Solid stage production design enhances guest experience and wows your audience even before they see the main entertainment or presenter. It sets the tone, it intensifies audience response, and it often doesn’t come cheap. But mastering the basics of stage design and then creating your own unique touches will help your audience take notice and increase social spread.
I think you’ll agree that an impressive stage design demands attention from the audience.
It doesn’t even have to cost the earth.
In this article, we’ve showcased 131 ideas to take your event from ordinary to extraordinary. Best of all, there are concepts for all budget levels.
Top 10 Event Stage Design Ideas
8. Hanging Light Installations
Table of Contents
What Is Stage Design?
Stage design enhances presentations and entertainment. In its simplest form, it serves as a backdrop for the stage production. There are many components of stage design including:
- Stationary scenic elements
- Animated or moving scenic elements
Simple Stage Designs for Events
We know that while stage design is extremely important in a performance or session, there are many events that simply don’t have the budget for giant lighting installations and pyrotechnics. If that’s you, check out these simple stage design ideas for events:
Cardstock cutouts can provide movement and come in a variety of colors. If you hang them from wire and use lighting, you can have a very interesting and easy stage design for less than you’ll spend on flowers.
Spandex is an inexpensive material and an effective way to turn unsightly elements such as trusses into an interesting feature of the stage design. Try incorporating lighting as well to really make it pop.
Corrugated plastic designs have become very popular because they’re less expensive than a true light fixture but they work well with lighting. They also come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
Another inexpensive material with lots of possibilities, foam board can be mounted, shaped, and projected upon for some very unique looks, like this one using wood frames.
Built-in Venue Features
When working on a budget, try to take advantage of any features that come with your venue whenever possible. They can be incorporated into a beautiful set but won’t add to your budget. In the example below, the existing sphere-shaped chandeliers were used as part of the stage design and fit in perfectly.
Geometric patterns create interest and can be used in large and small spaces by simply adjusting the size or numbers of the shape. They are often used in retro designs and can be used to create screens that flank the main action and cover up the side stages. They can also be mounted on wheels to make them portable.
Podiums are often a necessary element to include on stage, but they risk looking dull and detracting from the overall stage design. If you’ll be using a podium, one way to spice it up is to use a clear one, so that it blends in with the rest of the design and allows the backdrop to show through.
Fan designs can be accomplished using any kind of materials including paper, wood, or plastic. They can cover a large area with very little money and set a celebratory tone.
Columns can direct the eye to center stage and provide the freedom to move them around as the presentation or entertainment requires. They can be used to hide things you don’t want the audience to see and can be clustered for dramatic effect.They can also be used to create lit pillars with various lighting effects to add drama to your stage design, especially when placed in clusters of different heights.
While you may not have the budget for elaborate lighting installations, lights help elevate your stage design and are still an important element to try to incorporate. Repurposing holiday lights in any number of ways is inexpensive and adds an elegant touch.
Small Stage Design Ideas
Before we get into the large-scale, stage decoration ideas for concerts and conferences, let’s take a look at some small stage design ideas.
Rustic decor is extremely popular now. Here’s an easy and inexpensive way to incorporate it into your stage design. Going along with the rustic theme, you can use materials that are easy to come by. A design of chicken wire and styrofoam can provide a modern stage design for very little money.
This idea is easy to tailor to your space. The interlocking design also adds visual interest and depth, while reminiscent of the whimsiness of childhood. Some interlocking cardboard pieces are also recyclable and made out of recycled materials so they can be green as well.
Placing plants and greenery on and around your stage can help add warmth and create an eco-friendly feel, and are especially impactful for smaller stages. Make sure the plants you choose complement the other elements on stage and fit in with your overall design and theme.
What could be easier than attaching flowers to a fabric or paper background? This could also be done with a clear plastic. What could be easier than attaching flowers to a fabric or paper background? This could also be done with a clear plastic. Instead of attaching them to a fabric or paper background, you can also try stringing flowers on clear fishing line or cascading fairy lights to create a cascading flower effect.
When setting up a smaller stage with a smaller audience, details are everything. The stage will be more visible to the audience, so props can make a big difference. Consider incorporating decor such as throw pillows that match the theme or are branded with the event logo.
Braid panels of fabric together for this luxe small stage design backdrop.
