Tuesday, November 13, 2012

It's an Event Design Series at the Portland Event Planner Blog!

A few posts ago I mentioned participating in ISES Portland's Art of the Party tabletop competition as a judge and panelist. Via Hersholt, ISES Portland's VP of Education and Programs, emailed us the following questions to answer about design. Some, we were able to get to during the program; others got cut due to time constraints. I wanted to explore more of these questions, and discuss the design evaluation process. Thus, 6 days of Event Design Discussion. Enjoy! Comments, as always, are welcomed.

Day 1: Criteria in a Design Competition
With two categories to judge and ten exquisitely executed entries, the evaluation process was extremely difficult. Some of the discussion questions that came up:

For Best Use of Theme:
  • Was the theme immediately apparent to the viewer?
  • Follow-through: Was theme executed in multiple items throughout the entire installation, including unusual or atypical usages?
  • Was the chosen theme and subject novel or unique?
  • Did the overall installation feel appealing, comfortable, and usable? Could a viewer think of events at which this theme could be applied?
"BAM!" lollipop favor in superhero-theme table by Peter Corvallis Productions.
 For Best Use of Alternative Materials:
  • What materials were chosen for the tabletop and styling? Could these materials be easily sourced or purchased, or were items unique, hard-to-find, or handcrafted?
  • Were any materials re-purposed from prior events or usages?
  • What sustainability considerations were taken into account when creating this theme? After this event, would items add to landfill usage or could they recycled or reused?
  • Were everyday materials used in a novel or unique way?
  • Given the stated theme, were the materials appropriate?
"Desert Rain" styled table by Gather Events and Starflower.

Based on these thought processes, what do you think of the outcome? Would you have done it differently or used different criteria? View all entries and the winners over at Paul Rich Studio's blog.

Please continue to join us at Portland Event Planner for the rest of Event Design Week. Here are the upcoming topics, all drawn from ISES Portland's panel agenda questions for Art of the Party 2012:

Day 2: Trends: What are some new trends in event design and how can an event planner keep current? What new color combinations are requested by clients? What are the most popular themes for parties, galas, and corporate events? What themes are overused?

Day 3: Sustainablity: Special events can be wasteful. What steps can planners take to make sure they are producing a sustainable event? And how can you use alternative materials in your design work?

Day 4: Budget: What tips do you have for a client that has a very small budget but wants a big impact?

Day 5: Theme: Why does theme matter in special events?

Day 6: Case Studies: Of all the designs and/or event decor you've come up with, what has been the most successful and why? ...And what was the biggest 'bust'?

Trying Out A New Resource for Canvas Prints, Car Magnets, and Promotional Materials { Sponsored }

canvas prints

I recently had the opportunity to sample Printcopia's online canvas prints service. I found the interface to be fairly straightforward and easy to use, and my print arrived within 7 days. While I'm not sure this would be the solution for personal items needing professional editing and cropping such as wedding portraits (please use your professional photographer for those!), I found the self-service canvas prints to be of excellent quality and more than adequate for my needs as an event planner. These would be great for display materials for tradeshows and decorative marketing of event photos around the office.

Printcopia also offers car magnets, custom banners, and inexpensive signs -- items that all of us as event planners need to use at one time or another. I haven't tried these items yet, but if they are the same quality as the canvas print I was able to sample, this would be a great resource to add to my list.

Disclosure: We received a complimentary 11x14 canvas print sample prior to writing this review.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Design Competition: ISES Portland's Art of the Party

Photo by Paul Rich. L to R: Emee Pumarega, EJP Events; Cindy Thompson, Cindy Thompson Event Productions; Gene Dent, SCi3.2

Last week I had the pleasure of serving as a judge and participating on a panel discussion for the International Special Events Society - Portland Chapter's annual tabletop design competition, called "The Art of the Party". Inspired by the likes of DIFFA's Dining By Design events, the event brings together florists, designers, and planners from all over the area to compete for three awards: Best Use of Theme, Best Use of Alternative Materials, and People's Choice. Many thanks to the ISES Portland board for including me, and to Food in Bloom / Montgomery Park for hosting the event.

As a judge, alongside event planner Cindy Thompson of Cindy Thompson Event Productions and Gene Dent, of SCi3.2 (the company responsible for most of the floats in the Portland Grand Floral Parade during the Rose Festival), we were tasked with evaluating each of the ten entries according to the criteria given. In addition, we had to sit in the hot seat and answer questions about our own approaches to special event design. It was a great event and I learned so much from my co-panelists as well as the attendees who asked the hard questions!

I will be blogging more thoughts about event design over the coming weeks, as there were many questions we prepared for that we didn't get to, due to time constraints.

Highlights of the panel: Unconferences and Un-Themes, Che Guevara as a touchstone for a "Fifties" event, what "modern" means when it comes to event themes, which themes are overused. If you missed the event, you missed some great discussions and you should participate next year!

More about ISES Portland and its upcoming educational events here at their website.

The winners:
Best Use of Theme: (a tie) Bird Dog Creative & Peter Corvallis Productions

Bird Dog Creative's "glamping"-themed table.
Peter Corvallis Productions's "superhero" themed table.

Best Use of Alternative Materials: "Time Machine" by East West Floral Arts/Barclay Event Rentals; was also the People’s Choice Award: East West Floral Arts/Barclay Event Rentals.

"Time Machine" steampunk-inspired table by East West Floral Arts and Barclay Event Rentals.

Full photo documentation of the event and all competition entries by Paul Rich available at his blog.