Event designers coordinate all the elements that go into giving an event a certain tone, feel, and atmosphere. It requires creativity, artistic skills, design skills, and even experience using software for design and modeling.
Getting the right education is so important for getting into the event design industry. Also important is staying up to date on what is trending in designing and hosting events like weddings, professional conferences, government events, entertainment conventions, marketing events, and more. If you love design and you love events and parties, keeping current with event design trends is one of the best aspects of this kind of career.
Why Choose a Career in Event Design
If you have ever thrown a party, and you loved doing it, you may already know that this is what you want to do this for a living. Event design is hard work, and there is a lot more that goes into it than a family get together, but it can be a fun career. You get to be at the center of some of the city’s biggest events and parties, planning and designing them. The ability to be creative in their work is a big draw for most people who become event designers.
There are other good and practical reasons to choose this career. Event and convention design is a growing industry. Skilled designers are needed more than ever. Over the next few years, there are expected to be nearly 10,000 more event design positions. This career is also lucrative; with the highest earners in the field making more than $83,000 per year. Once you have an education in event design, you can choose to work for a design company or strike out on your own. Either way, you will need to stay current on the latest design trends and more importantly, define a unique creative perspective that makes you stand out.
Event Design Trends – What’s Hot Going into 2018
The event industry is a big one, serving professional organizations, academics, comic book and science fiction enthusiasts, couples getting married, brand marketing, and so many other groups and individuals that run the gauntlet from serious to fun. There are some event design trends that can be seen across these different types of gatherings, while others are more specific. As an aspiring event designer, you should be aware of all of them:
- Lounge style. Hosting events in small, cozy settings that feel relaxed is a growing trend in the event industry. Although it can work for a variety of events, the lounge-style event is embraced in particular for wedding receptions. Instead of using the standard large hall draped in flowers and centerpieces, couples are opting for modern rooms and intimate settings.
- Organic design. People are more aware of environmental issues and the human impact on the planet than ever before, and that awareness is translating into event design trends. People want an organic and earthy feel, as well as sustainable materials. Using natural elements in the design of an event is a big trend, as are earthy colors, soft materials, and warmth.
- Convergence. Events were once very simple affairs with one purpose or focus, but now, the trend is in creating events that bring together different industries to converge on one overarching idea. The TED conferences are great examples of this trend. The overall idea is to talk about ideas, but the conferences bring together professionals and leaders in education, technology, entertainment, and other varied industries. Convergence makes it a little more challenging for event designers due to the broader audience, but is an ongoing trend.
- Incorporating design into every element. While once chairs at a wedding reception would just have a white slipcover thrown over them, now event design trends dictate that every last piece of a space can and should contribute to the overall look and ambiance of an event. That means finding specific chairs to match the mood, using plates and silverware to decorate tables, and even going as far as making sure the food has its own aesthetic appeal.
- Integrating technology. Here is an event design trend that is not expected to slow down or change any time soon. Groups holding events are asking designers to bring as much technology to the party as possible. They want virtual reality for their guests, total immersion experiences, robots delivering cocktails, lighting that changes the color scheme of an entire room, charging stations for cell phones, and other high-tech experiences that will enhance an event.
- Sourcing local food. Food is a big part of designing an event. If it becomes an afterthought, it can ruin the entire experience for attendees. Now more than ever, people are savvy about food. They want more than just good food; they want it to be responsibly sourced. Big trends in feeding event attendees are using organic foods and sourcing ingredients from local farms.
- Eclectic design. A big event design trend is to make a space look eclectic, non-uniform. No one wants a boring space with one theme or color pairing. Now, event hosts want to see a range and a mixture of decorations and styles, such as merging industrial with vintage elements or modern sleek design with natural elements.
- Including leisure and activities. It is more common now than ever to have an event incorporate some kind of fun or relaxing activity, like a yoga session or a meditation break. This is especially true at professional or academic conferences where organizers want to give attendees a chance to unwind and take a break.
- Ditching the flowers. Flowers and arrangements have long been an integral part of events, and not just at weddings. Floral arrangements decorate everything from the tables at an academic conference to the headpiece of a bride, but this is changing. A new trend is to eliminate flowers and to use less traditional elements to decorate a space: greenery, wood, glass, and items very specific to an industry, like old books for a library conference.
- Making meetings festive. Festivals are huge right now in the event industry, and they are not limited to entertainment or music events. Leading the way in this trend are conferences such as SXSW, the South by Southwest event held in Austin each year and the Airbnb Open, a conference that brings together hosts from all over the world to discuss the industry in a festival setting, complete with entertainment and parties.
- Events are for branding. Branding is a marketing term, but creating a brand for a product or service is no longer limited to marketing teams. Now, even event designers are getting in on the action and creating events that give attendees an entire experience revolving around a brand. It’s tricky to strike the perfect balance between making sure guests enjoy an event without a big sales pitch for a brand, but it is something that all event designers need to learn to do. It’s an event design trend that is not going away anytime soon.
- Bringing the outdoors inside. When Kate Middleton decorated Westminster Abbey with large trees, a trend was begun that has not slowed down. People love to see outdoor elements inside, especially in areas that have less than favorable or unpredictable weather. While hosting an outdoor event in southern California is low-risk, fall events held outside in Minnesota often don’t work. So, instead, designers are bringing trees and other outdoor elements into the event to transform the indoor space.
You Know the Event Design Trends, Now What?
So you have a passion for design and you love a good party. Does that mean you have what it takes to be an event designer? Maybe, but you also need an education. Event design may be fun and creative but it is also hard work and requires some specific skills. These include understanding marketing and branding, color theory, design software, and the logistics and business of hosting an event. You also need to be able to work with clients, listen to and interpret their ideas, and bring together many, many different elements and vendors into one, coherent event.
Keeping up with the trends is the fun part, but now you need to get down to work. You won’t need a four-year degree to become an event designer, but you do need an education, formal training, and mentorship, and you can get all of that by choosing the right school and completing a certificate or diploma program in event design. Check out the event design programs that are offered in your area and get started on your exciting new career.