Excellence through Design and Décor

The keynote speaker at this year’s Event Coordinators’ Workshop, Mr. Jim Hooker, expanded on his keynote address with a breakout session titled “Excellence Through Design and Décor.”
When creating an event, he advised, keep both the design (the overall purpose or theme of the room) and décor (the actual pieces) in mind at all times so they are in line with each other.
Here’s a sampling of the great tips he provided to help everyone at Georgia Tech Rise to the Next Level.”

Table Set-up

  • By printing names on both sides of place cards, you can assist guests with finding their seat as well as help everyone else at the table know their name.
  • Assigning a seat to all attendees is labor intensive, but it is best way to ensure there are no empty seats and that you have an institute representative at each table.
  • You can mix and match tables, chairs or even linens at an event, but it should still have a pattern to it.
  • The more you line everything up, the cleaner a room will look and feel. Check to ensure all of the silverware is set up correctly, the chairs are all the same distance from the table, and any additional materials (notepads, menu cards, etc.) appear in the same spot.

Focus Points

  • Placing one large visual centerpiece on your buffet helps provide a focus and can add dimension.
  • A carpet on stage under the podium provides another focus point and can serve to add a splash of color on a monotone background.
  • Centerpieces on dining tables should be a low focus point so they do not block the view of the stage for other guests. Remember, the speaker delivering the message of your event is the most important focus point of all!


  • Lighting can make a dramatic impact on an event space and transform it from ordinary to extraordinary.
  • Use lighting as your signage for an event to provide something unexpected to your guests. A gobo can be custom made for your event and reused every time.
  • With LEDs, your event lighting can change throughout the evening to signal a change in activity to your guests and provide a transforming event space.