The Graphic Design Industry – Where Does a Presentation Designer Fit?

In the last decade, the emergence of Presentation/PowerPoint Designer roles has skyrocketed from the darkened corner of Desktop Publishing (DTP) to the heights of keynote speeches and world-viewed presentations as well as touched on practically every design discipline in-between. The niche lovechild of DTP and Graphic Design, Presentation Design, now sits on the precipice of becoming the newest specialization in Graphic Design.

A Phenakistoscope

The history of graphic design has seen the development of three major disciplines each of which have various levels of overlap. Of the three key disciplines, the print-based design was the first and oldest. The next development was motion design with the earliest examples being the Phenakistoscope and then the animated flipbook in the early-to-mid 1800s. As the century ended, there was an explosion of interest in motion and animation design which then thrived for the next 100 years and now every time you turn on a TV, you are bombarded with motion design, everything from the intro reel of your favorite news channel to the credits at the end of a movie. The third discipline, Interactive Design, evolved broadly with the advent of computing. The user not only watched motion or looked at print, but could also interact with it by giving commands or prompts. The first broad use of interactive design was in the mid-to-late 1900s with early computer systems. As computers became more sophisticated and operating systems were designed and improved upon, the visual design became more and more important. This was the first boom in interactive design, with early operating systems leading the way. As the World Wide Web developed, this form of design branched out and exploded across the world, every website is an interactive design, every program on your computer (including PowerPoint) is an example of this design discipline. In fact, anyone reading this article either on a phone or on a computer is engaging in at least 3 levels of interactive design.

The development and emergence of these disciplines of design have been largely chronological, however, the big question that is most relevant to us today is: where does Presentation Design sit? After discussions with many people from these disciplines, there is a feeling that Presentation Design sits outside the scope of Graphic Design altogether. I’ve met many professional and highly skilled Graphic Designers across all these disciplines who will simply not touch Presentations. Why? Because there is a significant stigma associated with working within the programs available to create presentations (PowerPoint, Keynote, Prezi, etc.). Some blame lack of features, some blame inexperience, some blame operability, but ultimately it stems from the elitism of specialist Graphic Design software and the ‘commonness’ of Presentation Design software.

I see PowerPoint a little differently. I see it as a tool that can encompass all of these design aspects. Admittedly, there are pros and cons of using PowerPoint as a tool to produce each of these designs, however, show me a program that allows you to display on one screen your design, which encompasses the principles of print design, then seamlessly integrates animation into the design all the while allowing the end user to navigate them, or allowing a pilot to navigate an audience through a non-linear presentation based on the needs of the audience, all whilst being a program that is included in the world’s most famous productivity suite of applications and on over 500 million computers worldwide. Nearly everyone with a computer has PowerPoint. Anyone can open the program, create some slides, some bullet points and press ‘Start Slideshow’. This does not make them a Presentation Designer. The hurdle we need to overcome is not introducing Presentation Design to the world, the hurdle is to show the world what Presentation Design SHOULD be.

The good news is that a Presentation Designer is always in relatively high demand. Industry demand will only ever grow for this service as pitches and inter-business presentations become so competitive many companies are moving from ‘getting whoever knows how to use PowerPoint in the office’ to ‘getting a professional with knowledge of audience communication and best practice in designing for these circumstances’.

The big question is, will the Graphic Design industry eventually accept Presentation Design (and by extension, PowerPoint) as a new specialization? What do you think? Let’s get the conversation started.

Email me and editor@presentationxpert.com with your thoughts.

About Tom Howell:
Tom Howell is a PowerPoint designer and the founder of Synapsis Creative, a boutique presentation design agency. Tom started his career as a designer for multiple disciplines and specialized in PowerPoint 10 years ago, and has never looked back. With a talent for animation and interactivity, his work has been featured on Microsoft’s webinar series on PowerPoint and in multiple online magazines and articles. He regularly speaks at conferences and seminars and is a key figure for presentation design in the industry. His clients come from an array of different industries. Tom loves the challenges and successes that are achievable in PowerPoint and lives to make presentations stand out for all the right reasons.

