I have been writing, presenting, and inspiring trends for the last 35 years. It is an area of my business that I am passionate about. Over the last two years, the types of trends that have been spread across zoom, digital, Linkedln, Tik Tok, Facebook, Instagram, and the media all deal with the technical side of trends leaving behind the creative design trends that inspire event profs to push the boundaries of ordinary. Creative content is so desperately needed that I decided to bring back the style trends for 2022 to motivate the event industry to think outside the box and recognize that what we present to clients must be of value purpose and touch on people’s emotions. So here we go.
People are being called to a higher consciousness in 2022. Humans are craving the comfort of familiar times. However, themes of the past are not equal. Event professionals are looking for ways to engage their clients in a different world. You are now under the microscope because your clients have choices like never before. How do event professionals reinvent themselves during these times?
With mentions of ‘nostalgia,’ people are craving the comfort of familiar times. Carefully consider what nostalgic reference will resonate most with your audience to tap into this trend. A rising class of Geninfluencers desires authenticity and transparency to spread ideas rather than products. We will see many companies adopt younger people to help support the technical requirements that virtual and hybrid environments demand. Example: Olivia Rodrigo is invited to the Whitehouse to encourage people to get vaccinated.
1. Biophilic Design – when nature is built into your event design
The biophilic design uses elements of nature to provide respite and joy to people in man-made spaces. You’ve seen plants. Now meet LIVING rooms. Millennials are turning to plant-first design solutions this year to increase their connection to nature and enhance their wellbeing. Staircase gardens, biophilic interiors, and floral ceilings are all trending up. And don’t leave the office out!
Biophilic design is all about connecting to nature within our built environment. Humans are creatures of habit, and with so many lockdowns, the outside has become as important as the inside. When circumstances beyond our control force us, we need our spaces to provide privacy or wall separations within our homes or office spaces. Searches for vertical plant walls, living rooms, and biophilic walls are all on the rise.
2. Checkered Everything – check please
Checkers are having their moment in all areas of people’s lives-from clothing from rugs to funky flooring. As men upgrade their wardrobes, they’ll embrace the tiled pattern, too. Millennials and Boomers, in particular, are driving this checkered trend.
The checkerboard revival comes at a time when we have collectively experienced a great transcendence in the face of life-altering changes. For this generation, the checkerboard is a universal motif for fun that offers a touch of softness in an otherwise dull and rigid world.
3. Curve Appeal – arcs are all around us and curve the word.
Event and hospitality professionals will want to invest in this shape and silhouette as they are both sensuous and inviting.
Did you know that in architecture, the circle is the strongest shape? Straight lines are a given; think walls, windows, and table legs. This circular design lends itself to speaking engagements, panel discussions, and audience participation. Millennials, Boomers, and Gen X are driving searches behind this well-rounded trend.
Germany will be one of the markets driving the Curve appeal trend in 2022. In this market, different design eras will come together: searches for the glass ball lamp-inspired by mid-century modern pieces from the 60s-will rise, along with searches for a bent sofa, which saw adoption across the 80s. When a room has straight and curvy elements, the result is a complete aesthetic.
4. Lake It, Till You Make It – trade-in beachfront getaways for an inland swim
Lakes will have their moment in the sun. In 2022, people will trade in their beachfront getaways for inland swims. Gen X and Boomers are driving this freshwater trend that will only grow in the year ahead. Lakeside resorts, pontoon boats, kayaking, paddle boarding, and canoeing will all be making a splash. There are so many scenic lakes, rivers, and ponds where you can take a group out for a hike and swim and discover nature like never before.
Invite your team to a ‘Lake bagging’ experience. As the country gets back to travel, these regional ideas are top of mind for travel profs and DMCs.
5. Flexercise – for the love of movement
Well, good news! 2022 is going to be defined by a range of new wellness trends set to change the game, from hula hoops to pickleball and VR. Low impact is the new high intensity! This year, people will fall in love with more mellow ways to move their bodies, which is being dubbed Flexercise.
Hula-Hoop is the top search trend on google. The hottest instructor in town can be found @theideahunter.Pickleball is a hybrid of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong and can be played indoors or outdoors, as singles or as doubles. VR will now make it to the mainstream with Gamification fitness, and this will be popular for virtual, hybrid, and live events.
Don’t forget to check out the Flexercise bar, another trend hitting the workout.
6. Hybrid Is The Word – this is not scrabble but reality
Augmented reality has not shown more signs of growth than during the pandemic. Events are going hybrid; social commerce is booming, and metaverse technology will soon be a reality. Brands must forgo biases toward less-familiar formats and begin embracing the hybrid approach across programming to avoid being left out.
7. Celestial Celebrations – parties that are out of this world
Here comes the sun. And the moon. And the stars. Millennials will throw some totally cosmic parties this year. If I had to characterize the year 2022 astronomically, I would call it The Year of Eclipses and Planets. There is something exciting is happening in the sky almost every night of the year if you know when and where to look Space stations, NASA, and celebrity-led experiences for the adventurers who can’t live until they do it all.
