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131 Stage Design Ideas for 2019

By EventMB Studio Team

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.


Happy planning!


Top 10 Event Stage Design Ideas

Undulating Structures

Water Elements

Live Social Stream

Projection Floor


Sci-Fi Influence


Hanging Light Installations

Giant Trees

Augmented Digital Mapping


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:

  • Lighting
  • Sound
  • 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

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.

Recycled Materials

Have any old CDs at your disposal? Maybe some old tapes? Using items you no longer find valuable as a backdrop is a good way to save money and bring in a bit of nostalgia.


Corrugated Plastic

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.

Foam Board

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.



A large impactful picture and some basic lighting can set the tone easily.


Geometric Patterns

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.



This is another way to use geometric patterns by creating screens out of them that flank the main action and cover up the side stages. They can be mounted on wheels to make them portable.


Fan Design

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.


Paper Plates

For those on a tight event budget and little time, paper plates come in a variety of colors, are easily mounted, and can create a much more expensive look when lit with beguiling colors.

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.


Interlocking Components

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.


Shadow Box

This simple idea consists of a black box with lighting behind it. Simply poke holes in the surface where you would like the light to shine through.


Floral Backdrop

What could be easier than attaching flowers to a fabric or paper background? This could also be done with a clear plastic.


Cascading Flowers

Similar to the idea above, but instead of attaching them to a fabric or paper background, you string flowers on clear fishing line or cascading fairy lights.


Woven Fabric

Braid panels of fabric together for this luxe small stage design backdrop.


Lit Pillars

These are easily moved and can add drama to your stage design when in clusters of different heights.


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.


Lamp Shades

Whether you use them on different-sized lamps or hang them with wire, they provide a soft candle-like lighting.


Umbrella Lighting

This quick stage design 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.

Contemporary Stage Design Ideas

Contemporary stage designs are clean and minimalistic. Here are a few modern stage design suggestions that can be easily implemented:


Common Materials

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.


PVC and Plastic

PVC and plastic are inexpensive materials but when stretched over frames they can give the look of glass or ice designs.


Undulating Structures

Even though these structures don’t actually move, they give the appearance of doing so.


Unusual Hangings

You can hang just about anything if you have strong enough wire or rope. Check out this creative idea.


Paper Chains

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.


Fabric Cocoons

These special lights are created through fabric for a nesting or teardrop effect.

You can hang them high overhead or use them on stage.


Close-up on the Ordinary

You can achieve this through LED walls or projection mapping, even screen printing. But the idea behind these stage structures is to create visual interest from a different perspective, like an extreme close-up.


Tiered Windows

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.


Travel Destinations

This is a cool example of integrating event themes or ideas into the backdrop. The traveling event show “BEDTalks” uses a large shipping crate with giant license plates stamped to show the different states on its corporate conference tour. An excellent idea to appeal to the demographic and give visibility on social media.

Credit: Encore Live


Gatsby Themed

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 takes a huge risk because it’s ultra-modern and shaves off all of the extras. It’s a white canvas for your event sessions and lighting.


String Curtain

This creative curtain ties together lit strings for a dramatic statement. Colors can be switched out easily and it won’t overpower your entertainment.



While most event planners or acts use lighting to achieve watery looks, if your venue can handle it, you could surprise and delight your audience with the real thing. If you do, just make sure you factor in the noise of your water installation if you’re using it during presentations. While a band may be able to be heard easily over it, rushing water can quickly drown out a speaker.

Creative Panel Idea

If your panel speakers are covering a concept that’s a little out there and you’re able to have some fun with it, consider an off-kilter stage set up. If you’re hosting a debate, you could construct it so that for every point scored, the non-scoring side gets slanted a little.

Note: this is probably not ideal for a very serious discussion at a medical society, but could work very well in a SXSW-type panel discussion about lighter topics surrounding entertainment.



Multi-level platforms or boxes can add drama to your stage.


Cargo Containers

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.


Branded Sets

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..


Up Lighting

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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#readysteady #tedxbrussels

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Live Social Media Stream

The SXSW edu conference and festival this year made great use of staging and three screens, as you can see here. They swapped between a live social media stream and a live camera feed of the speaker on the two outer screens. Combining the lighting and background created a consistent theme and helped to keep everything branded. The tactile staging panels added a touch of opulence too.