For small stages without huge screens or lighting elements drawing people’s attention, the stage itself becomes a bigger focal point. Covering your stage in a design or color can help it blend in seamlessly with the rest of the set and match your event’s theme.
Cardboard Boxes as a Set
This creative stage design involves creating your scene directly onto cardboard boxes. They’re easy to move and tear down. Plus they can be stacked in inventive ways and you can place a different design on each side of the box for quick set changes.
Whether you use them on different-sized lamps or hang them with wire, they provide a soft candle-like lighting.To take this idea one step further, you can use umbrellas instead of lamp shades. This involves strings of lights and umbrellas hanging at various lengths. You can create a somber mood with dark umbrellas or a bright one with the colors of the rainbow. We’re also seeing a lot of this trend in promenades and walkways.
Incorporating window cutout shapes as a stage backdrop is a creative use of shapes and creates an interesting look without the use of excessive tech. For a smaller stage, this works well as it’s not over-the-top and brings attention to the speakers onstage. It also allows natural light to shine through for daytime events. To further customize the design, you can switch up the textures and/or colors according to the look and feel you’re going for.
Contemporary Stage Design Ideas
Contemporary stage designs are clean and minimalistic. Here are a few modern stage design suggestions that can be easily implemented:
Origami-inspired cutouts are great to include in a minimalistic stage design approach. They’re simple but add an interesting focal point to the design, especially when paired with lighting. They can work as a backdrop or as decorative accents around the stage.
When placed strategically as part of a lighting installation, fluorescent lights create clean lines and bright white light – a perfect complement to a contemporary stage setup.
Even though these structures don’t actually move, they give the appearance of doing so.
You can hang just about anything if you have strong enough wire or rope. Check out this creative idea.
These simple chains are just like what you made in elementary school but when hung, clustered and lit they create a spectacular chandelier.
Encapsulating a Theme
Use a component of your event theme and blow it out for added drama. This example shows a classroom set with alphabet tiles emanating from the stage. It sets the tone.
Use a stage design of varied heights for drama. The ability to enter from different areas increases audience surprise. Multi-level platforms or boxes can also add an interesting dynamic to your stage.
These special lights are created through fabric for a nesting or teardrop effect.
You can hang them high overhead or use them on stage.
Using projection mapping, you can turn almost any surface into an interactive display. This powerful technology is a great way to engage attendees and add a “wow” factor to your event. You can project images on anything from a simple white backdrop to the facade of a building for larger-scale events.
This idea encompasses several stage design aspects. It uses frames to create the illusion of windows or mirrors. It places them at various levels on stairs and tucks them behind one another for flow. The image can be done through projection mapping, screen printing/printing, or LED screens.
Creative Stage Design Ideas
Finding the perfect stage design ideas for events can make your undertaking much more memorable for your audience, not to mention increase the number of social shares you receive.
It’s no secret that lighting plays a huge role in setting the vibe and ambiance for an event. Take your lighting to the next level by using beams whose color and direction can be changed to create energy and convey different moods.
The Gatsby theme is highly popular, and the black and gold raised décor is very adaptable (after all, black goes with everything.) Note the bold signage for the stage décor. While this is a small party stage, this idea would make an even bigger impact if it were upscaled and used the gold striped side panels on a larger scale.
Credit: You and Me Weddings
Shadows are simple and inexpensive to achieve and create a dramatic effect.
This creative stage design is very modern and shaves off all of the extras. It allows you to focus on a few key elements and reduces potential distractions for the audience.
This creative curtain ties together lit strings for a dramatic statement. Colors can be switched out easily and it won’t overpower your entertainment.
When planning your stage design, don’t forget about the ceiling real estate. By hanging interestingly-shaped tarps from the ceiling, you can create a unique decor element and add an extra dimension to your design.
Extend the Stage
If your theme and event type allow for it, consider expanding your stage design past the stage itself to make the audience feel more immersed and create a bigger impact. In the example below, lit panels were placed radiating outwards from the stage to turn it into a setting sun.
Creating translucent gauze panels is a creative solution for your stage, especially if you’re using a particularly impressive or historical venue that you would like to showcase as part of your design. These panels can be made to be used as projection surfaces, so you can use them to display content while also allowing the venue to show through as a backdrop.
