David Merrell, AOO Creative Director, Lead designdawg
Beyond Floral: Making a Design Statement with Technology
By Joe Mineo
As my floral-business-turned-event-design-company approaches its 25th year, I'm evaluating the past, present and future of all the elements of my career. As with any upward reaching event design professional, I assess my resources, my team and the trends of the industry to constantly strive for improvement. One of the areas that has been the greatest change for us is our use of graphics and imagery, as well as the addition of new team members to accommodate it.
My career began with floral design and I will always believe in the power of flowers. That said, I have to acknowledge how much I embrace the digital arts as an ever-advancing aspect of event design.
In some cases, graphics and imagery
make a personal statement in a way
no flower ever can.
In today's digital age, our opinions and choices about lifestyle are inspired more and more by the information that's being printed, broadcast and digitized all around us. This advancement in social technology has impacted the event industry by creating audiences that expect a sophisticated conveyance of message about each event and its hosts. Branding is no longer reserved for corporate parties. Even today's most traditional weddings become the couples' personal branding opportunity and they know it.
Clients are increasingly savvier about how they want their event personalized through the use of photography and graphic design. The most progressive couples are coming in with their own professionally designed party logo accompanies by creative ideas about how they want to see it used. Internet vehicles such as Pinterest and Stumbledupon offer endless examples of graphic design and imagery for any type of party theme or event application imaginable. For myself and my own design process, it is exciting to embrace digital media as a means to personalize my clients' events and to customize their venues.
From a Bar Mitzvah where we projected the night sky over Jerusalem to honor the Mitzvah's recent return from a pilgrimage, to the 50 custom designed wake boards honoring an avid water sport fanatic, the graphics and imagery created for these events makes a stronger personal statement in a way that no flower ever could.
As this increased use of digital media in my designs grew, I saw my own business and advertising needs become more sophisticated. I needed professional photos and graphics for my website, social media, advertising and client proposals.
For these reasons I made the move to hire my own media department. I believe that this was one of the best decisions of my career. Having a photographer and graphic designer available in-house makes the creative possibilities limitless. The ideas in the media department are flowing, and, at 25 years in the business, it is exciting to explore these modern tools of design. I am learning with each new graphic application how best to utilize the team's talents.
The results are dramatic. My inspiration board is over flowing with clippings and ideas to jump start brainstorming meetings and invigorate the creative process. The photos below are examples of our own parties where we used digital media, as well as some bits and pieces of inspiration from magazines and the web that I am excited to use for future designs.
The photo above was taken during installation of 50 personalized wake boards as a decor element where the guest of honor was a sports fanatic. His favorite sports were highlighted in different areas of the event design such as the bar below.
Digital technology was also used in the installation of the dance floor which highlighted the guest of honor's name in water.
As I said above, floral is still an important design element, at times inspiring the digital branding as with this next event.
The floral design was edgy and masculine, incorporating metal spheres and manzanita.
We created a party logo that mirrored those elements and applied it to the furniture (above) and the dance floor below. When the dance floor was lighted, it had a three dimensional quality that was unreal.
The new Grace Ormonde Wedding Style Digital Magazine came out with a travel feature called "Fashion Designers Put Their Stamp on Hotels."
It inspired me to go to the website for the Bellechasse in Paris which was dressed by Christian Lacroix.
His design concept as it is shown here will be reinterpreted for one of our events. In the party venue, the back walls or ceilings will be covered with visually stunning imagery like this that will make the rooms seem ethereal and infinite. Applying this type of look as a major focal point is like gift wrapping the party itself.
In the photo above, which I took in Spain, you can see an advertisement that inspired the concept I will use for the next Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Gala. Actors will be photographed in costume prior to the event. The graphics team will use those photos to create imagery similar to the original inspiration. At the event, the graphics will tell a story so that when combined with the living actors the audience will feel that the characters and theme are real.
Texture and a similar design will embellish the costumes, prints and decor in a similar way.
From my own photos, from Pinterest, magazines, and other sources, I've expanded my design world immeasurably. One could even say that I'm always searching for that "Something New!"