The Science of Environmental Projection


We’ve talked numerous times on the blog on the how to’s and the why not’s when it comes to Environmental Projection. We’ve talked about the downfalls and the setups. But we’ve never taken the time to really dive into the science on why an environment matters. We thought it would be fitting to include that in the first ever Environmental Projection Week on TripleWide Media!

Psychological Connection

We live in a unique day in age. One where social connections are both desired and feared at the exact same time. It’s the reason Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are so valuable. We as human beings want to connect with one another so desperately we’re willing to share our lives publicly to see if there are others who relate.

Psychology journalist, Bill Ervolino, said in an article: “Shared experiences, good and bad, have always brought people together.” There’s no question that placing people in a common setting will bring them closer. And we’re convinced that Environmental Projection is a great way to do that digitally without much set design work.

An environment creates a unifying experience for those in attendance. This bond forges relationships and places people into a common setting, inviting them into a story.

Experience Economy

I got a chance to speak to a group of industry professionals a few months back and help them understand the power of an experience. One of the charts I used was from Joesph Pine’s “Experience Economy” theory, which I believe is absolutely true.

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Joseph Pine - Environmental Projection - Experience Economy Chart

As Pine explains in his book, the way the world has evolved is by customizing our commodities. The next phase is for us to customize a service, which turns it into an experience. I know this to be true because I buy experiences. Instead of going to the store and buying raw coffee beans, grinding them up and making my own coffee at my house for a fraction of the cost, I’d prefer to drive through Starbucks and get a coffee. There’s something about the sense of that place, the environment, the music that causes me to want to spend 2.88 for a cup of drip coffee.

And when I do decided I’ve spent to much on coffee, I go to the store and purchase more STARBUCKS! It’s because I’m conditioned to appreciate the experience. I’m conditioned to enjoy the brand, because they’ve made coffee an experience, not just a product.

Trust and Design

The final scientific proof of the impact an environment provides, is in the power of trust and design. Design plays the single greatest role in building brand trust. Think about it. Apple just announce the Apple Watch, a slick new wearable that will connect with your iPhone. Here’s the catch. They’re not the first. They’re not the cheapest. And the watch face itself isn’t that much different from other watches. What makes apple different is that they made sure the design of the entire device (including the watch band) is highly detailed and creates an “experience” when you wear it. That hasn’t even factored in the box that it will ship in, the intro video i’m sure it will play and the fun notifications they haven’t told you about and how it will be so personal it will scare you a bit.

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When it comes to design and environmental projection, this is where great content comes into play. I’ll be sharing on this later in the week on how the same two images may evoke a completely different feeling in people. Great design is a tough thing to accomplish, and takes time to create and curate.


We buy experiences.
Design Builds Trust.
And there is a social connection when we’re engaged in an experience with others.


Environmental Projection can create a powerful experience for your gatherings and events. It’s not just about sizzle. It goes deeper than that. It connects people in a world desperate for a connection. There’s no way to steal an experience, or pirate a live event. It’s tangible. It’s always authentic and real.

Lets begin to allow the science of our environments change the art of our environments to influence our environments.

Luke McElroy

Author Luke McElroy

Luke McElroy is the founder of Orange Thread Media, the parent company to TripleWide Media, SALT Conferences and Orange Thread LIVE. He is the author of The Wide Guide: Blueprint for the Multiscreen Movement. Hailed as one of the “top innovators for worship” by Worship Leader Magazine in 2013, Luke’s leadership has helped create powerful worship environments for thousands of Church communities throughout the entire world. He currently lives in Nashville, TN and regularly writes about creativity, leadership and faith at 

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