Event Planner, Designer or Producer: aren’t they all the same thing?

Event Designer
1024 683 Next Level Event Design

People often ask us, “isn’t an Event Planner, Event Designer, and Event Producer the same thing?” Let me rephrase that; is a Financial Planner, an Interior Designer, and a Construction Foreman the same thing?   Some may argue “yes”.  However, when hiring the right person for a job, you might consider one over the other.

Over the past decade, the events industry has seen rapid growth throughout a vast hybrid of industries. This has resulted in quick adoption, and at times misuse of position titles and terminology, both by those of us within the industry as well as those looking to utilize our services.

Our clients come to us because they are looking for a solution to ease their pain-points.  Sometimes they need a partner to help with the overall event, soup-to-nuts.  Other times they just need some creative input or additional boots on the ground to make it all happen.  Each client and event require a different level of support. Knowing what to ask for (as well as knowing what you are getting) is a very important first step.

We’ve provided the descriptions below to highlight the differences between the roles of an Event Planner, Event Designer, and Event Producer.  You’ll see that they each provide differing and diverse functionalities throughout the meetings and event process.

Event Planner:  Known for Strategy & Detail

Event Planner


An Event Planner is your strategic partner who will assist you throughout the process, from beginning to end.  This is usually the first person to align with and he/she will assist in creating the meeting/event objectives, developing the structure of the event, recommending appropriate venues and needs for the event, and providing guidance on appropriate event partners (vendors) to engage for a successful event outcome.

In addition to the strategy, Event Planners are also well versed in building the foundation of an event including developing and managing registration systems, executing the strategy behind marketing efforts, and having a vast knowledge of industry experts, venues, and vendors to ensure the right ones are selected for your specific program.  Additionally, they typically take on the role of a project manager, making sure the project stays on course, avoids scope creep, keeps focused on the initial objectives, and stays within budget and is logistically sound.

Event Designer: Known for Aesthetic & WOW Factor


An Event Designer is your aesthetic partner, the artist and visionary helping to bring creativity and excitement to the overall event experience while conveying the messaging and event objectives.  This can include anything from overall event color scheme, digital and print graphics, how to use the venue, selecting the right linen, floral, furniture and lighting, and as foodie culture continues to grow, the designer is becoming more involved in menu selection and presentation as well.

An event designer works closely with the planner and the client to ensure the right mood is being set, the branding is in line with the company’s messaging, and all the elements sourced are in budget and available for the event.  A great event designer is very well-versed in current trends not only in the event industry, but globally in the architectural, interior design, culinary and graphic design worlds.  They use this knowledge and exposure to bring the appropriate elements into the event to make the experience exciting, fresh, and engaging for an audience.  Event designers are the secret ingredient that take your event beyond a company logo.

Event Producer: Known for Action – Make it Happen!

Event Producer


An Event Producer makes it all happen – they are the action! Whereas planners and designers often work in the abstract and guide the many various elements and details toward fruition, the producers are the ones that bring it all to life. They manage the large team of professionals including the various vendors for the install and strike of the event.  They also oversee the onsite staff, which includes everyone from the registration staff, to the production team, to the catering staff, to the overall event management team.

They are the people running around the venue talking on radios, generally looking like they are someplace else (likely 5 minutes ahead of where you currently are, putting out a fire and covering it up before you even notice).  Event Producers embody the unique skill of being able to understand the abstract design and bring it to life via detailed and concise communication while effectively leading a team in real-time.


Event Planners, Designers and Producers each have unique skills and innate talents which independently keep a project on track, but collectively make the difference in creating an exceptional and cohesive event. There are some seasoned industry professionals who have honed their talents and developed the skills to function as all three roles throughout a process. These event professional powerhouses are few and far between.

The benefit of engaging an event management company is that they employ a team of industry professionals who are extremely experienced in playing each of these particular roles. Whether you  need strategic partners and project managers to keep the process moving forward while managing the nitty-gritty, the creative minds to make the overall event more engaging, or the team of professionals to make it all come to life; companies like Next Level Event Design (shameless plug) have the Event Planners, Designers and Producers to make it happen!