The Evolution of TEDx Events and Branding

TEDx Design

TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged. Since then, the organization has expanded its reach to include conferences, a video platform and a wide array of programs with one goal in mind: spreading ideas.

Teams are no longer required to include the TEDx tagline “x=independently organized TED event” in their logos. However, they must still use their unique event name (including the full location name) in all branded materials.

Stage Design

TED is an organization that spreads ideas worth spreading through short talks of 18 minutes or less. TEDx events are independently organized by local communities under a free license from TED. Each TEDx event has its own theme and speakers, but some design elements must be consistent across all events.

TEDx branding standards include the use of a specific font (Helvetica) and the color red in all designs. The wording “TEDx” must be written in all caps and centered. Your location name must appear below the TEDx logo and be aligned left.

You can use dimensional letters as part of your stage design, but they must be attached to a base so they don’t stand up on their own. Using a patterned fabric or a paint pattern is also acceptable as long as it doesn’t cover the entire background of the letters.

Social Areas

TED is an organization that shares ideas worth spreading. It began in 1984 as a conference where technology, entertainment and design converged, and now covers topics ranging from science to business to global issues. TEDx events are independently organized, but they are based on the TED philosophy and guidelines.

When organizing a TEDx event, it’s important to choose a team of volunteers with the right skills and bandwidth. Look for people with prior project management or event planning experience and who are passionate about TED’s mission.

Cathlyn Melvin helps mission-driven personal brands craft world-changing messages through TEDx coaching and done-for-you copywriting services. She’s been featured on Thrive Global, She Built This, Captivate + Convert, and more. Learn more at her website.


Badges are one of the most important event materials for attendees. They provide a key piece of information that is used throughout the conference to help navigate and build community.

Badge decks are a great opportunity to experiment with different types of design. Whether it’s breaking the ice with custom conversation starters or making sure that names are readable from across the room, badges should be designed for maximum ease of use.

For TEDx Grand Rapids, we created badge backs that were the philosophical embodiment of our theme: “They look to you.” Each badge featured a grid of headshots from humanity’s great “shifters,” like Florence Nightingale, Wernher von Braun, and Claude Shannon, who were each meant to be looking at the attendee. The badges also included the attendees’ own headshot to further personalize and create a sense of community among attendees.


TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged. Today, the TED brand covers all topics, from science to business to global issues – and sparks conversations and connections around them. TEDx events are local, independently organized events that use the TED format to spark conversation and community engagement in their communities.

Using the TEDx event license, you can create your own TEDx event to share bold ideas, inspirational stories and transformative experiences with your friends, students or community. Organizers must apply for the TEDx license and agree to the terms of the program.

When you design your event materials, make sure that your logo and fonts are consistent with the TEDx guidelines. Helvetica is the recommended font, but you can also choose Inter Light, which is an open-source alternative.

Event Materials

While TEDx events are independently organized on a community basis, they all share several key features. They are a day of talks, demonstrations and performances that engage participants and foster conversations. They rely on a combination of TEDTalks videos and local presenters to introduce the community to new ideas and inspire dialogue.

TEDx event logos should adhere to the TEDx brand guidelines and be framed by a solid white or black background. They should never be placed on photographic, patterned or illustrated backgrounds.

TEDx organizers may approach prospective sponsors, but the sponsor logos cannot remain on stage for more than a few seconds or be included in team photos. They also cannot influence the content of talks or promote products or services that violate TED’s rules.

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