Cargo container boxes seem to be showing up everywhere these days. You can use them as backdrop, storage, and projection screens for your event.
Conference Stage Design Ideas
Conferences have a very different air than concerts. As do their backdrop needs. There are often things like branding that should be considered as well as lighting for speakers versus rockers.
This set-up by MSU Entrepreneurship utilized a full-length branded backdrop to frame the stage and then added individual signature tables for the panel furniture. This is an excellent idea to incorporate sponsorship visibility and ensure they receive prominence in the event photographs.
Personalized Light Up Cubes
These simple cubes from Code Four are a great way to decorate your stage while adding a personalized touch. You can use images of staff, products, ideal vacation spots…whatever suits your fancy. Since they are bluetooth enabled, there also aren’t any annoying wires..
The TEDx Brussels conference this year matched the lighting to the iconic red of their logo. It used the lights to accent the beautiful venue features, such as the ceiling, and add to the atmosphere.
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Setting up your stage for a live stream can be a great way to involve a bigger audience that may not be able to attend in person. You can include a screen on stage to show what’s being viewed on the live stream, and be sure to use non-reflective surfaces and 3D elements to optimize the design for streaming.
If you’ll be using screens on stage, consider switching up classic rectangular ones and using unconventional shapes instead. Screens like those in the image below double as a decorative element thanks to their shape and add a dimensional aspect when layered.
Creating a painted backdrop using geometric shapes in this way helps to make the staging more interesting and stylish than just a screen. As this image from Castle33 shows here at the Dublin Tech Summit it doesn’t detract from the stage. The backdrop is anything but plain.
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Another great day at @DublinTechSummit. Already looking forward to next year! . . . #DTS #dublintechsummit #dublin #ireland #tech #technology #summit #robot #robothespian #innovation #business #marketing #digital #digitalmarketing #fintech #iot #data #bigdata #web #websummit #summit #conference #festival #event #video #funny #tbt #nofilter
Designed by Eventco Ireland.
For a particularly immersive design, and if your venue is conducive to it, don’t stop with a simple backdrop. Use the walls on either side to place additional screens or lighting to bring the stage further out to the audience. You can even use the ceiling and the floor to immerse the audience from all sides.
You don’t necessarily need a backdrop to be effective if you are willing to experiment. Using a 360-degree stage allows speakers to engage with the entire audience and helps attendees to feel more immersed, especially at larger events.
If you’ll be using your main stage for different functions, such as presentations and panel discussions, using multiple, smaller stages can be an effective design. When placed together, they give the impression of a larger stage, but each can be set up for a particular use.
Instead of a basic rectangular or even a round stage, using a unique asymmetrical shape allows for a more creative design and defies expectations. This could be any number of shapes — for example, the wave-shaped stage below adds an element of movement while still remaining functional.
Corporate Stage Design Ideas
Along the same lines as stage design ideas for conferences, we have stage designs for corporate events. Again, keeping branding opportunities front and center.
Depending on your target audience, incorporating people’s images in your backdrop can make your event feel more personal and relatable. For example, if you’re hosting an internal event, using images of employees can help connect with your audience and make them feel valued.
The larger your screen, the more easily you’ll be able to immerse attendees in your event. Incorporating a 360-degree screen takes this idea to heart, ensuring your attendees will be surrounded on all sides by whatever you choose to project, such as a cityscape or nature scenery.
Some venues may not like, or allow, fixtures on the stage or changes being made, especially if they are older or have historical value. This can leave your stage design looking pretty plain. A great alternative shown here by Joe Can Golf is using floor projections to add some depth to the fixed stage, without making any physical alterations.
This fun idea is a great way to project your branding, logo, or event name onto a backdrop with minimal expense. As seen here by Completely Yours Events at the Flourish Conference in DC. They turn a plain curtain backdrop into a marketing or sponsorship opportunity. It also looks great with the feature furniture.
This conference stage by Reveries Events provides a unique opportunity to easily transition from daytime conference to the evening event using the same staging area. The DJ booth add-on is also a quick and easy way to transform the staging to entertainment and free up the floor for dancing with minimal effort. Check out the glitter backdrop.
Instead of simply projecting your logo onto your backdrop or screens, use it as inspiration to create the backdrop itself. This will put your branding front and center in a more creative way and make for a more visually interesting focal point for the audience.
