Starting Your Career in Event Design
Last week I was invited to moderate a panel for The Vendry discussing the various career paths in the event design industry and how to get your start. Myself, along with my esteemed event design colleagues, Michael Bednark, Lacey Hoff, and Yasmin Quiles go through a series of QandA’s as well as three variations of “behind-the-design” of their incredible events. Below is my recap and perspective on the conversation as well as before and after’s of their incredible work.
Good Afternoon Everyone!
And welcome to Choosing a Career in Event Design hosted by the Vendry. My name is Lauren Grech and I will be moderating today’s panel. We’re going to start off with some introductions from my industry colleagues and then I’m going to ask a series of questions where we will have an open panel discussion.
Let’s get things started! Many of our viewers are either students entering the event design field, or professionals looking to learn more about or transition into a career in event design.
What are some of the roles and responsibilities you have as an event designer?
Part of being an event designer requires you to wear multiple hats. You are the production manager, creative director, florist, handy-man, and whatever else you need to be on the event day. We are in charge of the event design process, creative, floor plans, 3D renderings, measurements, weight requirements, we are responsible for load in and load out, assembly, tear down. Here we are outlining the points of entry into the career as event designers — the creative vs. the logistics. Event designers have to pathways into the industry — you can build an event design portfolio through the creative process or through the execution and logistical part of the event. It’s really which one you prefer and what skills you have for both.
What are some of the personality traits and technical skills you need to be successful in event design?
Let’s just say this profession is not for the faint hearted. Long hours, stressful work days, needy clients, high budgets, high stakes, we deal with it all. You have to have a thick skin to be in this industry and you have to love it. There needs to be a fiery, creative passion within you while also being a humble team player. As a creative, you need to be able to use design software such as Sketchup, InDesign, Model Making and have an understanding of interior design, architecture, and culture. If you are more analytical, you may enjoy the operational side to event design. More critical thinking, problem solving and discussion around “how are we going to build this or construct the 60 foot long floral wall?”
How do you get started in event design?
At some point in everyone’s career they were volunteering or working at an apprenticeship. This is the fastest way to learn from an experienced professional and get some hands on event experience. You can also volunteer at a local event or for a virtual event planning company or better yet plan one of your own! Invest in your future, learn about the planning and design software you need now. Build a hypothetical event or event design and create your unique event design portfolio. I would love someone to send this to me as a potential employee, it shows initiative and passion for the career.
What is the future of event design? Are events going virtual?
For the most part, yes, events are going virtual. However event design as a career is not going anywhere. There are people and companies still hosting events, where unique event experiences are needed now more than ever. We’re presented with a unique challenge where we need to be able to take our event designs and move them into a virtual environment. All while still being able to engage our audiences. We’re getting creative by sending influencer boxes to guests, creative gifts and packaging, and offering smaller intimate gatherings. Virtual events are not going anywhere. In fact, when things go back to “normal”, I suspect we will need to incorporate a blend between in person and virtual audiences and have to find a balance between both. What will you think of to engage your audience?
Want to see the whole interview? Have any other questions about event design or how to get your start? Subscribe to my newsletter for my latest updates or visit our youtube series!