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Have you ever found yourself at a wedding or corporate event where you were awed by the detail put into the decor? There is a very good chance an event designer was behind it all. Event designers have an eye for creatively using space. They are often employed by catering companies, wedding designers, event entertainment companies, and firms that handle corporate events. This role is perfect for people who prefer a fast-paced work environment. While event designers are based out of an office, they spend a lot of time outside the office meeting with clients and vendors. They also work on-site to prepare the aesthetics of client events.
Event designers who follow the entrepreneurial path are paid on a project-by-project basis, while those who work full-time for an employer earn a salary. Event designers work mostly free of supervision. They collaborate with the event planner to make sure all the design elements of an event are executed according to plan.
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Event Designer Duties and Responsibilities
Creating the aesthetics and vibe of an event is no simple feat. Event designers perform several tasks to make this happen. We analyzed many event designer job descriptions to put together a list of the most common tasks involved with this position:
Identify Client Design Goals
Event designers begin by interviewing clients to determine their design goals. Some clients are very specific in what they want, while others leave all the decisions up to the event designer.
Create Virtual Design Plans
Virtual event design software is used by event designers to conceptualize client desires. They create design plans and make tweaks until the client is satisfied.
Meet with Vendors
Event designers choose vendors to provide an event's decor. This includes everything from stationery for invitations to fabrics for curtains and tablecloths, centerpieces for tables, special effects, and lighting equipment.
Collaborate with Event Planners
Event designers and event planners work together closely. Event planners allocate the budget and labor event designers need to make their design plan a reality.
Ensure Completion of Design Elements by Deadline
Event designers operate in a deadline-driven environment. They keep vendors and other firm employees involved in the setup process on-task. They also communicate delays with clients while limiting the fallout.
Event Designer Skills and Qualifications
Creative-minded individuals with an eye for aesthetic details thrive as event designers. The following skills and abilities are needed to obtain this position:
- Project management - event designers map out what resources are necessary to complete the design aspects of an event
- Mastery of CAD software - event designers use this software to plan out how each space in the venue will be used and decorated
- Attention to detail - aspiring to achieve visual perfection, event designers make design choices from the invitation design and stationery to table settings to furnishings
- Communication skills - event designers need to be good listeners to understand the needs of their client. They also rely on interpersonal communication and collaboration skills when working on-site to install design elements
- Negotiation skills - excellent negotiation skills are needed to get the best deals from the various vendors involved in crafting an event's decor
- Time management skills - making sure the decor of an event matches the original design plan takes an event designer who can prioritize tasks based on urgency and importance
Event Designer Tools of the Trade
Event designers don’t use many tools besides what’s in their heads. Here are a couple of tools they do use:
Virtual event design software (Viven 2.0)
Project management software (Asana, Trello, Basecamp)
Event Designer Education and Training
Most employers prefer candidates who have at least a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management, public relations, marketing, or a related field. Coursework includes conference planning, principles of design, project management, interior design, and similar subjects. When first starting out at a company, new event designers work under more experienced event designers to learn the company’s specific strategies and protocol. Certification isn’t necessary to find employment, but there is a certificate available from the Meeting Professionals Institute.
Event Designer Salary and Outlook
According to Payscale, the national median salary for event designers is $45,003. Those in the 10th percentile make below $18,937, while those in the top 10 percent make above $61,534.
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Event Designer Helpful Resources
If you’re a creative person who thinks a job as an event designer is a good creative outlet, then check out the list of resources below:
Founded in 1972, the Meetings Professionals Institute boasts a membership of 60,000 event and meeting professionals scattered across the globe. It offers an intensive 3day certification for event designers that is highly regarded by employers.
This book is especially a good read for event designers who want to specialize in weddings where floral knowledge is most important.
Planner's Lounge is a blog geared toward event planners, but its archives contain a lot of content also relevant to event designers.
Geared toward event designers who want to work in the music industry, this book contains tips, tricks, and strategies specific to concerts and festivals.