The Secret to a Sensational Event
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What Are the 7 Ds of Design?

event design mastering the 7 ds of design


Events are intricate. If you plan one well, it will strike the perfect balance between functionality and creativity.  Every design decision influences the overall effect, from subtle nuances in your color palette to the nitty gritty decisions you make about furniture placement.

How do you ensure all of your design decisions are smart ones? Follow these seven design principles to navigate your next planning session — you’ll see a major difference on event day. 


1. Dream

Every event begins with a dream. The first step to conceptualizing your vision is to define the purpose or goal of the event. Next, you need to determine the overall event theme. The goal and theme are the two foundational components of your event vision. They will serve as your guideposts through the rest of the process. 

Pro Tip: Make sure your event theme — whatever it may be — is always one of your top priorities. Consistency will create a cohesive aesthetic. Everything, including your lighting choices, decor, and branding, should reflect your theme in some way. 


2. Draw

Now that you have your event vision, it’s time to get everything drawn out. Use your event theme to build out all the design elements you need to bring your dream to life. A winning event proposal will convey your vision clearly and give your client a comprehensive understanding of the event design. 

Pro Tip: Highlight your understanding of your client’s goals and objectives and show how your event design meets them. This is your chance to gain their trust and make them feel confident in your ability to deliver on the big day.   


3. Diagram

Do yourself a favor and always diagram your event — even if it's a smaller-scale affair and you don’t think it’s necessary. You may think you’ll have plenty of time on site, but setup always flies by. Plus, you’re unlikely to be working alone. If you arrive on event day armed with an easy visual diagram, you can quickly show your team, vendors, AV staff, and others where each element belongs within the event space.  

Without a diagram, you may find yourself spending precious time during setup trying to work out tricky, unforeseen layout complications. 

Pro Tip: Make sure you are working with an accurate, up-to-date representation of the space. Know where the electrical outlets, light switches, stages, etc. are located. 


4. Details

At this point, you need to confirm all the little details to develop a clear outline of the event and how it will flow. Check-in with all of your vendors to establish timelines for each element. Detailed timelines are critical. They ensure everything runs smoothly and that your guests are comfortable the whole time. Devising a few alternatives, rainy-day options, and backups is also a good idea. Contingency plans are an event planner’s secret weapon. 

Pro Tip: Everything that applies to setup also applies to teardown. You’ll have to coordinate with your vendors, utilize your team, adhere to timelines, etc. Teardown is far less exciting but equally complicated.


5. Dollars

No matter how you deliver your event vision to your client, make sure that you include all of the financial details somewhere. How you choose to lay out this information is totally up to you. There are plenty of options, from detailed itemized breakdowns to more general grouped pricing sections — just make sure it's in there and it's accurate. 

Pro Tip: Consider market rates, competitor pricing, and perceived value. Your primary aim is to meet client expectations, but you also need to create something financially viable. 


6. Decisions

Once you’ve delivered your proposal to your client, it’s time for them to make some decisions. As an event planner, you must be flexible and quick to embrace any curveballs they may throw your way. Be prepared to tweak your original proposal to meet their new goals. 

Pro Tip: Clients often think the quickest and easiest way to save money is to cut the most prominent element in the proposal. Be ready to counter-propose some alternative ways to reduce the total cost so you aren’t left with an underwhelming event design. 


7. Delivery

This is your moment to shine. All of that meticulous planning, coordination, and preparation is about to come together — it’s event day. The most important thing you can do is maintain a calm demeanor throughout the day. Trust in your vision and follow your carefully laid plans. You have your timelines, diagrams, and contingency plans to reference. 

Pro Tip: You are in charge, which means all eyes are on you if something unexpected happens. In such situations, you want to show grace under fire. What at first appears to be a disaster is your chance to blow everyone away. 


Unlock Your Creative Potential

There is nothing quite as satisfying as watching your event vision come together. Turning your dream into a reality and watching guests experience it is deeply gratifying. Don’t miss your moment to impress. Refine your design process by following the seven ds of design and take your upcoming event to the next level.