The question of event design recently came up in a group I follow. It’s a topic that I like to think about since I’ve worked on events that range from bare bones to highly designed. How important is the design of your event? I have come to find deliberate or not, an event is always designed.
Every element carries meaning, intended or not. Event planning combines strategy and preparation to achieve a desired experience in a particular time and space. Materials, signage, food, seating, layout, setting, messages are some of the elements that contribute to the experience for a participant. While these environmental factors color an event and determine whether the audience will be comfortable, the subtexts of the elements always leave an impression.
There are those who mean to control the perspective of the participant and manage the details to convey an intended experience, feeling and tone. They consider the event for potential risks and undesired situations have been anticipated or mitigated. They study and consider many facets of their audience, research to anticipate needs and develop the exacting elements, test and evaluate the end result to improve the next. The results are designed to convey the intention.
There are those that do not place value in thinking about how the environmental factors will feel to an attendee or how those factors will play on perception. That too is by design. The event may be a repeat so the audience already has assumptions on the context of the event. The content may outweigh the context and the setting is simply not important to the delivery. The results here too are designed to convey the intention.
Both perspectives are subjective, but design is always important.