. You don’t want attendees to leave during an expo or conference to charge their phones or other devices. Instead, you can offer a convenient place for them to charge up right there at the event venue. And while they’re waiting for their device to charge, they can chat with other guests around the charging counter.
CUSTOM EVENT GRAPHICS FROM UMI
If you want your next event to take place in a beautifully unique atmosphere, considering partnering with UMI to create stunning, custom corporate event signage. We can help you create both outdoor and indoor event signage and venue design to work in any space. From the smallest tabletop signage to the largest banners and backdrops, UMI is your source for high-quality custom graphics. To get started, find a studio near you and contact us today.