This Qatar-UK business conference provided a bold backdrop combining two cultures, colors, and elements while using a funky “cut-out” design along the top. World Conferences shows here that it adds extra dynamic to the stage and provides interest.
This is an interesting design that incorporates curved seating by AVK at the Football Talks 2017 conference. This backdrop is also an excellent idea for limited floor space as it makes use of the walls to create its own impressive stage area.
Using large cutout letters on stage adds more dimension to a word than printing it on a flat surface. Using them to spell the name of the event is a simple but effective way to include the event branding in your design. There’s a lot of room for customization with this idea, whether it’s changing the font, material, or color of the letter to fit your event theme.
Create powerful light displays with this cube set-up by A.F.B.S Productions. They can be lit in the same color to create a block backdrop or multiple colors to create depth and interesting displays.
In certain cases, playing with the seating can be a creative way to extend your stage design throughout your event space. In the example below, curved benches are used to mimic the shape of the stage, and different brightly colored seating is included throughout, reflecting the event branding.
3D Stage Designs for Events
Employing 3D design is very popular, even in single dimensional images. It gives depth and interest to your stage design. Here are some ways you can incorporate it into your events:
Placing panels of decreasing size inside each other adds depth to the stage and immediately draws people’s attention. This isn’t limited to square panels and would also work well with other shapes. Adding lighting increases the 3D effect and ensures the design is on-brand.
A 3D effect can also be achieved using screens as archways over the stage, as in the example below. Placing several concentric screens in order of increasing size gives the stage depth while also allowing for customized colors and images to be displayed.
Incorporating both 2D and 3D elements into your backdrop can create an interesting 3D look. This flat vinyl backdrop is complemented by vinyl-wrapped foam hung from the ceiling that’s strategically placed to create the effect that it’s popping out of the backdrop.
Hanging structures above your stage that complement your theme is a great way to add a 3D element to your design. If your backdrop consists of geometric shapes, for example, hanging several similar shapes brings the stage to life and creates an attention-grabbing 3D effect.
A less traditional backdrop, large cutout shapes are another way to create a 3D effect on your stage. You can play around with the shapes, colors, and combinations thereof to create a unique look that fits your event.
If using several screens, instead of placing them against a flat backdrop, try layering them over each other to create dimension. Use a mix of screens that will be used for content and others that will be solely decorative to avoid too many distractions.
Incorporating shelving into the backdrop for your stage is both functional and decorative. Using shelves of any shape or size, you can create a 3D design while also adding props or lighting to the shelves to elevate the look of the stage.
To create a simple 3D look, use an element of your theme or stage design and place that shape or object around the stage at varying heights.
Another way to incorporate a 3D design element is through lighting. By hanging stage lighting on a slope, you can add depth to the stage and add another hint of branding by customizing the colors of the lights.
3D Focal Point
Adding one 3D focal point to your stage can be a great way to add dimension without going all out. Try creating a 3D object that’s in line with your theme and put in front and center, such as a screen with 3D rings around it if your design is space and galaxy-themed.
Stage Designs for Concerts
If you’re hosting a concert, you want a design that will excite the audience and bring an added interest without overshadowing the act.
This Game of Thrones-themed concert went all out for their backdrop using a 28-ft high and 60-ft wide castle. This immense backdrop is an excellent way to immerse the audience in the theme. With lighting, planners can easily change the atmosphere from fairytale to nightmare at the flick of a switch!
A sunburst design on your stage can signify the dawn of a new day, exciting beginnings, or soothing finishes depending on your lighting.
Crystals reflect light in dazzling ways.
This stage set design from the Storm Festival pays homage to a Sci-Fi influence.
Creature Double Feature
This huge set design looks like a giant scorpion made of television sets. It’s certainly not something that can be ignored. Build this and it will wind up on Instagram.
Lights and Action
This giant stage design from the Ultra Music Festival uses lighting and video screens to get the audience buzzing.
There’s something wondrous and yet recognizable about this castle structure. Notice the face in the center? Tell us enchanted mirror, Who is the fairest stage designer in all the land?
Not Your Grandparents’ Circus
This circus-themed concert stage design gives a nod to old-fashioned circus venues but kicks it up a notch with exciting lighting and modern, dream-like designs.
