Industry Content & Media

Seeing Red (and Blue and Green) at Education Conference

Author: Cristi Kempf       

PCMA used color creatively in its event studios. What was the thinking behind all the hues?

Red is the color of love. But it’s also the color that, if used at an event, will reportedly enhance attendees’ vigilance and memory. Green? That will help them relax and improve their vision. Orange? That will stimulate their appetite. Blue is said to enhance creativity and relaxation, while yellow wakes up the brain and purple encourages introspection.

Those color findings, part of PSAV’s Mindful Event Design white paper, are sensory tools organizers can use to increase engagement by sparking even more brain activity at events.

PCMA put the findings into action this week at the Education Conference in Cleveland, where five education studios each featured unique hues: Ascent (diversity and inclusion), green; Medical & Wellness, blue; Experience Design, purple and orange; Engagement, yellow; Challenge (business), red. Entry points to each studio were framed in the corresponding color, which punctuated the interior space.

The colors tied in to this year’s Education Conference theme, Illuminating the Prism of Business Events, said Alison Milgram, CMP, DES, PCMA’s director of events. “You see things differently through a prism. And that’s what the studio color scheme was about: How you can see things differently.”

The color strategy was detailed in PSAV’s Mindful Event Design white paper, subtitled “The Psychology of Physical Meeting Environments,” which was first published in 2014 by Andrea E. Sullivan, founder of BrainStrength Systems, and Janet Sperstad, CMP, director of the Meeting and Event Management Program at Madison College.

“Almost everyone uses color at events,” Sperstad said recently. But this report was “about shifting perspectives on the tools that we use.”

“For me,” she added, “it was about how we can do what we do better and on a deeper level. We understand in a deeper way now how to accentuate, accelerate, and even inhibit behaviors of attendees.”

Marina Rockey, CMP, of California-based Vituity, attended Paulette Brown’s session on implicit bias yesterday in the Ascent Studio, and said she found the green lighting there had a calming effect on her. She’d noticed the colors from the start of events on Monday.

PSAV Vice President of Industry Relations Tim Quigley said the company published the white paper as a way to help event strategists.

The white paper covers a range of suggestions for brain-friendly events, including creating open space and optimizing lighting. “It’s all about,” Quigley said, “how to create the greatest impact.”

Cristi Kempf is Convene’s executive editor.

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