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Don’t miss my “Dishing on Presentations” conversation with Tom Howell. It is engaging and packed full of presentation wisdom from “down under”. Click  here to watch

 

[Video] “Dishing on Presentations” with Tom Howell

In this month’s “Dishing with Presentations” interview, we went “down under” to speak with Professional Presentation Evangelist, Tom Howell in his Synapsis Creative office in Sydney, Australia. What comes across in the conversation with our editor, Sharyn Fitzpatrick, is how much Tom is passionate about PowerPoint and all it can do for his clients and our industry. He is enthralled with what you can achieve with presentations using skills and creativity and how it continues to evolve as a creative tool for graphic designers and presentation designers. His global client list includes Microsoft, Universal Pictures, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, Goldman Sachs Investment Banking, Proctor & Gamble, Nestle, and the United Nations. All of which add credibility to his successes and his wealth of knowledge and experience. He shares his insights into how to become and grow as a presentation designer. Enjoy!

Sharyn Fitzpatrick
Editor, PresentationXpert
eMail: sfitzpatrick@presentationxpert.com

P.S. I use Zoom to record the interview and Power Director to brand it.

[Video] Dishing on Presentations with Microsoft PowerPoint MVP, Geetesh Bajaj

Editor Sharyn Fitzpatrick and Microsoft PowerPoint MVP, Geetesh Bajaj have a lively discussion about what are the latest trends in PowerPoint, tips for how to maximize your PowerPoint experience, and what features we hope Microsoft brings to Office 365.

About Geetesh Bajaj:

Geetesh Bajaj is an awarded Microsoft PowerPoint MVP (Most Valuable Professional) for over a decade now. He has been designing and training with PowerPoint for 15 years and heads Indezine, a presentation design studio and content development organization based out of Hyderabad, India. Geetesh believes that any PowerPoint presentation is a sum of its elements–these elements include abstract elements like concept, color, interactivity, and navigation–and also slide elements like shapes, graphics, charts, text, sound, video, and animation. He has authored six books on PowerPoint and trains corporate clients on how to plan, create, and deliver presentations.  For more information on Indezine and Geetesh, click here.

Ten Presentation Trends to Watch Out For in 2016

While some of them may exist only for the sake of aesthetics, others have been adopted to suit the needs and preferences of modern-day consumers. For example, the use of flat design, many experts say, is more than just the latest craze; it responds to the fact that realist elements are very hard to incorporate into responsive systems designed for screens of all sizes.

To keep you up to date with the latest design techniques, we’ve compiled a list of presentation design techniques that will help you create a presentation that looks fresh and contemporary–just like the content you will hopefully deliver to your audiences.

1. Immersive photography

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Stunning, oversized images will continue to dominate presentation design in 2016, especially in line with the trend of cutting down on text and using images instead to drive home a message.

These large, beautiful background images and video not only serve to captivate your audience’s attention, but they also set the tone for your presentation and provide an immersive setting that transports viewers to a completely different scene.

2. Scrolling presentations

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Remember when you used to create a printed version of your slide deck to hand out to your audience? Well, those days are gone. While this was good practice in the sense that it gave listeners some key takeaways that they could review at their own pace to refresh the information relayed, using this as the only method of delivery is a bit outdated.

Nowadays, it is easier to simply provide audience members access to your slides in the form of a scrolling presentation that looks very much like a web page, as seen in the example above.

Instead of sending emails with large attachments, you can simply send a link to your website. If done right, your website should have a responsive design that allows content to be viewed across a wide range of platforms. Whether on a tablet, a laptop, a PC or a mobile device, your slides can be easily viewed from anywhere.

Another advantage is that in comparison with static PDF files, scrolling presentations allow you to add more interactive and immersive elements, such as videos, surveys, quizzes or forms.

Although some users prefer clicking to scrolling, the consensus leans toward long scrolling as a popular usability option that is used by content-heavy sites, such as digital newspapers and blogs.

3. Stock Photo alternatives

Eco-nomics, The hidden costs of consumption from Josh Beatty

Overused stock photos are just as bad–if not worse–as bullet points and text-heavy slides. In their stead, other forms of visual representation are being used to communicate ideas in a fresh and appealing way.

