Event Design

Event Design handbook, review, februari 2017

Your entire event on one sheet

Time and time again, clarifying the objectives of an event proves to be the challenge for event organizers. The Event Design handbook responds to this by creating a new ‘language’ that brings the clients and designers of an event into line.

14 surfaces in 3 layers

The book offers a method to systematically – by means of the canvas – tackle the set-up of your event and to create support for it with your (internal) client.

The canvas consists of 14 areas that the writers Roel Frissen and Ruud Janssen clearly explain. Click here for an explanation in 111 seconds.

There are three ‘layers’ within the canvas.

Change: these are the six boxes that map the change in stakeholder behavior from before to after the event. So you make a thorough analysis of the starting points before and results after attending your event.

Frame: this also consists of six compartments; the practicalities at your event that determine the boundaries of your design. For example, the ‘promise’ that is made to the stakeholders and the value that the event offers to the stakeholders.

Design: after this analysis of the stakeholders (Change) and delineation of the boundaries of the event (Frame), the design of the event can begin. Consisting of experience and knowledge; what you should experience at the event, and how that feels!

The effect of this process for me is that you first map everything thoroughly with your team, and discuss all aspects of the event in a structured way. This way you can be sure that you have not forgotten anything later, when the real design starts. It provides a solid basis and support and offers a thorough talking piece in the team, to come to an event that really delivers results.

Choosing which stakeholders really matter

I think a strong element of the method is that you have to choose who your stakeholders are. The book provides a good explanation of how to set up this selection process. You create a canvas for each stakeholder. This prevents the common mistake that the event is for ‘everyone’ and therefore ends in the gray middle.

Sell ​​your design to your client

After the stakeholders have been mapped, the canvases are consolidated into an Event Canvas. Subsequently, in the design phase, the team makes several prototypes and tests them for the desired behavioral change of the selected stakeholders. If you combine this with a good insight into the wishes and needs of your client, you know which prototype to present to him or her. This way you create the ‘wow’ reaction and thus the ‘go’ for your design. This essential step; the process of actually getting your design ‘sold’ to your client is very well described in the book. Even with an instructive summary of ‘common mistakes and success factors’.


It is a book that reads smoothly and, partly due to the diverse and extensively described cases, offers practically applicable content. Note: the ‘heart’ of the canvas: you can’t get the actual design from a book. That is a matter of making ‘flying hours’. Or follow one of their trainings.

Overall a ‘must-read’ for ambitious event organizers. And certainly a start and basis to really get started with the canvas. Because here too, practice makes perfect, so get started: ‘Improve our world, one event at a time!’

Title: Event design handbook (English)

Authors: Roel Frissen, Ruud Janssen, Dennis Luijer

Publisher: BIS Publishers BV

Year: 2016

Number: 9789063694340

Media type: Book, 192 pages

Price: €29.90

Order: via Management Book (aff.)