Wow it’s been a while since my last post, but I just wanted to share this presentation that I created for our annual sales conference. The conference was in Austin, TX. Since Austin has one of the best music scenes in the country I only found it fitting to create a music-themed presentation. The entire presentation was designed to mimic music poster design. I had a lot of fun with this presentation.
Here are a few of the slides from the deck.
I posted the full slide deck on Slideshare below.
Design, it’s an iterative process. A long iterative process…one that’s wrought with coffee, ink stains and lots of silent staring. That’s how it’s done, and it isn’t a bad thing.
PowerPoint designs should take a while. You should want to take the time to carefully craft your message rather than just throw bullet points on a slide. Here’s how iteration works:
The first slide was just a bullet list about the points that we wanted to make:
Initial sketches of ideas for what would be appropriate for the slide deck came next:
After these sketches were done, I went to my trusty Wacom tablet to bring the sketches into Adobe Illustrator. Once the sketches were done in Adobe Illustrator, they were saved as PNG files and brought into the slide deck. Check out the final result below.
This slide took upwards of 2 hours to make, but it was worth it. I always find that custom illustration, no matter how amateur, always gives the deck a more personal feel.
It’s not enough to just put your ideas down as a bullet list and call it a day. Go back to the points you want to make and design with those points in mind. Take the time and iterate!
Jesus (one of the Coursesites designers at Blackboard) and I had some creative freedom with this slide deck, so we ran with it. I hope you like the steampunk-ish imagery and typography. I’m glad that I work on a team that allows its designers to take some risks. Enjoy!
My wife and I are off to Italy tomorrow where we’ll surely indulge in some good wine and food. Art and design inspiration await! Look at the pic below, how can you not want be artistic!?!
I’ll have my sketch book, my iPhone and a Canon Rebel XT to capture some great moments.
I know it’s been a long time between posts, but I’ve been busy.
This is a post that’s been in the works for a long time. With this strategy, when employed, has a dramatic effect on your slides and can make them instantly more interesting and engaging. It’s a concept that designers, film makers and photographers have used for years to make their compositions more interesting. It’s called: the rule of thirds.
The rule of thirds states that an image is more pleasing when the subject is composed along imaginary lines which divide the image into horizontal and vertical thirds. It’s all about balance and making your images or slides more visually interesting.
Do you know why your parents’ vacation photos are so boring? Everything is centered! Your parents are dividing the subject of the picture into two and framing everything in the center. Their pictures don’t show movement, so ultimately, they’re not interesting.
How do we incorporate the rule of thirds in slide design? You can start by offsetting your text, as seen above. This makes your slides more visually appealing. Everyone expects a slide title at the top left corner of your slide, move the title around. Here are some examples:
When using pictures as a background, crop pictures and intentionally offset subjects to give your slides a sense of direction and visual interest.
Utilizing the rule of thirds will instantly make your presentations more interesting!
Lo and behold! There is a way to merge shapes in PowerPoint 2010! Sorry for my nerdy excitement, but I thought this feature was a long time coming.
The feature is hidden, so it takes a little bit of digging to find it, but once you’ve added it to your ribbon…watch out!
Here are some detailed instructions as to how to add the feature to your PowerPoint ribbon:
Here’s an example of some merged shapes that I did for a class presentation that I did last night.
I know they’re not the most fancy shapes, but I had to whip this presentation up on short notice.
Even if you’re not a comic book fan, you have to respect comics as a medium for effective storytelling. By combining story with art the reader is wholly immersed in the world created by the author and the artist. You should aim to do the same with your presentations.
Look at these panels from Frank Miller’s masterpiece 300:
These panels do a great job at transporting the reader to Thermopylae and give us real insight into the characters involved in the scene.
Let’s look at the traditional story arc:
The exposition or “beginning” really outlines the characters and the problem. Then we have the rising action where tension between the main characters starts coming to a head. Following the rising action, the climax is the focal point of the story where conflicts between characters are resolved. After the climax, the falling action concludes the story and tells us what’s next. So what do we have?
How can you tie these into your next presentation? Think about creative ways to tie in a story arc into your next presentation and your audience will greatly appreciate it!
So, here’s my confession, I’m a nerd. Not just a computer nerd that can give you definitions of jQuery, the MVC and phpMyAdmin, but I’m also a comic book nerd.
Yes, it’s true…
So what does my love of comic books have to do with this blog? Well, a few posts ago I promised a series of posts related to comics and how they can help you with presentation design, now I’m here to make good on that promise.
We’re going to take a look at the cover art for one of my favorite comics of all time, Spawn.
Todd McFarlane, in my opinion, is one of the greatest comic book artists of all time, and this cover is a perfect example of his amazing work. So what can this cover teach you about creating better PowerPoint slides? Two points today, more to come…
1. Color of the title art. This title is notable for several reasons, but the first thing I want you to notice is color. The color of the font highlights the colors present in the image. When you design a slide deck, your fonts should compliment the colors used in your imagery.
2. Size of the title art. Too many people design slide decks with under-sized fonts. STOP IT. You want people in the back of the room to easily read the text on your slides. Make the fonts you use larger and your audience will thank you!
If you employ these two tactics when creating your slides, you’ll be on the right track. Now, stay tuned for more on comics and how they can help you create better slides.