Three Ways to Use Data to Get Design Information

By January 9, 2014Corporate Events, Featured

 Guest Blogger!

We have a very special guest featured today for your blog reading pleasure! J. Damany Daniel, also known as The Event Nerd, shares his expert insight on how we can incorporate the use of data in to event design.

About Damany:

An experienced and award winning event producer, Damany has planned scores of events for clients across the nation, always bringing a unique flair to everything he touches. An avid student of emerging trends in technology, this proud nerd firmly believes that technology can do more than just amaze people at events. If used properly, technology can and does provide opportunities to connect people, extend the reach of events far past the closing curtain, and create experiences that connect people with the cause and experience in ways they never thought possible.

Damany was honored to be selected as one of Special Event Magazine’s 2012 “30 Under 40,” which recognized him as a rising star within the global special events community and is an active board member of the Dallas chapter of the International Special Events Society.

Three Ways to Use Data to Get Design Information

as originally featured on the DesignDawgs blog!


The definition of data is simple. It’s about individual statistics and items of information.

Now, I know that might be the most boring series of words to have ever graced this DesignDawgs blog, but stay with me. When you think about data, you think of spreadsheets and calculations but what if we thought about it differently? What if we found a way to make data help us design?

We use data every day. We ask our clients for their desired color palette, understand their tastes and desires through their websites, and dig into their past events to understand what has worked and what has flopped for them in the past. All of this is data.

It’s what we do with it that makes the greatest impact. Data is something that we can use as event professionals before an event to shape the event, but it’s also something we can use during the event to make the experience unique and intimate for everyone who walks through the doors. Here are a few tools using data in new and sexy ways and some tips for how you can use data to make your next event shine.


1. Pinterest I was recently honored to be a sponsor for ISES’ brand new conference,ISES Live. While there, I sat in on a session hosted by lead Dawg himself, Dave Merrell, where he talked about some of the ways he designs his events. One of the tools he mentioned using was Pinterest. Each time he works with a client, he has them create an account and pin everything they can possibly think of to a board that they share with him and his team.Using this information, he and his design team is able to get in the mind of the client and deliver them a design that seems as if it came right from their own creativity, mainly because it did.

I love that idea, but let’s take it a step further.If we, in addition to using the boards our clients share with us, do a little more research and see what other boards the guests may be liking and looking at, you can add a little bit of that flair into your design. Often, clients aren’t going to know everything to put on a board or think that something that they see or like is going to help shape an experience.  They may see a flower or a video clip that they like, but can’t quite explain why.Figure out a way to incorporate those elements into your design and seem like the rock star you truly are.


2. Facebook Using Facebook is fairly commonplace these days. What most of us don’t realize is the virtual treasure trove of information available just beyond someone’s profile picture. Think about how much data you have — name, place of birth, where you live, gender, and age (or the age you want people to think you are) are just a few of the gems inside your profile.  Imagine if, as event professionals, we were able to get access to that information what we could do with it?

Thankfully, there are companies such as SocialPoint making it easier to get that access. For instance, before or even during your event, they can work with you to create incentives for guests to login and share information by giving them everything from exclusive content, to VIP passes, to unique experiences reserved for only your friends and followers.The SocialPoint team then gives you insight into who your attendees are based on those interactions and you can use that information to help create design elements that speak to them specifically. Again, personalizing the event experience based on who’s in attendance.


3. Scanalytics This Wisconsin company is helping event planners track what makes attendees stop and take notice. Using thin (and brandable) mats positioned throughout a venue, Scanalytics can tell you what elements of your event are getting the most traffic, and for how long that traffic is staying put. In addition (and perhaps most importantly to designers), the software is able to trigger different things based on how long or how frequently people are standing in a particular spot. (The illustration above shows through color the “hottest” areas.)


Imagine being able to play a video in an area only after people have been standing still for five minutes or more, or being able to change the color of the lighting around a silent auction table if it’s been getting a lot of traffic, letting people know it’s a hot item. Take it a step further and pair the Scanalytics tools with things like Imerser interactive projection, and see a dance floor, entryway, or wall change based entirely on what people in attendance are doing and where they’re going.

These are just a few of the many #nerdapproved tools out there right now for incorporating data into your design.  By combining them together, you can let your guests and their tastes shape your event, allow your spaces to evolve as the event progresses, and leave your client in awe of the way you continually seem to capture the essence of their desires, and impact the guests in ways they never thought possible.


The Simplifiers are Austin’s top event planning and personal concierge firm, offering full service wedding planning for luxurious events, dreamy events, quirky events and everything else in between.  For more information, visit or give us a jingle at 512.695.7744.

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