Skip to main content

Designing the an event space that is both functional, and pleasant to look at can be difficult. On the one hand, #eventprofs need to seat all of their attendees, on the other hand, event planners want their spaces to feel unique and sophisticated. If you can relate to this challenge, you’re in luck. Here are five Ted Talks from world leaders in design, the goal being to inspire you to create event spaces that have sophistication and style, while also being functional for your attendees. So take a look at the short and sweet videos below and inject some inspiration into your day!

1. Don Norman: The three ways that good design makes you happy

Don Norman says the great design must have three key elements in making people happy. It must be beautiful, functional and reflective. Norman says that the key to great design is that it must be pleasant, he says that “pleasant things work better.” What does that mean for your next event?

Focus on injecting fun and novelty into your next event. Instead of renting those predictable stacking gold chairs, why not opt for more novel acrylic chairs, for example. Introduce some novelty into your next event as a way of delighting attendees.

2. John Maeda: How art, technology and design inform creative leaders

As president of the Rhode Island School of Design, John Maeda sits at the intersection of technology, design, art, and leadership. He tells his audience that by fusing technology with simple design and novel artistic approaches leaders can become better at managing their responsibilities.

While planning an event, it’s worth considering ways to implementing pieces of technology that incorporate simple design, and novel art to help attendees in leadership roles better network with one another. An example of this might be implementing a photo booth that is capable of uploading photos to Instagram. Attendees will be interested to try a novel piece of technology that presents a perfect ice breaking opportunity.

3. Steven Johnson: Where good ideas come from

We often think that our best ideas occur to us in a flash. At one point in time, we would have yelled “eureka” out of our window! But Steve Johnson argues that ideas occur in a network. In historic London, they happened in a flourishing coffee house scene, for example.

It is because great ideas are cobbled together from the smaller ideas of people around us, that networking becomes critical to sparking big ideas. Help attendees reach their greatest ideas by creating spaces that encourage collaboration and open communication. So what does that mean for your next event? Create communal work spaces that forces attendees to look at one another rather than allowing them to isolate themselves. Design spaces that give attendees a feeling of safety and comfort so that they will be compelled to network and share with one another.

4. Jinsop Lee: Design for all 5 senses

When creating a fantastic design, looks aren’t everything. This Ted Talk argues that truly memorable design incorporates all 5 sense to create an unforgettable experience for the user.

The automotive company, Nissan, implemented a trade show booth design that released a trademark scent every so often so that visitors receive a complete experience when checking out the automaker’s cars.

When planning your next event, consider designing a space that provides attendees with a great experience across their five sense. Create beautiful banners for guest to look at, use comfortable chairs for guest to luxuriate in, serve delicious food, and maybe take a page from Nissan and make sure that the event space smells great too!

5. The design genius of Charles + Ray Eames

The grandson of the duo behind the famed mid-century modern Eames reclining chair shares his family’s secret to great design – “anticipating the needs of the guest.” The designers of the Eames chair realized the difference between style and design, the Eames chair is known for having a lot of curves, but when it came time for the pair to design a house to solve the problems of modern living, there were no curves incorporated into the design at all.

What’s the takeaway, forget about creating a stylish space, create a space that has good design. An event space that has good design is one that solves the problems of your attendees. So make sure that it allows attendees to relax, network, and learn while also giving them access to things like charging stations, refreshments, and restrooms. If a space is well designed, the style will take care of itself.

These five Ted Talks illustrate various key aspects of the design process and should give event professionals a good start when they think about what the design of their next event space should be.

The most successful designs are ones that are novel, innovative and most of all – solve a problem the user is experiencing. That means it’s critical for event designers to put themselves in the shoes of attendees. Ask yourself, “what will my attendees want and need from this event” and try to create a novel way of helping them to reach their wants and needs. If you stick to that principle, you can’t lose!

David Epstein

Author David Epstein

David is a brand building expert who has advised some of the world's largest and most beloved brands on how to do marketing better. Past clients include: Pepsi Co. Campbell, American Family Insurance, and Avon Makeup. In 2013, David graduated from the University of Connecticut with a double major in Political Science and Philosophy. While at UConn he earned the Dean's List three times, and was granted membership to the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. When he's not brand building, David enjoys exercising and exploring New York City.

More posts by David Epstein
Share via
Send this to a friend