Owls and Other Creatures
Whether it’s your mascot or your spirit animal, using a large creature center stage will ensure no one falls asleep at your event. If they do, you can always send a few pyrotechnics their way.
Laser Light Show
Anyone can do a laser light show but how about one emanating from a giant skull?
Awesome Stage Design
If you’re looking for the best stage design, you’ll want to incorporate some of these ideas:
Flat Frames for 3D Effect
This idea uses flat frames and images hung for 3D interest. It can work beautifully for a corporate event showing where the company has come from and where it’s going.
Expansive Walls with Catwalks
This wall can be temporarily erected for an awesome stage design. It’s not only extremely tall but uses catwalks and LED lighting for added interest.
Move the Eye Along
This stage design uses floor planks to draw the eye into where the action is happening.
This round stage draws the audience in and enchants them with subtle starlight lighting.
Red, Black, and White
There’s something about this color combination that commands attention (and reminds us just a little bit of a Robert Palmer video from the 80s meets Alice in Wonderland).
Stairway to Nowhere
This is a popular stage design for beauty pageants; the long staircase that seems to ascend from the heavens. It can be very effective for a teaching event too because it sets your speaker up as a wise sage coming down from the mountains.
Hanging Light Installations
While you need a cavernous space to accomplish this look, there’s a lot of versatility in the rigging and lighting. Check out this idea from Coachella.
At this Mercedes Benz show, they incorporated projection mapping and roadways to mimic an outdoor scene.
This idea is not only visually appealing but functional. It can allow you to entertain all areas of the event and can help people get on off stage with little notice.
Performers can be suspended above your main or side stage for additional interest.
Eye-catching Stage Sets
Showing attendees something they haven’t seen before is a great way to ensure they think of your stage as the best stage design ever. These small stage design ideas can have a big impact.
One spotlight helps you find your speaker. Multiple spotlights weave an interesting visual.
Branded Color Outlines
If your event or company is known for its signature color, consider the impact of incorporating it onstage as an outline.
There are tons of options when it comes to reflective flooring. It can look like water, ice, or simply serve as a way to magnify your light show.
Incorporating color is usually a reliable way to grab audiences’ attention and keep things interesting, but it’s especially effective when the rest of the space is kept dark. Play around with different lighting and color combinations — while sticking to your branding, of course — to really make your stage pop.
When you select comfortable stage seating, you not only make your presenters feel at home, but the audience feels the intimacy as well.
This stage design allows the planner to use important words to strengthen the messaging.
Along those same lines, this stage design incorporates the theme or message for the event front and center.
Use Familiar Imagery
A surefire way to ensure your stage design is eye-grabbing is to use lighting, screens, and other materials to create an instantly noticeable shape or design. In the image below, the backdrop forms an eye, which is made more impactful by the eerie red lighting.
If it makes sense for your event, incorporating unconventional objects into your stage design can make a big impact. For example, a benefit to raise funds for gene-related research creatively used denim jeans to convey the “gene” theme, which became a key part of the overall event decor.
Flat, box screens won’t surprise your audience but a pyramid shape can.
Stage Decoration Ideas
A few easy stage decoration ideas can transform your event’s blank canvas into something spectacular.
This organic stage backdrop by The Little Red Balloon makes use of the small space while also creating a unique and interesting effect using balloons, without encroaching on the stage floor area. This can also be easily adapted to the color theme and could even be turned into a quirky branding or sponsorship idea!
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We love this organic stage backdrop setting for Janice & Kester’s wedding at @grandhyattsing 😍 . . For enquiries, WhatsApp 81618448 or email [email protected] www.littleredballoon.com.sg . . #balloondecor #weddingdecor #balloonart #balloonwall #wedding #weddingsg #grandhyatt #stagebackdrop #littleredballoonsg
Use your screens to create a slideshow of pictures on the stage. With bold colors and lighting, getting attention on the center stage is easy.
These tall, digital screens by Protec provided a unique and highly technical backdrop for this conference in Saudi Arabia. The splatter effect was adaptive and digitally programmed to change to provide an interactive display and created an eye-catching set.