Take a look at the presentation above, for example. Here, playful graphics in combination with a small amount of text are used to send a powerful message.

4. Creative illustrations

How Google Works from Eric Schmidt

Another effective alternative to the ubiquitous stock photo is hand-drawn elements and custom illustrations. If done correctly, these unique design elements can draw attention to your slide deck like nothing else can.

For example, Eric Schmidt, Google’s ex-CEO, used this approach in the slide deck above. As you can see, it gives the presentation a very playful, personable and creative touch.

5. Graphics and Storytelling

Fix Your Really Bad PowerPoint from HighSpark

As we’ve said many times before, storytelling is one of the most powerful tools a communicator can possess. It not only gets your message across more effectively during your presentation, but it also makes it much more memorable so that concepts stick for months, even years after your ideas were first relayed.

If this weren’t enough, storytelling could be even more effective when combined with visuals. Take, for example, the presentation above. If you click through the entire slide deck, you’ll find an invisible thread that ties each of the different slides together, in such a way that you feel you’re being told a story. Every image perfectly complements–instead of repeats–each of the carefully chosen phrases and words.

6. Flat design

2015 Travel Trends from Creative Lodging Solutions

Whatever is trending in the graphic design world usually makes its way into the most modern-looking slide decks.

The presentation above, for example, incorporates flat design principles to create a clean and minimalist look.

7. Originality

The Search for Meaning in B2B Marketing from Velocity Partners

Another way to attract attention is to create something original; something with your own personal touch.

A perfect example of this is Doug Kessler’s presentation on finding meaning in B2B marketing, seen above. Here, we see that the same background image is used throughout, giving viewers the sense that the presenter is sharing intimate thoughts from his personal journal.

This is also a perfect example of how a clear storyline is combined with attractive visuals in the form of colorful doodles and big, bold text. This not only attracts the reader as they read or hear the presentation, but it also makes it much more memorable since it mimics an informal conversation or a riveting story told by an expert narrator.

8. Creative Use of Typography

Crap. The Content Marketing Deluge. From Velocity Partners

Another way to showcase your creative side is to play with typography to get your message across. In the simple presentation above, for example, the author only uses typography, spacing and symbols to send a very clear message that makes a lasting impression.

9. Effective Use of Colors

What Would Steve Do? from HubSpot

Not only does typography send a message all on its own; colors do as well.

Take the above presentation. If you look at slides 16 to 31, you’ll find that the use of bright, bold accent colors contrasts perfectly with the darker, subdued background color–which works in unison with the animation effects to create a perfectly weaved storyline that drives a crystal clear message home.

10. Creating Content for the Context

You Suck At PowerPoint! from Jesse Desjardins

Another trend–which will simply be a continuation of the present–is the creation of presentations designed specifically for their context.

The above slide deck, for example, was designed to be published online rather than to be delivered as a live presentation.

About the Author

Nayomi Chibana

Nayomi Chibana is a journalist and writer for Visme’s Visual Learning Center. She has an M.A. in Journalism and Media from the University of Hamburg in Germany and was an editor of a leading Latin American political investigative magazine for several years. She has a passion for researching trends in interactive long form media.  She can be reached via email at nayomi@hindsiteinc.com or on Twitter at @nchibana.

Hacks, Tricks, and Shortcuts…Oh My! Discover PowerPoint Tricks Even the Pros Didn’t Know About!

PXP_WatchNowIconPowerPoint is an incredibly powerful program with lots of capabilities built in, and there will always be things that not everyone knows about. Plus, productivity goes out the window when you are stuck trying to figure out how to improve your PowerPoint slides or fix a problem that you can’t seem to solve.

In this recorded webinar with shortcut and productivity guru, Taylor Croonquist, you will discover hidden tricks that most presentation professionals didn’t know that PowerPoint could do.  The content will focus on how to maximize the power tools you have in PowerPoint so you can get the job done. You’ll also discover tricks and shortcuts that will make your job more efficient and less stressful. For example, do you know how to break SmartArt? Break tables? Break up a list of bullets? Or, resize and crop multiple pictures in one process?

