NeoCon 2017


As I walk throughout the show, I cannot help smiling as colors zoom across the stages in excitement – after all, it is their first time in the spotlight.

Sapphire and indigo run the show, enticing guests with a cloud of comfort and warmth. But ruby and blush draw in guests with their ingenuity. They shimmer and dazzle with every touch, the soft caress of a hand leaving a mark brighter than the sun. There is a sense of longing amongst the guests. To see the colors perform is one thing, but to have the colors dance in your own space – it is this blissful desire that drives the crowds. But which color to pick? Each stage is so different. How do you know how the colors will behave on a new stage? The show owners know this, and one by one make their way around to guests to let them in on the secrets of each stage – the customization that went into each one, the training of each color to adapt to a new stage. As guests understand the various functions and components of the stages, they return once again to a feeling of awe. The colors are beaming. As guests begin to drift out of the show, the colors quietly settle down on their stages, still smiling. They know the guests will be back to see them again.

NeoCon is the largest trade show in the Midwest, and ranks as one of the largest in the country. 50,000 design professionals walk millions of square feet of exhibition space and show rooms in the Merchandise Mart to learn, network, and celebrate the newest designs. Seminars are held, with presenters such as D4D’s own Jennifer Sobecki. With designers and corporate employees flying in from across the country, it’s a show that places a lot of pressure on the stars of the show: the colors.

There are so many moving parts of NeoCon, it was hard to label what stole the show. But there is only one shared component amongst everything at NeoCon, and that is color. I’ve learned a lot about color at D4D. It creates the tone of an entire space, and can drastically impact the emotions of the inhabitants of that space. There were endless walls of color at NeoCon – who would have thought there could be so many different shades of the seemingly same blue upholstery. Every showroom was bursting with emotion powered by the multitude of shades in the room. Surrounded by so much excitement, it’s almost impossible not to fall in love with design again.

Networking and product recall is important, but it’s also important to remember why we are designers. D4D’s mission vows to transform “nonprofit environments through pro bono design services and in-kind donations — empowering lives through design.” D4D is determined to bring the same atmosphere of excitement at NeoCon to everyone in the community. Design is meant to be shared and colors should shine vibrantly on every stage, no matter how small the stage may seem. Add some color, and it’ll shine like a star.

Erin Socha