How to Become an Event Designer

Wedding planners do it all with help from IWED

Do you thrive on creating beauty in spaces? Do you love decorating for the holidays, coming up with fun themes for birthday parties, and transforming a space completely? If so, then you are a natural event designer.

Event Designer Overview

One of the first things many people ask when they hear the term “event designer” is how the career is any different from an event planner. There’s a misconception, even in the wedding and event planning industry itself sometimes, about the overlap between the two roles. The fact is that these definitely are two different jobs within this industry. Event planners are the logistic side of putting together an event. They handle things such as hiring vendors, taking care of contracts, and keeping everything on schedule.

Event designers, on the other hand, are the people who make the event look and feel a certain way. These are the professionals who source flowers and décor, who help create the theme for an event’s décor, and someone who ensures the space looks exactly the right way before the guests arrive. You can think of this person as a set designer, setting the stage for the show. There certainly are plenty of event designers who also act as event planners – but not always!

Event Designing has Three Avenues to Follow

If you love the idea of working in the creative side of putting on amazing events, then being an event designer could be a great career move for you. You’ll get the chance to express unique visions through beautiful design work every day, which is a lot of fun! There are three main paths that most event designers take to start off in this career.

First is the traditional route of gaining a Bachelor’s Degree and looking for work after graduating. Those who employ event designers are often looking for Bachelor’s Degrees in a variety of areas that relate to throwing events; because there isn’t a specific major for event design. For example, marketing is a great major to have for a Bachelor’s Degree, because marketers are taught how to communicate through psychology. Things such as color, logo design, and other non-verbal communication are important for décor. Additionally, learning how to promote an event is a great skill for a designer. Other majors that a hopeful event designer may benefit from, include public relations, hospitality management, and business.

All in all, a college education does allow you to develop skills that can be applied to many other careers, but it may not be the most direct path to becoming an event designer.

The second route for becoming an event designer is to gain an entry-level position with a business that puts on events. Hotels, tradeshow planning firms, and quite a lot of large organizations are good places to start. In this path, an event designer will get on-the-job training for the types of events that an organization puts on. They’ll learn how to handle various tasks on the planning side as well. Advancing with experience generally means that a person will end up acting as both a designer and an event planner; in many cases, this career path is called a “program coordinator” or something similar. For many hopeful event designers, this path is used as a launching pad for starting a consultant business.

All in all, choosing to start off in an entry-level event position can help you develop the real-world skills you need to get events off the ground and moving seamlessly. However, it’s likely that you’ll end up with a lot more experience in planning events, and it may take you longer to establish yourself as an expert in design.

The third route for becoming an event designer is to consider a certification. Certifications are a good balance of the two previously mentioned paths. On the one hand, you’ll receive formal education into the many ways that design can be used to communicate a specific message. You’ll learn all about the latest trends in event design, and you’ll be exposed to many different types of events – not just the type that the business from path two would train you in. Also, certification programs are shorter than traditional education, and typically include a lot of hands-on studies. Some even require internship hours so that you can gain that vital on-the-job training that traditional college students don’t always get.

Design Certification Benefits

Certification programs are specifically designed for event designers, rather than being a major that is “close enough” to get you in the door. You’ll walk away with credentials from internationally recognized event organizations, so you can immediately present yourself as an expert in the field. If you chose a Bachelor’s Degree in hospitality management, for example, you would learn a lot about hospitality law, tourism, public relations, and conference planning.

However, if you choose an event designer certification course, you’ll learn how to create beautiful tabletop décor, how to utilize draping hardware to create stunning backdrops, how to structure a space for ceremonial needs, how to handle the ceiling (that oft-forgotten space in any room), and more. Your education will be fully focused on the technical things you need to know to execute your design vision. You will also get a great education in event-specific marketing, as well as how to price your services, and what factors are behind the evolution of the event design industry today.

All in all, a certification program is a great way to get yourself into the industry quickly, and in the most direct manner.

Get Certified with IWED

Our program is a self-paced, online education opportunity that is broken down into five units. You can complete the program at your own pace, anytime, anywhere, and it takes an average of one year to complete. You can gain your event design certification while you continue to work and build your real-world skills. By the end, you’ll be ready to break into the event design industry with all the knowledge you need to succeed right away.

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