If you’re in the event industry you have most likely heard the term “gobo”. Maybe you’re new in the event world and saw the word in an email and thought it was a typo, or maybe you’re an event planner who is familiar with gobos and you just want to learn more. No matter the case, we’re here to help. In this blog, we delve into the types, uses, benefits and misconceptions of gobos.
Product Guide for Event Planners: Gobos
There are two types of gobos; metal and glass. The main difference comes down to how they are made. Metal gobos are cut into a thin metal plate. Just like a stencil, metal requires tabbing or bridging. This means a thin line of metal will break up certain letters and designs in order for the design to hold together. Metal gobos are black and white and a more budget-friendly option. For glass gobos, the design is etched with a laser onto a thin glass plate, which allows for extensive detail in the design, as well as the use of color.
Custom Metal Gobo
Custom Glass Gobo
There are plenty of ways to utilize gobos to enhance your event. A common trend is to display names or initials at a wedding on the dance floor, walls or table. However, gobos can also enhance galas, corporate conferences, experiential activations and more. Custom gobos are created for personalization, like company logos, as a way to highlight sponsors or event hosts. In the images below, Not Real Art used these custom gobos to display their logo at The Not Real Art Club party. They were used as an alternative to signage and helped the event stay true to the brand with two different designs.
The kaleidoscope theme of the dinner auction shown below on the left was amplified using gobos. With this unique theme, custom gobos were used to display an array of different colors and utilize movement to add dimension to the room, making it look like the inside of a kaleidoscope!
Although the kaleidoscope gobo was custom made and was a more expensive option, there are budget friendly ways to elevate your event space using a standard gobo. The break up pattern on the right is made up of dots emulating a starry night, allowing attendees to stargaze in a controlled environment for events planned in cities with inconsistent weather condition.
Gobos, whether custom or not, are a great way to set the tone for your event as attendees enter the venue. For example, a gobo runway through your entrance can act as a visually appealing “ welcome mat” and give your event an authentic and unique feel right away!
So why gobos? From the examples shown above, we can see some of the benefits of using gobos such as customization, adding dimension to the space and offering exciting visuals for attendees. Using gobos may also allow you to cut down on paper signage. If you want to have signage around your venue saying “meeting room this way” with an arrow, you may use multiple foam boards. However, by using duplicate gobos around the venue instead, you will eliminate the use of paper and ensure that attendees won’t miss the sign. When thinking about sustainability, LED projectors allow for a more energy efficient approach with your gobo. Another benefit is flexibility. They come in handy in a venue with restrictions on decorations because with a ground support lighting tower there is no need to hang anything on the walls and ceiling.
The biggest misconception is that custom gobos are a quick and budget-friendly process. On the contrary, creating a custom gobo requires receiving the proper graphics/images with enough time before the event to have them created. As with anything that is “custom-made” gobos with specific branding, monograms, etc. can be costly to create. As mentioned above, there are still ways to incorporate gobos into your event without breaking the bank. Custom gobos may be necessary for a more detailed design or a specific company logo, but with standard gobos, you can still give your attendees a unique and unexpected visual.