Harman Patil (Editor)


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Theming refers to "the use of an overarching theme...to create a holistic and integrated spatial organization of a consumer venue." It is also the subject of discourse, discussion, meditation and composition. In an overall sense, theming can be categorized under either experience; what an individual sees and feels in their current ‘themed environment’ or décor; which is utilized to make an individual remember something through the portrayal of the theme, whether it be generic or specific.


The concept's creation has been attributed to Mark Gottdiener work, first published in 2000 (in particular his book New forms of consumption: Consumers, culture and commodification), and further developed in 2001 (The Theming of America: dreams, media fantasies, and themed environments).

The most common purpose of theming is to make an event memorable, though theming can also be a means to create a niche. It can be thought of as a method to narrow down a broad event or aspect. A holiday can be, in a sense, generalized as a theme. Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day, Independence Day, are all celebrated themes. In this case, the themes mentioned would be derived from history. However, themes are not limited to just that; many themes come from different cultures and fantasy. A prime example of a fantasy theme would be from the famously known books series called Harry Potter by author J.K. Rowling. By using major aspects of the book in order to create a themed party, one is using a fantasy theme since the books are works of fiction. Nevertheless, theming is not limited solely as a means of characterizing.

Theming can vary in intensity from gatherings such as birthday parties, to interior design, to entire architecture based on a particular theme, with theme parks like Disneyland being an example of a common large-scale application of theming. Theming is prevalent in certain casinos, museums, airports and resorts. More often than not, restaurants prevail in this area. An example of a 'themed restaurant' would be Magic Restroom Cafe in Los Angeles, California. Customers of this restaurant are served their meals in miniature toilet bowls and are seated on toilet seats in order to obtain the full dining experience. The use of theming is used extensively through the events industry and comprises modules at many universities including the UK Centre for Events Management at Leeds Metropolitan University. Theming is usually used to portray a notable experience by taking aspects of the past and integrating them into original ideas and/or extravagant events. It can also be seen as a creative medium used to attract attention or embellish an otherwise ‘plain’ event.

Examples of themed environments

  • Disneyland
  • Islands of Adventure (Universal Orlando Resort)
  • Irish Pubs
  • Rainforest Cafe
  • Dollywood
  • Las Vegas Strip
  • Buca di Beppo
  • Issues with Theming

    The concept of theming changes in the mediasphere. Often times, theming is used for propaganda purposes wherein marketers broadcast a ‘themed idea’ to emphasize the value of their product and ultimately to make their sale. An example of that would be the boxing ring themed advertisement for the Audi RS6 Avant car. In order to portray that power can sometimes come from an unexpected place, the commercial shows the referee of a boxing match as the one who has the definitive power despite the fact that the two boxers in the ring are much more built than the referee. Consumers are more inclined to purchase what they can relate to, and by using themes—marketers achieve just that. Kim Einhorm, director of Theme Traders, points out “theming becomes an invisible form of branding.” As of late, theming is widely known to bring people who share similar views together. However, a consequence of theming is that it can also be used to exploit the interests of individuals and use those interests for self-gain.


    Theming Wikipedia

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