Learning these time-saving tricks will increase your productivity and PowerPoint skills. No more pulling out your hair when you reach frustrating PowerPoint issues.

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Our Speaker

Taylor Croonquist is the shortcut and productivity guru for Nuts and Bolts Speed Training company, which helps companies build better PowerPoint slides in shorter time frames. Hailing from the home of Microsoft and Starbucks, he came up with the “One Armed Mouse” technique in order to be able to combine these two passions: PowerPoint-ing with a coffee in one hand and a mouse in the other. For more information about the company’s services, visit  http://nutsandboltsspeedtraining.com

 

Webinar Handouts:
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      PXPert PowerPoint Cheat Sheet – 12115 Webinar – Taylor Croonquist

 

 

 

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PXpert -012115 – Webinar Slide Deck

2 Ways to Improve Collaboration on Presentations

Many presentations are collaborative efforts and you may have discovered that putting your comments in an email and attaching the latest version of a PowerPoint file gets confusing fast. Here are some problems with that method:

  • There are multiple versions of the file all over the place
  • It’s hard to know who has the latest version
  • It’s hard to know which edits are approved and which aren’t
  • Some people open the file from within the email (you should always save it to your computer first), make changes, and then can’t find the file

If you’ve been in collaboration hell, here is Part I of two techniques that might help.

Lots of people would like a Track Changes feature in PowerPoint, like the one in Microsoft Word. But so far it doesn’t exist. But there are two features you can use instead to collaborate with others. In fact, the second one comes close to a Track Changes feature…in a roundabout way.

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Add Comments to a Presentation

This is how the Comments section of the Review tab looks in PowerPoint 2013 (right). Comments provide a way for you to add your opinion or suggest changes. On the Review tab, click New Comment to open a text box, either on the slide (PowerPoint 2007 and 2010) or in a task pane (PowerPoint 2013).

Type your comment and press Enter. A new feature of PowerPoint 2013 is that others can reply to comments so that you can create a conversation. Comments will show your initials or even your photo, if you’re using a Microsoft account. You can easily move from comment to comment and, of course, you can delete comments.

Here’s a short comment conversation in PowerPoint 2013.

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If a comment is collapsed or just shows as an icon, double-click it to display it.

Compare Two Presentations

The Compare feature lets you compare two presentations. For example, you can have a presentation on your computer and then send a copy of it to someone else to review. That person will make changes and return it to you. The Compare feature shows you the differences between the 2 presentations. Follow these steps:

  1. Save your presentation on your computer. You’ll compare this presentation with the one that your colleague changes.
  2. Send the presentation to a colleague. If you attach it to an email, this process creates a copy. You can also post the presentation to a shared location, such as your OneDrive storage. In that case, you’ll need to give your colleague the link to the presentation and provide editing permission. In the email or link notification, ask your colleague to make suggested changes and return it to you with another name (such as v2 at the end of the file name).
  3. When the changes are done, open your original presentation and choose Review tab, Compare.
  4. In the Choose File to Merge with Current Presentation box, navigate to the changed presentation and click Merge. The Revisions panel opens, listing the slide and presentation changes. (Changing the theme or adding a slide would be presentation changes.) You’ll also see an icon on a changed slide showing the changes, as you see below. This is as close to Track Changes as you can get in PowerPoint.

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  1. To accept a change, check the checkbox in front of it. When text was replaced, you need to check both the insertion and the deletion. If you don’t accept a change, the presentation stays as is on your computer.About the Author:

    Ellen Finkelstein can train you or the presenters in your organization to create high-impact, engaging, professional presentations for training, sales, business, or education. For more information, visit her website at www.ellenfinkelstein.com

Creating and Delivering Powerful Presentations Using an iPad (with Geetesh Bajaj, Microsoft PowerPoint MVP)

With the growing popularity of iPads and other mobile devices as presentation platforms, you need to learn more than just the basics of iPresenting. Learn how to select the right app as your presentation partner and then how to use them to deliver impressive presentations the way they should be seen with full animation, the right fonts, and brilliant colors and graphics. Learn also what you need to do before you begin!  This engaging and interactive webinar recording with Microsoft PowerPoint MVP, Geetesh Bajaj offers you insights into  how to maximize the power of presenting on an iPad.