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Protec provided #EventLighting #EventAudio #EventVideo #EventAutomation #EventStaging and #EventRigging on behalf of our client @ochre.brand for the Tawazun Economic Council’s Silver Jubilee Celebrations last month in Abu Dhabi. #EventProfs #EventLife #ConferenceSolutions #UAEEvents #EventTech #AVSolutions #SpecialEvents #EventSolutions #EventRental #ProtecEvents
Gossamer materials create a dream-like setting, mimic water, create movement and a host of other eye-catching stage designs. Used with lighting, the possibilities are vast.
You can do a lot with underwater pageantry like this example from Tomorrowland 2018.
Trees can provide a wonderful sense of life as well as doorways through which to enter different parts of your stage.
How your talent comes out on stage can make a big impression on your audience. Creating an angry doorway like this one is Instagramazing!
There are many ways that event planners are incorporating AI into their programming, so a little head nod to robots is always fun.
This music festival incorporated a familiar design (that of peacock feathers) in order to draw the eye right where the action is.
Erecting buildings as a stage backdrop provides the audience with a familiar feel while transporting them to another world.
Whether you build it out or simply use lighting to affect the mood, the stage backdrop is important in setting a tone.
This conference by Pygmalios had attendees seated on all sides and accommodated that by using a combination of traditional screens, boards, and projections on multiple walls. No matter where an audience member sits, they get an interactive experience.
Augmented Digital Mapping
During this performance, this backdrop creates an augmented experience with the performer and the scene. This digitally-mapped dress flickers and changes with the backdrop to create a mesmerizing show as the song progresses. This is a clever idea that keeps attention and is adaptable to the performance and different parts of the event.
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Happy 18th Riana! This is one very talented girl! She delighted with a rendition of O Mio Babbino together with the Phil-harmonic Orchestra! I was astounded when she let out her very first note and started singing! Riana truly is very gifted… i like her taste; very simple, not over-the-top…. and I’m so happy to have worked again after so many years with none other than Director Robby Carmona! This is truly one memorable debut i won’t forget for a very long time.🤣😘😅#debut #royallyriana #thepeninsulamanila @thepeninsulamanila @rianavlago @pvlago #robbycarmona #events #eventstylist #granddebut #royalty #stagedesign #productiondesign #videomapping #henrypascualeventstylist #henrypascualevents #henrypascual
Credit: Henry Pascual Events
As part of this event held by the American Association of Certified Wedding Planners (AACWP), the staging and backdrop created an enchanted garden. With box hedges for the front of the stage and a grass wall installation at the back, it gave the feeling that attendees had just walked into a private garden. These giant fabricated flowers add color for the backdrop while the custom signage is front and center!
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Designing this UNIQUE backdrop was SO FUN! Big PROPS to our vendor partners: @artifacturestudios for the EXQUISITELY cut blooms, @absolutelighting for the beautiful lighting and our own BRANCH TEAM for all their hard work pulling the pieces and details together! 📸 @amykarp @aacwp #stagebackdrop #lasercut #livecolorfully #flowerwall @mmspecialevents
Credit: Branching Out Events, Artifacture Studios, Absolute Entertainment, Amy Karp, AACWP
If you want to keep it simple and get your message or cause out there, this is a cool idea for fundraising or charity events. The custom fabric sheet is clean cut and offers excellent branding opportunities for The Spieth Shootout and Charity Concert. It can also provide an easy way to incorporate the many sponsors for the fundraising event. When the lights were on for the concert, the sponsor branding was in plain view at the top of the fabric.
Credit: Encore Live
This Versace runway backdrop is powerful and adaptable for different stages of the show. As you can see here, the red lighting on the cut-out backdrop creates silhouettes while the models work the runway. It can later be changed as different themes or pieces are highlighted. Aside from creating cool photo opportunities like this, looming runway backdrops can be used as part of the performance. In this example, later in the show, models peered through different cut-out sections for a final performance and dramatic impact.
If you’re trying to give off an air of comfort and informality to put the audience (and presenters) at ease, something like this could be a good idea. The concertina divider transforms this small staging space and blocks off the corner of the venue to create a cozy and decorative backdrop. Combined with the lantern props providing a warm glow, this would be an excellent small conference or meeting idea with the facilitator or speaker sitting comfortably instead of standing.
