Test Drive: How To Use Pre-sized Templates to Create Graphics

Editors note

Like many of our readers, we have to do presentation design or graphics for our magazine.  With the complex landscape of social media and the lack of standardization, you have to get creative for how you can implement and represent your brand across multiple platforms. Not an easy task.

So take a test drive with us and experience how we created our own branded graphics across branded graphics style and extensions.  We share the steps we took to create banners for Google+, Twitter, Facebook, and even the “Editor’s Note” image we created for this article. Using pre-sized templates to create branded banners across platforms is efficient and saves you lots of time (and less gray hair!)

 

For this test drive, we choose to use Canva, an online graphic design platform. They offer a wide range of pre-sized templates, images, and typefaces to choose from. Their drag and drop feature makes it easy to create multiple versions – I like to do that to see visually what I like, and it stimulates others ideas.  So let’s have fun!

I have seen Guy Kawasaki demonstrate Canva and how he uses it at The Presentation Summit in New Orleans and at two other conferences here in the San Francisco Bay area.  His passion and imagination for designs bring alive the power of what you can do. He says, “Canva is democratizing design.” What he means is that Canva is a technology that enables the everyman to do graphic design with customizable templates and industry standard templates for social media and marketing materials   We can now add banners to our social media profiles.  But creating them is simple and easy to do.  That is where the power of Canva shows how smart their technology is.

First, they have already built custom layouts for each social media platforms with the “correct” sizes for each.  All you have to do is customize it for your brand.  First, you choose your platform, and the size is correct for where you need it – no more trying to figure it out in PowerPoint or opening a huge project file in Photoshop or Illustrator.

Just select the specific banner you will need for your social media account and start designing:

SFcanva 1

Putting Canva to the Test:

I selected the Instagram banner so I could create the “Editor’s Note” graphic at the top of this article. Let me explain how I created it.  First, I found the graphic image I wanted to use on Big Stock.

instagram step 1

Next, I uploaded the graphic to the template then added two lines of text to make it mine.  I also played around with some sizes and layouts that I thought would be additional options:

editors note option 2

And then I decided to use a different layout and by using a variety of fonts to personalize it –

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It was easy to do, and it looks very professional. You can drag and drop individual elements so you can find the right formula for what your design goals are.

How we used Canva-designed banners in our social media:

We also used Canva to create PresentationXpert’s social media banner. We created a brand for the social media look then we implemented across all the social media platforms.

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One of the features that made it easy to create banners for Twitter, Google+, Facebook and others. Check them out below:

Sharyn G= Presentatoinxpert

PXpert Google+ Page

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Twitter Banner and Profile

In creating some these banners, I discovered that Canva offers a “magic resize” option which offers you an easy way to create different size and type banners for different projects. It is as simple as clicking a few buttons and “Abracadabra – Resize!”. You can remix and reuse your design project by accessing them in your library.

This is just one example of a “How To” tip I found on Canva’s website and their wealth of resources and idea books to get you started. They offer several “design school” online courses that are great primers for designers. You can definitely enhance your skill set with some of their well-executed ideas.

How does Canva fit with PowerPoint?

emma bannisterGood question.We asked Presentation Studio’s Emma Bannister, who is a member of Canva Experts Design Community. Their members are leaders in the design industry who are passionate about Canva and committed to changing the way we think about design. Here is her viewpoint:

“The presentation layouts in Canva are simple and contemporary. It’s super-easy to click and drag to create professional looking designs. Utilize the numerous royalty free templates (see terms and conditions) or simply using them to kick-start your creativity. All you have to do is change the text to suit your needs! Editing of imagery is simple and efficient (think Instagram). Once your presentation is complete, share finished files via email or social media. Plus you can download a print quality PDF – perfect for hosting your presentations on slideshare.com.

Canva isn’t PowerPoint or Prezi. If you want animation or interactive presentations you won’t find it here. You can’t drag files into PowerPoint. Your only option of reusing assets is to save as a PDF and import the art files into illustrator and then reconvert. Not something I would suggest – why would you need to?

Yet Canva is a great resource for Infographics and typography layouts. If you’re a designer and know what you’re doing, Illustrator has more professional features. But for the everyday user who just needs an idea, and simple tools to create layouts Canva provides so many solutions. Just take a template, and follow your nose!”

Thanks, Emma!  In my opinon, Canva is a great compliment to PowerPoint or any other design platform. The only limit is your imagination.

