TEDx conferences notable for their encouragement of collaboration and conversation among participants. To encourage this conversation, the materials for the TEDxUF conference (the independent TED event hosted by the University of Florida each year) use a kind of mnemonic device to help participants remember the names of those they interacted with and enable them to connect after the conference. To create this mnemonic device, each participant was given a unique symbol derived from the letter frequency of their first name from their specific birth year. These symbols were used on collateral such as director name-tags, participants name-tags, posters, and event t-shirts.


1) Use the Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language to research letter frequency.

2) Compile the top 100 male and female baby names per year using data from the Social Security Administration‘s website.

3) Insert male and female data separately into a letter frequency counter to count how many times each letter appears in each gender in the given year.

4) Create an Excel sheet that can calculate the percentages of each letter when given a year and gender.I.e. 12% of the characters for female names in 1993 were A’s.

5) Use these percentages to create a symbol for a given name such as the names for the speakers, attendees, or directors. I.e., for Joe (19930, J is 3%, O is 6%, and E is 11%. Thus, the symbol for Joe (1993) is a 3 unit tall rectangle, next to a 6 unit tall rectangle, next to a 11 unit tall rectangle (all center-aligned).

  • Categories: Branding / Print