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Event Huddle: The Power of Design

Event Huddle is an educational forum for hot topics and debates within the events industry, which is held at 1 Wimpole Street in London. This month’s Event Huddle discussion topic ventured into the creative world of event design and the importance of getting it right.

Hosted by Kevin Jackson, the panel consisted of three creative powerhouses: Robert Dunsmore, former ILEA board member and creative guru, visual stylist Georgie Moran, and Jordan Waid, VP brand experience at FreemanXP.

As a creative communications agency ourselves, who are consistently challenged to be more creative and deliver something ‘different’ for our clients, there were plenty of points mentioned that we experience first-hand. With many great ideas, issues and thought-provoking comments shared, it’s difficult to convey these all in one blog, so, hopefully this will provide a summary and several good points to take back to your desks, creative working spaces, coffee shops and so on. Alternatively, you can watch the full Event Huddle at the bottom of this page. To begin…

Is design important at events?

What do you think of when someone says, “event design”? Staging, creative stands, lighting, posters…?

These may be all true, but event design is much more. It is the whole holistic experience and journey. The design of the email invites to the food being served, the background music to the free handouts. It all matters.

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It’s also important to remember every event and every element that incorporates an event has been done before (the panel thinks). To make an event memorable for the audience there needs to be something that distinguishes it from the rest, and this is where design often plays a major role.

Good event design has the power to evoke and influence audience moods.

How does one become creative?

Tough question. Aren’t we all creative? Yes, of course. But it’s how we power and channel our creativity. ‘Creativity is like a muscle, the more exercise you do, the more it grows.’

Georgie – who has designed many fantastic sets and events – advised to enhance your creativity and gain new ideas, there are an array of tools to spark the imagination: YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest. These are all visual tools which can provide the best designs – even at a budget. Bringing us nicely onto our next section…

Event design on a budget

With an agency-led panel, the conversation mainly focused around how to excel with design when clients have a lower budget. Robert commented that there will always be a way to do or achieve a client brief, providing a rather lovely example –

‘If a client has asked for an interactive Twitter wall but the budget doesn’t allow for it, get a large blackboard and employ artists to scribe every tweet throughout the day.’

And with Twitter walls becoming the norm, that idea may be the piece that makes the audience remember.

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Before agencies look at cheaper alternatives, don’t be afraid to ask the client why? As creatives ourselves, we shouldn’t be afraid to question the clients, as at the end of the day, we all want to achieve the same results. Which is exactly what drp is all about…

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"Create dangerously, doing things differently is the only way greatness has ever been achieved"

How does the audience know what they want from an event?

“If I listened to my customer, they would’ve asked for a faster horse” – Henry Ford

I, personally, couldn’t agree more with this statement. As creatives, marketers and event managers, it’s our job to understand the audience and show them what they want. Research plays a vital role delivering successful event designs.

If you’re delivering an event for a premium brand with a premium audience, then it’s likely you’d steer towards a black/grey colour scheme as 54% of luxury brands use black. If your audience are eco-friendly with an interest in the environment, use a collection of trees to guide your audience to each area. It’s all about understanding your target demographic and designing every element to immerse them and give them the experience they want.

To summarise, I loved the point made by Robert which can be used for ourselves, our own company and clients –

“Create dangerously, doing things differently is the only way greatness has ever been achieved.”

Many fantastic points were made but, in an age where events are in abundance, being different will be far more effective. It is all about finding the distinguishing factor of success and using the power of design to ensure audiences walk away satisfied.

Watch the full Event Huddle here..

By David Lewis - Marketing & Social Media Executive