Credit: Solijin M. Robles
This intricate backdrop can create unique and adaptive effects that change with the music or tone of the event. These boxes give the glow of candlelight which is softer, sets the mood and complements the blue uplighting used. The different patterns on this backdrop also show through, making it more intricate and adding small details for the delight of the audience.
Credit: The Old Mill Flea
Balloons are in! From décor, entrances, and props to staging backdrops, they are adaptable elements that create a celebratory atmosphere. This example is particularly cool as it’s incorporating an ombre effect which is popular in design and color trends. That effect ensures this stage stands out. Balloons are particularly useful for backdrops because you can easily move them or shape them into ways that fit your space.
Credit: Reserve Modern, Peabody Essex Museum
This custom corporate conference backdrop is definitely a hit! Using themes or designs to spruce up a panel can make it more captivating. It can also be incorporated into the conversation as the doors on this backdrop are fully operational. It provides an excellent, highly-visible way to highlight event signage without interfering with the stage directly behind the panel.
Credit: Encore Live
The Academy Awards always goes all out. But this staging and backdrop really make an impact as they are switched out throughout the evening. The floating Oscar statues that you can see here are one of the many backdrops used throughout the night, alongside a movie palace, and other lighting and design elements that changed according to results, presentations or performances. The statues themselves are a great example of how you can use a recurring theme or idea and bring it to life using props for a dynamic background that could move if you so desire.
Stage Lighting Design
Lighting is a relatively no-fuss way to create drama in your stage design. Here are a few creative examples of how to best use stage lighting design:
Digital backdrops always come in handy, particularly for conferences or presentations because they can adapt to the message. This honeycomb pattern allows for interesting effects that can appear and fade throughout the presentation and, when not in use, can easily be turned into a decorative backdrop. This is a more interesting alternative to the plain rectangular screens that are normally found at conferences and is more engaging for attendees.
Credit: Staging Connections
If you want to create an illusion, particularly with runway staging, have backdrops that match the floor design. This is an excellent example of how you can immerse the audience and make the room feel larger with intricate artwork that merges with the floor. You could hire a local artist to showcase along with the fashion.
No confusing the event or the branding here. When you use this type of stage lighting design, most pictures taken during the session will contain your branding.
Why choose one color when you can have them all? Note the rainbow coloring on the letters.
Backlighting can create a dramatic entrance where the light appears to be emanating from the presenter. However, this type if stage lighting design is probably not ideal for the entire presentation as attendees will not be able to clearly see a face and will thus miss out on a powerful connection.
Color Lighting Blends
A spotlight needn’t be a single shade. You can do some very creative things with multiple colors and blends. This example denotes anger but also resembles a muscle. Through experimentation, you can find the ideal color combo to create the desired effect and tone.
Light Projection Chandelier
This lighting fixture resembles a chandelier but offers a lot more options for projection and coloring.
Creating Mass with Lights
This looks like a stage set, but in reality, the design is constructed mainly with lights and a screen. You can use lights as animated characters and create something that looks like it has mass to it. Best of all, you needn’t disassemble it.
This type of suspended lighting is very versatile but requires extensive rigging.
This runway lighting gives the appearance of going up the back wall.
The 7 Basics of Better Stage Production Design
Now that you have some good examples of awesome stage design, you’re ready to make it your own. You can do this by mastering the basics of better stage production design. Even if you hire a company that will do it for you, understanding the concepts behind stage design ideas will help you speak and understand their language and possibly help you communicate your own stage design desires.
Your audience should be one of the main considerations in your stage design.
You event goal should reflect your theme and your stage design should amplify both.
Your stage design should tell your event story or mission.
The stage design should create a mood even before your speaker or entertainer takes the stage.
Good visual composition is important.
Dramatic reveals boost the energy of the audience.
Consider the Instagram generation or those who love to share video and images. How will your stage photograph and film?
Now let’s dive deeper into these concepts:
Stage Production Design Considerations
Before you begin sketching out your ideal stage design or speaking to a stage production company, there are several stage production design considerations that should be straightened out first:
Your event budget.
It’s important to know if you have money for stage design production. If not, use one of the ideas in the simple stage designs for events area. While good stage design creates a favorable audience reaction, your budget must support your ideas.
Certain historic locations have restrictions on what can be done on property. Make sure you know what those are before planning your stage extravaganza. Which you select first, your venue or your stage plan, is up to you but you need to know the allowances and requirements for both.