Asymmetrical Wonky Screens

Incorporating traditional screens with an asymmetrical design creates an interesting effect. Here, Protec shows that you can spruce up an old idea and do something different that works. Each of these screens could run graphics or branding opportunities or could just be used as color displays to match the digital backdrop.


Shaped Backdrop

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.

Designed by Eventco Ireland.


Giant Letter Lighting

Make a statement like they did at Flavour Conference. They used bold lit letters on stage. This reinforces branding at either large or small events and creates fantastic marketing images, making the event easy to identify across social media. You can use this structure as a selfie backdrop later on as well.


In The Round

This conference stage design by Michalsky has a unique set up to appeal to its larger audience and shows that you don’t necessarily need a backdrop to be effective if you are willing to experiment. Using a 360-degree stage (in the round) runway allows speakers to engage with the entire audience, while the screens project images for those at the back.


Enclosed Backdrop

This fun idea by Qatar Foundation creates beautiful clean lines and a unique staging space. The sides offer branding opportunities and the geometric lighting design focuses and draws the eye to center stage.

Geometric Pillars

For strange stage layouts these geometric pillars at this Chicago conference can be easily moved to accommodate and the lighting helps to bring them to life. Leah Boston also shows that they can bring larger stages in closer to make them feel more intimate and get rid of dead space.

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This is cool #ieg2017. Always impressed by one of the original content creators @unclerush #brilliant

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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.


Screen Cut-out

Make the backdrop more interesting and use a frame screen with cutouts like this church did. Note how much depth is added with the ombre lighting pattern. This not only makes the stage more dynamic and modern, but it can be reproduced very inexpensively.


Oversized Screen

For Microsoft, it was go big or go home at the 2017 Microsoft Ignite conference. The use of two massive screens helps to accommodate the larger audience while having eye-popping graphics, 3D boxes, and plenty of marketing and branding opportunities.

Projection Floor

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.

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It's about to get started #wobinyc

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GOBO Lights

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.


Adaptive Stage

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.


Full Height Backdrop

Make an impact using different sized screens and offering a glimpse of the view through the windows behind like this conference backdrop by Wizard Studios. The middle screen not only acts as a branding opportunity to compliment the side screens but it provides an interesting starry night backdrop too.


Cut-Out Combinations

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.


Curved Backdrop

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.


Star Entrance

Incorporate the stage entrance into the staging itself, like this stunning star design from Moet & Chandon did. Not only is it visually appealing in one, well-lit star, but they positioned a path of them that lends to depth and movement.


Cube Lights

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.


Marquee Letters

Use marquee letters as sponsorship or event signage opportunities. Then double them up as a backdrop to the stage like this idea. It’s a way of leaving things open, not taking up too much height but still creating cool effects while getting your point across. This example is simple but effective and looks like the stage extends into the letters.

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:


Outline Artistry

This idea uses lighting to trace the important design elements leaving an intriguing minimalist design.



3D foam creates an ethereal backdrop in this example. Like the castle above, it can be lit with different colors to set the tone from a dreamy sunset to a sinister malevolence.


Flat Objects for 3D Effect

These relatively flat objects have been arranged into 3D designs for added interest. With lighting, they give the appearance of a dense forest.


Creating Movement in a Static Design

This design shows how static items can give the impression that they are moving. Animate some lighting effects and the audience could feel like they are in the middle of a paper storm.


Monochromatic Shade Design

Forget the rainbow. A monochromatic theme can set a tone.



This nod to the moon and the sun is whimsical and celebratory.


Off-kilter Lighting

Stage lighting provides a lot of options for creating perceived movement and drama. Check out how placing lighting at a slight angle can provide even more interest.


Nothing commands attention quite the way fire does. Whether it’s a constant flame in your stage design or one that appears during poignant times, it will get noticed and evoke emotion.


Maximize Views from Every Seat

Stages with ample space and side projection screens will ensure that no matter where someone is sitting they’ll be able to catch the action.


Fluorescent Flagging Tape

Applying fluorescent flagging tape to a wire sign and affixing it to a point in the background is an easy way to create 3D interest.

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.


Concert Castle

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!

Credit: Thermocut


Sunburst Design

A sunburst design on your stage can signify the dawn of a new day, exciting beginnings, or soothing finishes depending on your lighting. Check out this idea from the Oscars.



Crystals reflect light in dazzling ways.


Sci-Fi Influence

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.


Enchanting Design

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.


Circular Staircase

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.


Aerial Interest

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.


Reflective Flooring

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.


