Theme designers are another important group of a special event professional. They can help you invent a theme or implement your theme idea in a variety of novel ways. They may work with you directly or in conjunction with a staff event planner or a planner you have hired.
Theme designers can be helpful for many different kinds of functions, from gala dinners, to outdoor promotions and entire trade-show productions. Usually, theme designers don’t handle the food part of the program (although they may be useful consultants in carrying out the banquet theme), but they do take care of many other aspects.
Since they specialize in overall theme production, theme designers will work with other special event professionals in coordinating the entertainment, lighting, sound, set-design, room decor (from the linens, chairs, and tableware to room layout), special effects, audio/visual needs, and other special services from interactive video to virtual reality. Be sure to qualify exactly what the theme designer will do and not do.
The range and scope of theme-production capabilities are vast. Theme designers will create just about anything your imagination can conjure up for your special event, from a circus midway to a 1920s black-tie ball.
In order for a theme designer to work with you on your event, he/she will need to know your budgetary constraints, as well as the purpose, scope, and scale of your event.
Get theme designers involved early on to allow for thorough planning and thematic coordination from the invitations to the good-byes and thank-you notes. The earlier you do this, the better-it eliminates those last minute errors.
Needless to say, theme designers can be costly and many nonprofit organizations and small associations raising money, cannot afford them. However, this should not stop you from doing your own theme designing.
Find people in your organization who are creative. There are always some who have great ideas and can easily put them together. Condition yourself to see things upside down, backwards, greatly enlarged or with a drastic change of color.
Use props and theater sets from community colleges, universities and community playhouse. Go to thrift stores. Let them know your theme in advance. They can keep an eye out for special items that could work for you. You can talk with many retail stores and talk to them about donations. You can even go to a junk yard, pick up interesting pieces and paint them. There is no end to what you can dream up and create!