March 7, 2017

From establishing an optimal learning environment to enhancing an emotion-charged gala, lighting holds the key to your next event’s success. Here’s why. 

Lighting controls and transforms a room. Numerous studies have demonstrated the strong impact lighting has on perceptions, emotions, and even biological responses. Lighting influences how large or small you perceive a space to be, how spicy or sweet food tastes, how willing you are to participate in an activity, how well you remember a presentation, and even your perceived value of information.

We’ve created the following guide to help you understand the most popular types of event lighting and the effects they can help you create. From washing a room with color to creating detailed patterns on walls or floors, read on to learn which lighting styles will best enhance your next event.

Lighting and audio-visual


Spotlights traditionally highlight an area with a bright, tightly focused beam of light. This versatile form of event lighting hangs from an elevated location shining down to emphasize performers, podiums, exhibits, and more. Well-placed spotlights also draw attention to beautiful displays while minimizing less-attractive areas.  Spotlights can be manually dimmed, color-adjusted with gel frames, and fitted with gobos. An operator can also move a follow spotlight in time with a mobile presenter or performer.

Pin Spots

Smaller cousin to the spotlight, pin spots shine tiny beams of light from the ceiling to brighten up centerpieces, cake tables, buffets, floral arrangements, or an exhibit display. Many locations cannot accommodate event lighting hung from the ceiling or walls, so installing pin spots often calls for additional poles set up along walls for hanging. Artfully implemented pin spots don’t shine in guests’ eyes and the fixtures should be completely hidden to create the desired effect.  They may cost a bit more to install, but the dramatic effect pin spots add cannot be matched.

stunning theme for an incentive event


If your event lighting calls for a touch of elegance or drama, consider uplighting, a classic lighting techniques that turns a venue into a magical location. Today’s best uplighting solutions leverage lightweight LEDs to achieve a full spectrum of color. Lights stationed on the floor wash walls in color, adding warmth and improving the look of photos. Uplighting creates uniform ambient light reflecting off the ceiling and redirecting into the entire space. Use uplighting to add color and drama enhancing a theme, flowers, or stage design.

Par cans

This common lighting is found throughout venues everywhere making up the foundation of many event lighting installations. Par cans come in a variety of sizes that all produce a fixed wash of oval-shaped flat light marked by no contrast, shadows, or hard edges.  They are affordable and often used effectively with gel sheets to produce color washes. Common applications for par cans include lighting centerpieces, floral arrangements, and buffets.

parcan lighting

Gobo Lighting

Gobo lighting, is constructed of a wire grid or thin cut metal sheet positioned over a fixture. The grid controls the light emitted to project a pattern onto a surface. Gobos can be purchased off the rack or custom-made with texture, art, company logo, or script. Use Gobo lighting to create controlled patterns of light and shadow on a wall or dance floor.

gobo lighting
Floor plan

Intelligent Event Lighting

Intelligent lighting is an economical option for producing different effects in place of multiple stationary lights. If your event requires strong lighting capable of dramatic shifts in mood on a stage or dance floor, then intelligent lighting may be your solution. Lights are remotely controlled by computer and can be set to move anywhere in different patterns, intensities, and colors. Keep in mind that intelligent lighting depends on the skill of their programmer for optimal effect.

LED Lighting

LED lighting continues to grow in popularity and application. A low power consumer compared to conventional lighting sources, LEDs are both environmentally and budget friendly. Additionally, LEDs are lightweight and put off low heat which make them easier to work with than conventional lighting. Since many of the effects achieved with traditional lighting sources can now be replicated with LEDs they are expected to continue to grow in popularity.

LED lighting

How have you used lighting to transform a space?

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