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David Merrell

Insider Tips on Forecasting the Future of Event Design

Special event design expert David Merrell of AOO Events gives event design forecasts 

David Merrell
How are trends decided upon? What higher power deems A or B to be what’s trending now?

Truthfully, the answer lies in whose voice is the greatest. Trends are opinionated--and the greatest opinion--the loudest voice--shapes and molds the trend of the time.

However, with this said, we as event professionals should be very cognizant of those trends. Aware of what the people are craving to see from our designs, proposals and end products. It’s crucial in our industry to understand how to not lose your personal creative voice while still adhering to the trend of the season.

So, what's trending now?

Trends in fashion

black and white party

Trends in fashion

While we may not be in the business of fashion—that is, clothing per se--as designers and creatives as a whole, it’s vital that we’re on the pulse of what people are wearing and how they are “decorating” themselves. In turn, it’s our responsibility to take our clients' personal aesthetic choices and mold those into our designs and use their style as our inspiration.

Sometimes, it is just black and white!

From the streets of New York to a fashionable wedding, black and white color combinations are prevalent in the fashion market. So as event designers, why not play to this trend and incorporate it into our designs?

Photo of black and white party designed and photographed by AOO Events

Trends in food

Local food

Trends in food

Shop local. Eat local. Staying local is indeed a trend that has taken foodies by storm. Catering companies such as Los Angeles-based Good Gracious Events have gone so far as to develop and curate menus specifically to adhere to the concept “shop local” trend.

Photo of The Little Gray Book launch party / Photo by Kristina Lee Photography


What’s modern now--mobile everything

CORT outlet furniture

What’s modern now--mobile everything

For a while now, the surplus of technological advances both inside and outside our industry has been significant, and as designers we would be negligent to deny that influence on our design aesthetics. The CORT Event Furnishings line of fashionable charging decor, which features electric outlets embedded in furniture, is only one example of the impact technology holds and its importance and value to our companies. Photo courtesy CORT.

The mini, branded charging stations from SOS Charging Solutions are another simple yet effective means of providing our clients with a valuable service--all the while maintaining and executing our design goals.


Exterior design goes indoors

CORT outdoor elements

Exterior design goes indoors

Bring the outside, in. We can’t all be so lucky to live in the sunny state of California, where it nearly hardly ever rains and remains a consistent 78 degrees. So for those whose clients might want to be surrounded by greenery and enjoy the outdoors (while never having to leave the luxury of air conditioning), we as event pros have options.

From an increase in the presence of florals to "living" greenery walls to furniture designed to mirror the great outdoors, we can adhere to the trend of creating a fresh, outdoorsy feel for our clients who prefer the convenience of lounging in a space with four walls.

Photo courtesy CORT


Trends in floral

Floral headdress

Trends in floral

From social to corporate, floral is, has been, and will always be a staple of event design. It’s how we use those florals and a combination of the inspiration from current trends and client wishes that will set one event apart from another.

Floral Trends in Weddings: While the floral-headpiece trend is no stranger to the average wedding planner, the extent of what one can do with this once “outdated" trend--which has taken on new life--could be just the icing on the cake, and one that the client will fall madly, deeply in love with.

Photo from California Wedding Day / Photo by Brian Leahy Photo

Floral Trends in Corporate Branding: Don’t be afraid to stray from traditional branding tools, such lighting, incorporating brand colors in linens, etc., etc. It’s OK to go big. Splash their name on the walls. On floral walls that is. Give your clients the unexpected—new—different--trendy.


David E. Merrell is CEO and creative director of Los Angeles-based AOO Events.

Since founding AOO Events in 1989, David Merrell’s name has become synonymous with cutting-edge event design and production. David and his team at AOO have been honored by a wide range of professional organizations with more than 25 International awards in a wide range of categories, including  the Special Events Gala Award--a testament to the diversity and talent within his company.

He has served on the Advisory Board of Special Events magazine and the ISES board as president of the Greater Los Angeles Chapter.

He has led the industry into the age of social media with his award-winning and internationally recognized online magazine and special events industry forum, DesignDawgs

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