Everyone wants that memorable experience. It doesn’t matter if you have an audience of 1000 or 20, you want them to feel immersed the instant they walk into a venue. You want that “WOW” factor. We often run into budget restraints but that does not deter the fact that we won’t be able to produce an impactful and meaningful event. I see it as a challenge, especially when it comes to stage design!  

Some of my personal favorites didn’t have the largest budget or massive audience. It’s the events that are more intimate and focused truly on patient stories or a feeling the event gave to the audience. Many ideas and renders pitched never make it to fruition, but I keep them all in my back pocket for that one perfect event.  

For example, each year we work closely with the team at ViiV. One of the first things that comes to mind is how we can top last year’s event! Their budget usually falls into a medium tier package, and it can be challenging. Especially if we pitch custom pieces. We’re given keywords, colors, and graphics that speak to them. I really wanted to give them a Wow Factor for 2022 as this was their first year back in live events. I research trends often in our industry and in the interior design trends. You wouldn’t think when planning for events you’d reach for trends for home decorating, but it has given me so many inspirational ideas.  

Last year the trend was all about neon and organic textures. Woods, greenery, and pop 80’s culture. Basically, one extreme to another. How could I combine these two trends and designs into a cohesive stage design? AND let’s not forget, will it be in budget?  

In the pitch meeting, we presented two distinct looks. One focused on the combination of the organic/neon vibe and the other was strictly neon with a custom LED piping surrounding the screens. Both were risky choices, especially in the pharmaceutical world, this is not a Beyonce concert after all. I was confident these trendy yet risky ideas met the Wow Factor our client craved. It was one of my back pocket ideas stored away and we were ready to pitch it for THIS perfect event. I was finally able to build my visions in 3D and showcase these stage designs. 

When these stage designs are planned out it is months or even a year in advance. When we pitched these 2 looks, they were fresh. Today, you see the greenery hedge wall and neon sign combo everywhere. They are used for that perfect selfie or for wedding backdrop. Our team at CMI and I continue to fill our innovation library daily for stage design inspiration, audience experiences, technology, and more.  

Alright, let’s get back to what our client chose!  

They decided to go with the full neon look, they loved the concept! Now, how do we build this neon piping surrounding the screen? The design is there, every element in the scene is built to spec in 3D. At this point, it is out of my hands and I’m onto the next stage design. Project management works their magic with the vendors (that’s how I see it) and they’ll have a clear direction on how to build this out and keep it in budget. There was trial and error and it even got to the point, gasp! This may not happen, and we would have to fake it within our graphics on screen. Our team worked tirelessly to achieve the look we all envisioned, and it came out stunningly!  

The Wow Factor, achievement unlocked! I apologize, my gaming background comes out occasionally. This was one event I wished I could have seen in person. The colors, the lighting, the AMAZING theme graphics, and that LED neon piping surrounding the screen looked just like the render! It is a proud moment seeing photos of the all the general sessions and they are spot on with the renders. Our team simply does an incredible job bringing our stages to life and they make it look so effortless.  

As an expert in this area, I hope you take these important areas into account when planning your next event. If you are seeking support in this stage of your planning process, contact us at

Suzanne Tudman

3D Event Designer

Suzanne is responsible for creating photorealistic stage renders for Centrifuge Media’s clients, while also providing immersive environments for VR and virtual sets for online events. She works closely with the account, project, and creative teams to brainstorm unique ideas for your event with custom mood boards. Suzanne builds out the exact ballroom in 3D incorporating stage design elements, drapes, furniture, lighting, and anything you would see to make your event space come alive!