Best Books on Event Design: Recommended Reading from 3 Pros

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A curated list of books from the industry visionaries who spoke
at Prevue’s What’s Trending in 2023 Webinar.

What’s on an event planner’s bookshelf? Here are 12 top pics from Prevue Panelists Kate Brack, VP of Design & Strategy, Haute; Dianne Devitt, CEO, Dianne Devitt LLC; and Tahira Endean, CITP, CMP, DES, CED, Head of Programme, IMEX.

  1. Into the Heart of Meetings: Basic Principles of Meeting Design by Mike van de Vijver and Eric de Groot is the first in-depth book about meeting design. It is an explorative study, a textbook and a practical guide that defines meetings as a form of communication. The book describes the characteristic processes of meetings and how to influence them through meeting design.

2. Event Design Handbook: Systematically Design Innovative Events Using the #EventCanvas by Roel Frissen, Rudd Janssen and Dennis Luijer. This book identifies the starting point of any event and outlines steps of how events come to life. It focuses on the DNA of specific aspects of events, and provides insight into how to observe and analyze events, understand stakeholders and define behavioral changes.

3. Immersion: The Science of the Extraordinary and the Source of Happiness by Paul J. Zak offers a framework for transforming nearly any situation from ordinary to extraordinary. Based on neuroscience research and innumerable client applications, Zak explains why brains crave the extraordinary. Clear instructions and examples show readers exactly how to create amazing experiences.

4. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown draws on the author’s  experience from working with the leaders of the most innovative companies in the world. By applying a selective criteria for what is essential, people can regain control of their choices and channel their time, energy and effort into making the highest possible contribution toward the goals and activities that matter.

5.The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact  by Chip Heath and Dan Heath explores why certain brief experiences can jolt us, elevate us and change us—and how these extraordinary moments can be purposefully created. The most memorable positive moments, say the authors, are dominated by elevation, insight, pride and connection. A meeting agenda that embraces these elements can conjure more extraordinary moments.

6. Intentional Event Design: Our Professional Opportunity by Tahira Endean, CMP.
Deeply understanding how humans respond in live event environments is the planner’s new currency. The seven intentions discussed in this book include developing stronger event processes, understanding how to make the most of available technology and data including digital marketing, designing to optimize the experience through immersive, brain-friendly design and creating sustainable, wellness-driven events.

7. The Art of the Party and David Stark Design by David Stark. The Art of the Party showcases 25 of renowned event planner David Stark’s whimsical, artistic, unexpected designs often created from sustainable, industrial or low-cost materials. David Stark Design explores forty of his elaborate yet eco-friendly events with 200 photographs and descriptive text.

8. How Design Makes Us Think: And Feel and Do Things by Sean Adams. Award-winning graphic designer Sean Adams explores the power of design to attract attention and convey meaning. Through hundreds of examples across design principles, from graphic design to industrial design to architecture, the book illustrates how design can inspire and subtly or consciously influence thoughts and behavior.

9. Brand Thinking and Other Nobel Pursuits by Debbie Millman looks at the state of modern branding and how it influences behavior through interviews with Malcolm Gladwell, Seth Godin, Tom Peters, Virginia Postel, Joe Duffy, Dori Turnstall and other leaders in the field.

10. Designing Experiences by J. Robert Rossman, Ph.D. and Mathew D. Duerden, Ph.D is a comprehensive introduction to experience design. The authors synthesize fundamental theories and methods from multiple disciplines and lay out a process for designing experiences from start to finish.

11. Neuromarketing by Patrick Renvoise and Christophe Morin draws on a combination of brain research and marketing practices to discuss how to build and deliver memorable messages with lasting impact.

12. Meeting Architecture: A Manifesto by Maarten Jan Vedastus Vanneste, CMM reveals the process and a set of tools for designing better and more effective high impact meetings, conferences and events.

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