If your conference sets and backdrops have been looking a little samey or jaded recently you may need some new inspiration. Of course you want to add cool interest and prime branding opportunities to keep the audience’s attention, without detracting from those on stage. You also want to be original and keep within your event budget.
Most conferences also want to incorporate some on-stage event tech to help with presentations, graphics or further branding or fit in space for a conference panel discussion and if you have a small stage area it can be tricky to fit everything in without seeming too overbearing.
Here are some of the best examples of those who found the perfect balance and created some of the most eye-catching conference sets and backdrops. Ranging from simple and understated to bold statements there is something here to inspire every event planner.
This set-up by MSU Entrepreneurship utilized a full length branded backdrop to frame the stage and then added individual signature tables for the panel furniture. This is an excellent idea to incorporate sponsorship visibility and ensure they receive prominence in the event photographs.
Light Up Cubes
These simple cubes combined with effective green lighting creates a powerful effect for the Hurley global conference from Code Four. Combining this with three striking portrait projections is a great use of event tech and an cool, modern staging idea that looks unique and fits with the venue.
The TEDx Brussels conference this year matched the lighting to the iconic red of their logo, shown here by Laura Kartheuser. It used the lights to accent the beautiful venue features, such as the ceiling, and add to the atmosphere.
Live Social Media Stream
The SXSWedu conference and festival this year made great use of staging and three screens, as you can see here from Terez Sukopova. They swapped between a live social media stream and a live camera feed of the speaker on the two outer screens. Also combining the lighting and background created a consistent theme and helps to keep everything on brand. The tactile staging panels adds a touch of opulance too.
Amazing closing Keynote at #sxswedu on courage, shame, and how the revolution starts in the classroom. “Learning is inherently vulnerable. Don’t ever underestimate the power you have over your students.” #brenebrown
Asymmetrical Wonky Screens
Incorporating traditional screens and then using them asymmetrically to create interesting effects is Protec’s way of showing that you can spruce up an old idea and do something different that works. Each of these screens could run graphics or branding opportunities or could just be used as colour displays to match the digital backdrop.
Creating a painted backdrop using geometric shapes in this way help to make the staging more interesting and stylish than just a screen. As this image from Castle33 shows here at the Dublin Tech Summit it doesn’t detract from the stage but also ensures the backdrop is anything but plain.
Designed by Eventco Ireland.
Make a statement like Niche Event Impressions LLC at MogulCon who use bold letters on stage. This can be useful for large or small events and creates fantastic marketing images and makes the event easy to identify across social media.
In The Round
This conference stage design by Completely Yours Events has a unique set up to appeal to its larger audience and shows that you don’t necessarily need a backdrop to be effective if you are willing to experiment. Having a 360 degree stage in the round allows speakers to engage with the entire audience, while the central circular screens allow for projecting images for those at the back.
This fun idea by Qatar Foundation creates beautiful clean lines and a unique staging space. The sides offer branding opportunities and the geometric design focuses and draws the eye to center stage.
For strange stage layouts these geometric pillars at this Chicago conference can be easily moved to accommodate and the lighting helps to bring them to life. Leah Boston also shows that they can bring larger stages in closer to make them feel more intimate and get rid of dead space.
Make the backdrop more interesting and frame the screen like this 2017 conference shown by Gavrichkov Roman. This not only makes the stage more dynamic and modern and accommodates a large panel discussion.
For Microsoft it was go big or go home at the 2017 Microsoft Ignite conference, as shown here by Michael Kirou. The use of two massive screens helps to accommodate the larger audience while having eye popping graphics and plenty of marketing and branding opportunities.
Some venues may not like, or allow, fixtures on the stage or changes being made, especially if they are older or have historical value which can leave it looking pretty plain. A great alternative shown here by Joe Can Golf is using floor projections to add some depth to the fixed stage, without making any physical alterations.
This fun idea is a great way to project your branding logo or event name onto a backdrop to spruce it up with minimal budget. As seen here by Completely Yours Events at the Flourish Conference in DC it turns a plain curtain backdrop into a marketing or sponsorship opportunity and looks great with the feature furniture.
This conference stage by Reveries Events provides a unique opportunity to easily transition from daytime conference to the evening event seamlessly using the same staging area. The DJ booth add-on is also a quick and easy way to transform the staging to entertainment and free up the floor for dancing with minimal effort and to show off the glitter in the backdrop.
Full Height Backdrop
Make an impact using different sized screens and offering a glimpse of the view through the windows behind like this conference backdrop by Wizard Studios. The middle screen not only acts as a branding opportunity to compliment the side screens but it provides an interesting starry night backdrop too, giving it dual purpose.
Cut Out Combinations
This Qatar-UK business conference provided a bold backdrop combining two cultures, colours and elements while also having a funky “cut out” design along the top. World Conferences shows here that it adds extra dynamic to the stage and gives interest to the eye.
This is an interesting design to incorporate curved seating by AVK at the Football Talks 2017 conference. This backdrop is also an excellent idea when the floor space is limited and makes use of the walls to create its own impressive stage area.
Incorporate the stage entrance into the staging itself like this stunning triangle design at the Dublin Tech Summit. It can create a central, focal point for the stage and the eye as well as the obvious logistics of getting on and off the stage which can also be made more theatrical and build suspense with the audience. Thanks to Niall Houlihan for the image.
Designed by Eventco Ireland.
Create powerful light displays with these cubes and set-up by A.F.B.S Productions that can be lit in the same colour to create a block backdrop or multiple colours to create depth and interesting displays.
This organic stage backdrop by The Little Red Balloon makes use of the small space while also creating a unique and interesting effect using balloons, without encroaching on the stage floor area. This can also be easily adapted to the color theme and could even be turned into a quirky branding or sponsorship idea!
Use your screens to create a slideshow of pictures on the stage like this Investor conference for Prudential who showcased their work examples throughout the conference with captivating images. As you can see here by First Events they can also switch to the live feed of the panel or speakers so that even those at the back have an excellent viewpoint.
These tall, digital screens by Protec provided a unique and highly technical backdrop for this conference in Saudi Arabia. The splatter effect was adaptive and digitally programmed to change to provide an interactive display and created an eye-catching set.
This large widescreen at Yorkshire’s Y17 conference was made more interesting by Web Adventure Park who framed the sides using giant letters to mark the stage outer limits.
This conference by Pygmalios had attendees seated on all sides and accommodated that by having a combination of traditional screens, boards and projections on multiple walls so that no matter where you were sitting you would get an interactive experience.
When it comes to conference staging and backdrops you need to get the right balance between a design that has impact but doesn’t distract or detract from the content. These examples share some insight and inspiration for what you can do, even with a low budget, to make your set more interesting and catch the eye.