Creating experiences for your corporate groups could be taking your group to the beach, renting telescopes and binoculars, and enjoying the comradery of being connected to a group of like-minded guests. Caterers will love creating foods that can be cut into stars and moons-popcorn in celestial colours, drinks that use blue Caraco. Bring a DJ who plays songs like ＂Total Eclipse of the sun or other celestial offerings from the ’60s and ’70s and rock out to a cosmic vibe.
8. Night Moves – (AKA) after-hours exploration
The most memorable adventures will happen after sundown in 2022. People will turn to the quiet of the after-hours to invest in their travel bucket lists and nature excursions. Gen Z is driving this trend-good thing our phones take better night photos than ever. Into the dark, you go.
Watch out for the word “bioluminescence aesthetic, which means it’s time to grab your camera and start seeing your fave destinations at nighttime. Evening adventures will give a different and magical perspective, whether it’s exploring the beach after sunset or taking a late-night road trip.
9. Come On, Get Happy – put a smile on your face
People in 2022 will push through the negative and embrace a positive outlook on life. New optimists range from Gen Z to Boomers, but despite their broad demographic, they have many unifiers – the largest being a vivacious appetite to embrace joy.
Watch out for a new buzzword: Radical Optimism. Event and Meeting professionals will pioneer a new frontier to uplifting, pleasing products, services, and experiences that offer a reprieve from the fatigue of ongoing uncertainty.
10. Pursuit of Purpose – people want control of their destiny.
Prompted by cultural shifts and changes, people seek to reevaluate their lifestyles to behave with more intention. Indulging in an actionable idea that brings results.
To tap into this shift towards purposeful behaviours, brands, businesses, and organizations should inspire and motivate people to take back control of their lives. Take cues from a new campaign from Visit Dubai, A brand new you, that encourages travellers to rediscover themselves by exploring the city’s biggest attractions.
11. Emotional Escape Room – safe spaces for feel good
Emotions are so hot right now. If you need a place to go to feel all the feels, there’s a room for that. The wellness trend has been growing rapidly over the past two years. From spa-like spaces to the wonderful world of colour psychology. The impact has never felt so current. People will plan their great （indoor) escapes and designate rooms in their homes to decompress, vibe and rage. This is also leading the way at conferences and meetings. All age groups are driving searches for music-themed rooms, crystal rooms, and even rage rooms.
Emotional escape rooms very much do what they say – they’re rooms to escape certain emotions. This can come in various forms, whether to unload stress in a meditation space or pummel out some anger in a rage room.
Think interior design meets wellness.
Where would you set up your emotional escape room, and what would be included in it?
12. The Last Resort -all in for all-inclusive travel
Sitting back is the new adventure map. In 2022, people want to get away-to beautiful escapes where they won’t have to lift a finger. Millennials, Gen X and Boomers are turning to resorts and all-inclusive packages for easy getaways. Another daiquiri, please.
Ask your travel partners where you can find resorts to unplug. Forget the jammed-packed itineraries and head for the properties with an ocean view.
13. Altbashes – RSVP to a new reason to celebrate parties for life’s undercelebrated moments
What’s an Altbash? It deserves to be celebrated, even if it isn’t traditionally causing for a party. Think: you broke up with your job, you found your life’s passion, you have adopted a pet, or you finally splurged on a badly needed vacation. These are celebrations of new chapters in life and important milestones that aren’t covered by the basic celebrations we grew up having, but it’s time they got their due.
There are many ways to bring this trend to life, so keep your eyes on bright colours, whimsical ideas, and tablescapes that draw attention. When it comes to corporate celebrations, don’t do ordinary. Put your client event in a league of its own.
14. Cuppa Time – afternoon tea is the new happy hour.
In 2022, the bubble won’t burst, as people will choose teas made with enhancements over drinks after work.
Afternoon tea is more than a meal-it’s a moment, an aesthetic, a pose. Searches for tea party aesthetic and “drinking tea pose are huge on google searches. Already a cultural phenomenon across Asia, bubble tea has taken hold in North America, especially among Gen Z. This has led to the rapid expansion of brands from Asia. Have you tried a bubble milk shot? What are you waiting for?
15. Hellenistic – Greece is the Word
Nostalgia will go back to its roots in 2022. This year, people will take inspiration from Ancient Greece and invest in travelling there, while inspiration will come from everything Corinthian in REVIVAL décor to Aphrodite-inspired. One of the youngest generations-Gen Z-is embracing this ancient Greece is the word trend more than anybody.
In the end, I firmly believe that curiosity and creativity will rule the event industry in 2022
Radical optimism is the new buzzword and part of a greater movement that event profs are adopting. Great creative directors help facilitate your ideas and add to them. Try some new blood on your team or engage graduates from colleges and universities with new ideas. You do not have the time to research as I do, but l can tell you that there is an abundance of talent waiting to sink their teeth into your event if you give them an opportunity.
Heart-Centric Entrepreneur, Leader, Mentor, Changemaker, Visionary, Creative & Passionate. Janice Cardinale is President of Cardinale Creative, a content writer for MPI Global & United Colours of Design and the Associate Editor at Canadian Special Events Magazine. She is a sought-after public speaker on trends in the event industry. She has pioneered two businesses, Only Accessories & The Idea Hunter, both of which were sold successfully and has had an incredible 35 years in fashion, design and events.