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Is there light at the end of the tunnel?

Beyond the practical requirements of event lighting – can you see the presenters on stage and are brand colours being adhered to where possible, does it really make any difference how you light your event and what colours you might use?

Let’s forget the presenters for a second (they’re always the ones who demand the lights are turned down regardless of how bright you have them) and focus on arguably the most important group at the event, the audience. After all, it’s those people who you want to connect with and ensure they go away fully understanding the messages and event themes to take back to their daily working lives. So, can lighting make any difference to them?

A while ago, a team in the US undertook some office based research. They gave all employees a pencil – identical in every way except some pencils had green paint on the outside and some had yellow – the pencils themselves were exactly the same. A week later everyone was asked which pencils worked better and the majority said the yellow pencils although there was no reason for that conclusion. The assumption was that yellow pencils were intrinsically more “pencilly” – after all, the first pencils were produced with yellow outers so the colour was likely to be triggering ideas and connections that the user didn’t knowingly understand.

Peoples associations with colour are regularly manipulated with marketing to elicit a certain response – up to 90% of interactions between a product and a potential customer are determined by the product’s colour.

So, can you alter an audience’s mood simply by lighting the environment in a certain colour? Maybe not totally, but you could potentially create an environment for learning or relaxation or engagement by triggering the right colour response. But how do you find the colour that inspires the emotion you’re looking for?


The colour of your company’s logo didn’t just happen by chance and the magic behind that choice may have been lost in the annals of time or was never knowingly noted at it’s creation but certain colours are known to illicit particular emotional responses.

Blue is the colour of trust and security and is popular amongst many Banks and Insurance companies – it is calming serene and relaxing.

Orange is also the colour of trust but also happiness and youth. (Please note our logo colour!)

Black and gold are the colours of luxury and elegance and are a traditional combination giving a sense of stability and calm.

Purple conveys a sense of calm and quiet but also luxury and indulgence hence the Cadbury’s purple wrapper.

Red raises energy levels and can create an environment of excitement and anticipation.


I doubt any of this comes as a great surprise, after all we’ve all decorated our own homes and have deliberated ad nauseum about which colour to choose. However, it’s interesting to consider whether how we light our events is having a positive or negative effect on our audience.

Is there the scope to have zones lit in different colours at your next event to create areas for creativity, discussion, engagement or debate? Could a little colour magic actually be the answer to some of your communications? Or are we better off being left in the dark?

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