 

About Sharyn Fitzpatrick:

The Presentation Summit 2013Sharyn has been part of the PresentationXpert team since June 2012.  She is the host and produces all of our webinars in addition to her new duties as editor.  Her journalism background, her love of design and technology gives her a passion for anything to do with presentations.  In addition to PresentationXpert, Sharyn is the Chief Marketing and Webinar Guru at Marcom Gurus which she started the agency in 2000 and is known as the “Webinar Chick” online.  Email her at sfitzpatrick@presentationxpert.com. Follow her on Twitter, @PXpert and @themarcomguru.

How to Create a Clickable (Choose Your Own Adventure) Table of Contents Slide

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a sleek and efficient way of navigating to the various sections of your presentation without ever having to exit from presentation mode?

In this article, I am going to show you step-by-step how to create a visually appealing Table of Contents slide which will allow you to jump around to specific sections of the presentation seamlessly.

This “Prezi-like” clickable Table of Contents slide can be particularly handy when:

  1. You have a lengthy presentation and want the flexibility of presenting various sections in a non-linear fashion.
  2. An audience member asks you to “go back” to a particular section of your presentation, and you want to find it quickly.
  3. You want to add some playfulness to your presentation.

Here’s a short 3-minute video that shows how it works:

Step #1 – Design Your Table of Contents Slide

 The first thing you need to do is create your Table of Contents slide. You can design this slide however you wish but just remember to make it visually appealing. Displaying text only on the slide is not going to cut it. Add some icons, images, etc. to make this slide stand out.
Clickable Table of Contents Image - 542 Width
Step #2 – Design All Your Section Header Slides
Section Header Image - 542 Width
Next, for each section of your Table of Contents slide you will need to create a section header slide. For example, if you have 12 sections in your Table of Contents slide you will need to create 12 section header slides (like the one seen in the above image).
Step #3 – Create Your Hyperlinks
Create your Hyperlinks Image - 542 Width
Next, for each section within your Table of Contents slide you are going to hyperlink it to its corresponding section header slide. You do this by right clicking the section header, select “Hyperlink”, select the “Place in this Document” Tab (on the left), and then choose the slide that you are going to hyperlink to. Repeat the process for all the remaining sections within the slide. Make sure to watch video at the beginning of the article, if you haven’t already, so you can see all the steps in action.
Step #4 – Optional Bonus Tip: Hyperlink All Your Slides Back to the Table of Contents Page
Hyperlink Back to the Table of Contents Slide - 542 Width
You may also want to have each slide in your presentation link back to your Table of Contents slide. This way you won’t have to exit out of the presentation mode to get back to your Table of Contents slide.
You do this by first creating some type of element (a shape, icon, image, etc.) that you then hyperlink back to the Table of Contents slide by following the same steps mentioned in step #3.
Conclusion
The beauty of creating a clickable (choose your own adventure) Table of Contents slide is that it gives you the flexibility of skipping to any section in your presentation with a single click of the mouse. No more fumbling through your entire deck to find the particular section you are looking for. It also adds some playfulness to your presentation that your audience craves. After all, who didn’t like reading those “choose your own adventure” books as a kid.
adamgryshirtAbout Adam Noar:
Adam Noar is the founder of Presentation Panda, a presentation design firm that develops presentations that truly stand out. He also writes about tips and tricks for creating beautiful looking slides including his book, Slides Made Simple. If Adam isn’t writing or building award winning presentations with his team of experts, you’ll find him playing soccer, surfing, or taking a long run along the San Diego coastline. For more information about the company’s products and services, visit adam@presentationpanda.com

Improving Your Online Presentation Skills with Ken Molay!

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Ken Molay, president of Webinar Success, presents tips to help you become a more effective online speaker. Presenting on a webcast or webinar is fundamentally different from speaking in front of an in-room audience. Since you and your audience cannot seeach other, your vocal style and the way you interact with the web conferencing software determines how you are perceived.

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You will learn how to prepare a presentation that complements the web environment and how to deliver it with confidence and professionalism. Discover ways to consciously adjust your vocal style in order to build rapport with your audience. Identify common presentation errors that can detract from your message.

As an added benefit, attend this event and receive a free speaker evaluation form that can be used to help identify strengths and weaknesses in your own presentation style.

 

About Ken Molay:

Ken MolayKen has a background in software development and marketing, working for companies such as Advanced Micro Devices, Syntelligence, Blaze Software, Brokat, HNC Software, and Fair Isaac. He has acted as development manager, product manager, and product marketing manager.

Ken has been producing and delivering business webinars since 1999. His background in public speaking, radio, stage acting, and training has given him a unique perspective on what it takes to create a compelling and effective presentation.

Ken enjoys world travel and spent a year on his own in Europe. He also spent five years as an international tour guide, leading groups throughout North America, England, and the South Pacific. Currently Ken offers consulting services through his company Webinar Success (http:/www.wsuccess.com).

 

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