Functionality and logistics.
While it’s easy to fall in love with one of our creative stage design ideas, you should give some thought as to what goes into each one. If there’s rigging involved, you’ll want to figure out how much and the logistics behind your dream, so that you can speak intelligently with the venue. If you’re not sure, you may want to consult a staging company just to draw up the idea first.
Yes, your audience comes into play in the basics of good stage design, but they also should be factored in when planning the design. For instance, while young rockers may love the strobe lights, people with health problems will not. Consider your demographic: who they are, what they’ve seen, and what they like.
Stakeholders and ROI.
It’s cool to plan on a fire-breathing dragon at your event but if you can’t show what that will do for your event or how it is fitting into your marketing, your grand item might get a big “no way.” Talk about how it fits the branding and what it will do as part of social media shares. Try to tie that into measurable ROI and business goals if you want to get it approved.
How to Design a Stage
Just in case you didn’t take scene design in school, we’ll go over a few of the key elements in designing a stage. A good stage design encompasses a balance in each of these. While conflict may be good in stories, it rarely works in stage design.
- LINE/SHAPE: the outline of the stage, items, and extras.
- MASS: the bulk or weight of the items on stage. Ideally, mixing this up provides visual interest.
- COMPOSITION: this speaks to where the items are on stage. It can be used to lead the eye or stop it.
- TEXTURE: this is the visual “feel” of items on stage. They could be shiny, pebbled, silky, or other descriptors.
- COLOR: the color of the items and/or the lighting.
Now that you know the components let’s talk briefly about the principles of design that guide the components above:
Balance means, just as it sounds, that there is an opposite for everything presented. These opposites serve to counteract and magnify the others. For instance, fire and ice.
Unity means all of the components fit into the theme but they are not so similar that they affect the variety of the composition. If all of the balls used on stage are exactly the same size, color, composition, and weight, you won’t have any visual interest. Difference create interest.
Harmony speaks to the sense of order in the composition. Mass chaos can be exciting in small amounts but in long uses, it will exhaust and confuse your audience.
Movement can be literal moving or simply giving the appearance of movement through lighting. It creates visual interest and keeps the eye focused.
Rhythm is similar to movement but instead of the stage components moving, movement has to do with how we want the audience to focus their vision. Do you want them looking stage left? Do you want them focused on the speaker? You can do this with items or lighting.
Emphasis is most easily remembered as a spotlight. The place you want to stand out in your stage design. A lack of emphasis will confuse the audience.
So how do you put that all together for an awesome stage design?
How to Design a Set and Stage Backdrop
In order to design a set and stage backdrop, you want to take into account the basic of good stage design as well as the components or strong design.
You can sketch the ideas out yourself and build it with your team or you can take your sketch to a stage production person who can add their professional touch and bring up any important questions or factors you may have missed. Some production companies will work as a professional consult on your design, while others will put it together for you from the design to the build out and then run it for you.
Which course of action you take will vary by stage design complexity, venue requirements, and budget.
How to Design Stage Lighting
In addition to incorporating the components of good design in your stage lighting plans, you want to work with a company that can help you do the following:
- Have the most impactful stage lighting for your budget
- Coordinate the assembly/mounting with the venue, making you aware of anything that is not allowed
- Use up-to-date tech to create a good experience for your audience
If you decide to do the lighting yourself, consider the following stage lighting questions:
What are your most basic lighting needs?
Do you want to create lighting zones? Are there areas that need different lighting from the main part of your stage? An example of this might be something happening on a side stage.
How can you use multiple points of light to enhance the audience experience? One light is a spotlight. Multiple points of light used at once can create drama and set the tone in a way that one light can’t.
Are you looking just for basic colors or patterns as well?
Could those colors be enhanced through patterns by using something like Gobos or projection mapping?
Will those patterns be used throughout? At one moment for emphasis? Or in combination to create a 3D effect?
An eye-catching stage design is one of the best investments you can make in order to increase social shares, interaction, and improve audience experience. But you want to ensure that when planning your stage design you factor in your audience demographics and preferences, your budget, and the feasibility of what you have in mind. Without careful consideration of these things, your big splurge could fail to bring the return you’re hoping for.