You’ve likely seen pictures all over social media “showing” people holding the Tower of Pisa in their hand or someone photobombing. You can accomplish this same whimsy by incorporating a large image behind the speaker. You will have your audience laughing in no time.

Comfortable Seating

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.


Tagline Staging

Along those same lines, this stage design incorporates the theme or message for the event front and center.


Stage Length

While color makes a pretty dramatic impact, so does the length of this stage. It measures 38 yards wide.


Surround Screens

Round stages provide intimate experiences and good views. Round screens can do the same. This one is in a semi-circle to draw the audience in.


Pyramid Screens

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.


Balloon Backdrop

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!


Picture Combinations

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.


Digital Spatter

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.


Flowing Drapery

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.


Giant Trees

Trees can provide a wonderful sense of life as well as doorways through which to enter different parts of your stage.


Creative Doorways

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.

Familiar Design

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.

Stage Backdrops

Whether you build it out or simply use lighting to affect the mood, the stage backdrop is important in setting a tone.


Multi-Wall Projection

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.


Credit: Henry Pascual Events


Enchanted Garden

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!


Credit: Branching Out Events, Artifacture Studios, Absolute Entertainment, Amy Karp, AACWP


Signage Fabrics

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


Dramatic Cut-Outs

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.


Informal Lanterns

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


Lit Boxes

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


Ombre Balloons

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


Western Talks

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


Adaptable Elements

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.

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Post #4: The 2015 87th Academy Awards After an impressive viewership in 2014 with host Ellen DeGeneres, the production team hired Neil Patrick Harris for the 87th Academy Awards. He had previously hosted four Tony Awards and two Primetime Emmys, and so the producers thought he'd bring home audience gold. So, what did we think? FRANKI (tcg+visual Executive Producer): When we at tcg+visual produce a live event, we like to create scenic and set pieces that allow the ability to completely change the look of the room for each segment. This year, the red proscenium gave an old-school movie theater feel to the show, but I felt the hue limited how much they could deviate from complementary colors. I absolutely loved the circular feel of the stage elements this year, mainly the metallic Oscar statue cutout backdrop and the crystal curtain. Those stage pieces really helped tie into the arch shape of the proscenium. RALPH (tcg+visual Visual Design Director): In 2015, the designers moved away from the clean repetitive patterns of previous years to more organic shapes and textures. For me, this worked well in some cases, and not as well in others. I loved the twisty towers that spun across the stage between segments and during entrances. They provided a wonderful energy to the transitions. However, the hodgepodge of floating Oscar statues at times made the set feel cluttered, and there was a moment or two when I found it difficult to see the rear screen. The blue exterior movie palace backdrop was a big winner for me this year. The blue neon color matched beautifully with the Edison bulbs and red proscenium. KELSY (tcg+visual Director of Live Events): Once again, the designers went with a giant LED screen that split apart. It was one of my favorite elements from 2014. I'm glad they brought it back another year but wish they would have done something different with the split to mix it up a little bit. I also felt the show direction wasn’t nearly as good. The cameras seemed to have trouble following the action on stage and finding the celebrities for reaction shots.

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Credit: tcg+visual

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 Honeycomb

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


Floor Extension

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.


Lit Letters

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.


Ceiling Lighting

This type of suspended lighting is very versatile but requires extensive rigging.


Runway Lighting

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.

The venue.

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.

  • keyboard_arrow_right LINE/SHAPE: the outline of the stage, items, and extras.
  • keyboard_arrow_right MASS: the bulk or weight of the items on stage. Ideally, mixing this up provides visual interest.
  • keyboard_arrow_right COMPOSITION: this speaks to where the items are on stage. It can be used to lead the eye or stop it.
  • keyboard_arrow_right TEXTURE: this is the visual “feel” of items on stage. They could be shiny, pebbled, silky, or other descriptors.
  • keyboard_arrow_right 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:

  • keyboard_arrow_right Balance
  • keyboard_arrow_right Unity
  • keyboard_arrow_right Variety
  • keyboard_arrow_right Harmony
  • keyboard_arrow_right Movement
  • keyboard_arrow_right Rhythm
  • keyboard_arrow_right Emphasis


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:

keyboard_arrow_right Have the most impactful stage lighting for your budget
keyboard_arrow_right Coordinate the assembly/mounting with the venue, making you aware of anything that is not allowed
keyboard_arrow_right 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.


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EventMB Studio Team
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