Recently, we were delighted to learn that our Seeing Red event had been nominated for one of the International Live Events Association’s Esprit Awards. These esteemed awards showcase the best event production and creation from around the world, and being among their ranks once again is a genuine honor.

Chris Tyre took the lead on this award-nominated experiential project; and he, Jason Sick, Virginia Ranney and our partners all worked together to help make the event truly memorable. To share some insight into what goes into creating an award-nominated event, we sat down with Chris and discussed Seeing Red, visual storytelling, and how events can transcend language and still have a strong, exciting narrative.

This is your first nomination for the Esprit Award, correct? How does it feel to be nominated for such a prestigious award?
Chris: Correct! I’m very excited to be a nominee, and it’s amazing that the nomination is for an international award. Being the creative lead on this project was a fun challenge, but the event was truly a team effort. Everyone’s work made this project come together.

Can you tell me more about the event for which you were nominated?
Chris: The event was called Seeing Red, and it celebrated the grand opening of Red Velvet Events’ new office building. I was nominated for Best Print Marketing/Design Collateral.

Overall, the event needed to not only tell a story but also be an immersive experience of the Red Velvet Events brand, so guests leave “seeing red.” While our goal was to cover a spectrum of what our company was, is, and can be, the overall theme needed to be simplistic and iconic. Seeing Red became the theme because the word “red” literally and figuratively is part of everything we are trying to do: Red Velvet Events (RVE) is REDesigning, REDefining, and REDiscovering who we are as we pivot toward becoming a creative events agency. Those terms became the pillars to the ideation. The color red itself also comes loaded with connotations, and we wanted to take advantage of all of them and make them work for us.

How do you think this event reflects your creative abilities and what RVE can create overall?
Chris: I think this event was a successful taste test for our present clients, potential clients and partners as we move toward being a live experience agency. It was on-brand, intentional, and interactive, and hopefully it left guests wanting to come back for more! The event was only for about 400 guests, but everything we showcased could be scaled.

I think the sky is the limit for Red Velvet Events. The most challenging and critical part of this event, and really any event, is strong ideation at the start and determining what this event is and what it’s not. That part is a real strength of our team. While it may take time getting that foundation down, and it did, the other aspects then became easier because we could channel our creative energy within that framework.

I understand that RVE is really focusing on working on events and productions as intentional, thoughtful designers creating experiential events. I believe you’ve described this process as being “visual storytellers through events.” Can you speak to what that means and looks like to you in your work?
Chris: I’m all about visual storytelling! Every event has a story to tell, or there wouldn’t be a need for an event, right? While some stories are simple and others are complex, visual storytelling is much more than just having an “Instagrammable” moment. Having traveled a lot, I like to imagine entering an event where all the written words are set in a foreign language – if there are strong visuals and flow, I could experience the event and still understand the narrative without reading a word. Each activation is a chapter of the same book sharing new information but still connecting to the storyline. When you think about events in those terms, it really helps inform visual decision making, because you ask questions like, “Is this relevant to our story?” or “Would our story be complete without this?”

For example: In this event, we needed a barrier from the vehicle and pedestrian traffic in front of our property to prevent parking and passersby from entering what was an invite-only event. We considered putting up a temporary fence with branding on the exterior, but I spoke up saying I didn’t think that was as impactful as it could be. It was an exclusive event, and guests needed to have more of a VIP experience upon entering. So rather than a branded fence, I pitched a human wall. That’s more unexpected, memorable, and upscale. Imagine 30 men and women dressed in our brand colors, wearing shades, acting simultaneously as a welcoming committee, a traffic barrier, and security. While we did consider other alternatives, as we always do, that was the visual solution we implemented to set the tone for what they were about to experience at the event.