What comes to mind when you hear the phrase “inclusive event”?
The phrase governs the design process for Smyle, a UK events, experience and content agency. From accessibility to catering to learning styles, Smyle is leading the way by creating events where everyone feels welcome, and their methods prove that it’s not as difficult as you might think.
In this article, you’ll get acquainted with Smyle through their work with brands like Red Bull and Meta. You’ll also hear from the firm’s Strategy Director, Dax Callner, about what it takes to create events that leave an impression on everyone in attendance.
Smyle specializes in creating unique experiences that intersect physical events with digital media. The agency has worked with some of the biggest names in the entertainment and media industry, including Samsung, Facebook, and Wella.
Smyle prides itself on creating effective live events that capture the imagination and engage the senses. The company uses cutting-edge technology to create immersive environments that are truly one-of-a-kind. From live concerts and gaming tournaments to experiential marketing campaigns, Smyle has a proven track record of delivering amazing live experiences that connect physical and digital audiences. Their events are highly technical and often include multimedia components and content experiences.
We as a company are trying to do work that delivers positive social change to brands, audiences, and the world around us. It makes us feel good and it’s aligned with the values of our clients. We approach client relationships as consultants with a strong point-of-view to do things as sustainably and inclusively as possible.
The diversity and breadth of projects Smyle work on is a testament to the quality of their work for the last 15 years. Of course, an event portfolio depends on the clients who want to work with you, and some well-known clients have approached Smyle.
See what Smyle says about their work through a series of project summaries below for clients like Red Bull, Facebook, and Salesforce.
There are many ways that Smyle ensures their events are inclusive. They consider things like accessibility, cultural differences, and audience value. They pay attention to specific areas allowing them to create content experiences that deliver for all.
For example, some people are visual learners and need to see information to process it whereas some are auditory learners and need to hear information to understand it. And still, other people are kinesthetic learners who need to engage with content physically.
Consider a conference, for example. A conference designed with only visual learners in mind may feature nothing but PowerPoint presentations. However, if the conference also included breakout sessions where attendees could discuss the topics at hand, auditory learners would have a better experience. And if there were opportunities for attendees to participate in hands-on activities, kinesthetic learners would benefit.
“How do we create content experiences that are weighted to different learning styles, that allow people to choose how they want to engage with the content?” Callner mused. “I also think a lot about neurodiversity when it comes to events. How can we create environments that allow people who are on the autism spectrum, for example, not to get stuck in a huge, loud, buzzing environment?”
Typically, in our industry, we love big, busy, bustling events, but that can be quite challenging for someone who’s not comfortable with that kind of environment. A big part of our agenda is to consider neurodiversity as well as physical impairments and to advocate for these areas with the client who’s hosting the event.
Altering how we approach networking, Callner said, is a good example of this. “Maybe we’re at an event and there’s an app on your phone designed for networking,” he said. “Maybe my phone shows me who else in the room is interested in dogs. That would be such a great icebreaker for people who aren’t exactly comfortable socially.”
Smyle uses Vectorworks Spotlight to design and manage their productions. The software allows them to create highly technical and multimedia-rich events and enables them to manage all aspects of their production, from stage design to multimedia components.
We’ve done events virtually as well. Even for these events that we aren’t actually building, Vectorworks Spotlight really helps us pull everything together. We use the software because it gives us all the tools we need in terms of screens, rigging, stages, and lighting. We use a lot of the content libraries in the software to help with 3D models and to build scenes.
By modeling the event space in Vectorworks, Smyle has access to a central method for managing and communicating project information. The model can be a source for material quantities, cost estimates, and other helpful takeoffs.
“We tend to 3D model everything in Vectorworks, then export to Twinmotion,” Gable said. “Having a real-time rendering engine side-by-side with Vectorworks makes our workflow a lot quicker. It also helps to communicate with our production department, we can share the model with them and have the model receive live updates,” Gable explained.
Images in this article are courtesy of Smyle.