Design the experience

There are critical elements of stage design that will give your speakers confidence in their presentations, and your audience an optimal view — that way, everyone at your event can have the best experience possible.

Design your stage

The way your stage is designed will make a big impact on the presentation of your event. Here are some things to know:

Every stage is required to include your official TEDx logo with your full event name. So make sure you create a large logo and place it in a visible space on the stage. If you can’t get a stand-up, 3D logo, an image on screen, a poster, or a projected logo can also work.

Consider the view

Position your speakers, the screen and any props carefully so that there’s a good view for the audience. For example, you’ll want to give your speakers a specific place to stand for their talk. (A red circular carpet, perhaps?)

Lose the clutter

Power cables, multiple laptops, and projection rigs will distract your audience, so make sure they’re out of sight (or minimally visible). You'll want your guests to be able to give their full attention to the talks and performances.

Be creative

Without a little decoration, your stage will look cold and flat. Showcase your region, city, or local culture on your stage with props and visual elements. Even an interesting piece of art, technology or furniture (for example, an object that speaks to your event’s theme) can give your event a unique personality, and accent the speakers on stage.

Setting up your screen

The screen you use to show your TED Talks and speaker slides should be well-placed and primed to be accessible to everyone in the audience:

A well-placed screen

You'll want to place your projection or video screen where the audience won't have to turn their heads to see it, but also where it won't interfere with the live speaker.

Screen presentation

Use a screen with a 16:9 aspect ratio, and that's large enough to display text legibly in the back row.

Screen and speaker positioning

Raise your screen well above the head of your speaker to ensure all cameras get a clean shot of the speaker. If you can’t raise your screen high enough, place the speakers’ “home base” position to the side of the screen.

Lighting needs

You’re lighting the stage for video production, which is very different from your standard stage lighting. Things to make sure of:

Light the stage

Light enough of the stage so the speakers can roam around. Put a light on your TEDx event’s logo if possible, and light on your drape or background.

Keep light off of the screen

This one is important. Do everything you can to prevent light from spilling onto the screen; it could make for a big problem to both the live and recorded experiences.

Light your live speakers for video

Plan on a three-point lighting scheme. If necessary, consult a lighting director familiar with video production.

Seating arrangements

Consider the view and comfort level

If you’re creating your own seating arrangements, think carefully about the comfort of your audience. Make sure that everyone can see the screen and/or the speakers, and can navigate easily through seat rows. One option is to “rake,” or elevate, the seats.

Easy entrance and exit

Offer your host and speakers a simple way to get on and off the stage. There’s no need for a green room: participants and your host can even enter the stage from the audience.

Check out our Production Guide for more details on stage design and setup.

Green your event

What does being “green” mean?

Being green means being as environmentally friendly as possible. This means sourcing locally if you can, reducing waste, being energy efficient and working to have a TEDx event that's sustainable.

What can I do?

Follow the eco-friendly suggestions in our Greening Your Event Guide to keep the environmental impact of your TEDx event as low as possible. Also check out this How to TEDx talk on how to green your event.

TEDx Tips
  • Don’t use a black backdrop: If you are using a drape or a curtain as your backdrop, stay away from very dark colors or try to break up the black background with other stage elements. This will help create a separation between the speaker and the background for your video recordings.
  • Flat lighting will make even the most exciting performance dull to look at.
  • Even if your venue only has fluorescent lights, you can avoid the "lecture hall" look by borrowing floor lamps from your home and placing them at the foot of the stage. This is known as layered lighting.
  • Pay attention to noise: Try to block out background or outside noise, so that your audience isn’t distracted from the show.
Rules to remember
  • When you’re creating your TEDx logo for the stage, never use just the TEDx logo without your location name. Also never use the TED logo.
  • You can thank sponsors in different ways, but sponsor logos cannot be placed on a TEDx stage.