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TED 2018

  • Visual Content
  • Event Opener
  • Technical Design
  • Projection Mapping

The TED Conference is nothing short of iconic. The conference experience, curation and environment is all unmatched in its goal to present “ideas worth spreading.” Attendees of TED gather at the TED stage to experience first hand the impact of ideas that may well cause a ripple effect felt around the world.


C&S was invited by TED to bring the 2018 TED stage to life through stage design, environmental graphics, animation, speaker bumpers and a breathtaking opener. C&S has had the privilege of supporting TED since 2015 through large scale projection and media server design and integration, so we were delighted to continue this collaborative relationship in 2018. C&S was uniquely positioned to lead both the creative as well as technical design integration and execution on site for one of the world’s most iconic stages.

The theme for TED 2018 — “The Age Of Amazement” — explored all the ways in which the world we are living in is filled with amazing, shocking, beautiful, terrifying and bizarre changes. The team at TED asked us to dream up something that would bring this concept to life on stage. To unpack this theme and support the curation team’s vision for each session, we developed a stage design that was sure to amaze.


We started by considering how to extend the canvas beyond the existing triple wide screen on the TED stage by utilizing the Rockwell Group designed wood cases on stage as projection mapped set pieces. This required us to completely re-engineer the projection and media server infrastructure in the TED theatre. We then explored a wide variety of visual motifs that would support the idea of “amazement” when tied to the specific theme in each curated session of talks.

Design & Production

In producing custom content for each session environment, we leveraged a wide variety of tools, techniques and mediums, from traditional animation, 3D animation, illustration, film and vintage film VFX techniques, pulling in some of the brightest artists, animators and illustrators to collaborate with us in this ambitious project. Each unique stage look — and the techniques used to produce them — was tied closely to the themes in each session.

Finally, we produced a stunning animation piece to open TED 2018, a stylized fly-through of the various eras and ages of history. This piece culminated in the audience breaking through into a new a mysterious, exciting, somewhat frightening new age: The Age of Amazement.

For TED 2018, we wanted to create a cohesive look and experience on the TED stage and in the theatre that really brought the overall conference theme and design to life. With so many moving pieces and so many different TED talks, this is a massive challenge! Simply put, this was the most seamless experience both creatively and organizationally I have experienced.

The C&S team not only went above and beyond but they managed to reach creative highs which resulted in not only a beautiful stage experience for the attendees but a gorgeous look for the camera. Working with the team is a dream - a very good dream - hard working, so creative and solution based throughout. Colours & Shapes not only understands the process and tech to pull off a massive project like this, they also know how to execute creatively - which is a hard combo to find! They are the best in the business.

Mina Sabet