The TEDx Program is an initiative created by TED to promote independent organizers that wish to host TED-based events in their communities, and to encourage ‘ideas worth spreading’. As a fan of this concept and of many incredible presentations that TED has supported, I was instantly interested when asked to be the Creative Director of California Polytechnic State University's first ever TEDx event, which was to be completely organized and run by Cal Poly students.
Throughout months of planning, the executive team was very productive at organizing all of the event's logistics; however, the designers initially picked to promote TEDxCalPoly were working on the project remotely during the summer, which made communication weak and design progress stagnant.
As part of the executive design team, my co-worker knew she wanted to find a good head designer to lead the TEDxCalPoly team with branding and marketing for the event. After assisting her during my summer internship, she presented the idea that I would lead a team of designers and create an entire identity and brand guide to coincide with the event's theme, Plot Twist.
I decided that the branding of this event should incorporate the look and feel of storytelling, yet represent the intention and emotion the speakers will have during their talks. I transformed these ideas into a look that represented the professionalism of the event, the grandeur of the presentations, and the excitement everyone would feel from hearing the stories told about plot twists.
Leading a group of other student designers, we came up with various materials used throughout the event, based on a style guide I drafted to keep the branding consistent. One of the materials handed out to every attendee and used most often by the guests was the Passport.
The Passport, a forty page saddle-stitched booklet I designed from scratch, housed “location checkpoints” where the attendees were able to visit stations in the venue's lobby and get stamped for visiting each station. The Passport also contained information about the speakers, the sponsors, and had a place for notetaking.
All of the collateral for the event was printed by University Graphic Systems (UGS), a student-run printing company that I am currently the Marketing Manager for. UGS printed nearly 200 posters, 500 postcards, and 1,300 Passports all within the week preceding the event.
The event took place on October 21, 2016 and was very successful, selling out at one thousand tickets. All ten speakers did a phenominal job with their speeches and presentations, and the attention to detail with the design and the “Plot Twist” branding made the experience something so much more than any student-run school event. TEDxCalPoly was an experience that enabled the speakers to tell their stories and create plot twists within the guests' hearts, and that's what truly made this project worth designing for.
The executive team and many of the volunteers did an incredible job at making this happen, and we're looking forward to what may come about with TEDxCalPoly next year. Feel free to look at the website for the event using the visit link!