Dendrimers are now an important class of light-emitting material for use in organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs). Dendrimers are branched macromolecules that consist of a core, one or more dendrons, and surface groups. The different parts of the macromolecule can be selected to give the desired optoelectronic and processing properties. The first light-emitting dendrimers were fluorescent but more recently highly efficient phosphorescent dendrimers have been developed. OLEDs containing light-emitting dendrimers have been reported to have external quantum efficiencies of up to 16 %. The solubility of the dendrimers opens the way for simple processing and a new class of flat-panel displays. In this Review we show how the structure of the light-emitting dendrimers controls key features such as intermolecular interactions and charge transport, which are important for all OLED materials. The advantages of the dendrimer architecture for phosphorescent emitters and the way the structure can be varied to enhance materials performance and device design are illustrated.