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Presenter: Geetesh Bajaj Geetesh2

Geetesh Bajaj is an awarded Microsoft PowerPoint MVP (Most Valuable Professional) for over a decade now. He has been designing and training with PowerPoint for 15 years and heads Indezine, a presentation design studio and content development organization based out of Hyderabad, India. Geetesh believes that any PowerPoint presentation is a sum of its elements–these elements include abstract elements like concept, color, interactivity, and navigation–and also slide elements like shapes, graphics, charts, text, sound, video, and animation. He has authored six books on PowerPoint and trains corporate clients on how to plan, create, and deliver presentations.  For more information on Indezine and Geetesh, click here.

4 Tips For Handling Mixed Presentation Audiences

As a savvy presenter, you find out as much as possible about your audience members before you address them. What do they already know about the topic?  What do they need to know?  What do they want to know? Will they be receptive or reluctant to hear what you have to say? You plan accordingly.

But almost nothing calls for more planning than a mixed audience—both technical and nontechnical decision makers, beginners and advanced learners, or groups of amateurs peppered with professionals.

Consider the following tips when you present to such diverse groups.

1)  Engage the advanced without insulting the less knowledgeable.

Make it your goal to aim for the higher end of the spectrum.  That is, plan content to interest the seasoned audience members. Their engagement and participation will interest the less knowledgeable because those audience members have even more to learn.

The beginners don’t yet know what they don’t know; therefore, almost all topics and discussion interests them. They are like the proverbial sponge soaking up all that transpires. Yet, take care that you don’t insult beginners and amateurs by locking them out of the presentation with jargon and references to other resources, tools, and processes with which they’re unfamiliar. So how do you do that?  Next tip …

2) Provide shortcuts. 

When you need to deliver complex information that will only confuse and lose the less experienced in a group, consider providing that more technical content in a truncated fashion: Can you provide it on a handout? Mobile download?  Reference to a website link?  Does the technical process, specification, or explanation really need “air” time?

3) Prefer clarity to brevity.

Brevity is good; clarity is better. Never sacrifice a few words or sentences in order to be brief. Slide screen space, paper, and air are cheap. Misunderstandings that lead to errors can be expensive. If you need to define a term, do so.  If you need to add a detail, add it.  If you need to use the whole phrase rather than the acronym, use it.

4) Use—don’t abuse—their experience.

Forcing advanced learners to sit through an elementary explanation wastes their time and causes them to disengage quickly. Instead, acknowledge and engage the more seasoned people in your group by giving them opportunity to share their expertise with the less experienced.

When you make a point, call on them to share a case study or ask them to elaborate on how they’ve applied this principle, strategy, or truth  in their own work.  In a teaching session, pair the advanced with the less skilled learners to pass on additional teaching points and tips to extend the learning.

Handling a widely diverse audience can be a challenge.  But with forethought and creativity, the outcome can be stimulating for all.

About the Author:

Dianna Booher works with organizations to increase their productivity and effectiveness through better communication: writing skills, presentation skills, interpersonal communication, and client communication. An expert in executive communication and a keynote speaker, she is the author of 46 books, published in 23 languages. For more information, visit www.booher.com

No One Loses When Presentations Finish Early

Next time you’re planning a presentation consider finishing at least five minutes early. Most presenters shoehorn 60 minutes of content into a 60-minute time block and it rarely fits. The audience’s lasting impression of you becomes that of a presenter clicking feverishly through slides, speaking at a break-neck pace and being obsessed with your watch.

A better approach is to take the pressure off and plan to finish five minutes early. That gives you two appealing options. First, you can simply give that time back to your audience, and they’ll remember you favorably as the only presenter in recent memory who let them out early. Second, you can provide additional time for always-valuable Q&A or a relaxed summarization and close.

Either way you’ll set yourself apart from the mass of presenters who race against time or exceed scheduled speaking slots, leaving audiences feeling they’re unprepared or simply unprofessional.

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