“Content is the most important thing…” Let no one ever lie to you again.
Going analog, restraint and simplicity; path’s you may or may have not walked down in a while | I know it’s been a while hence the need to learn and share this to the world. So lets start from the beginning.
Expression. Design is all about expression. Presentation is about expression. Presentation design is about expression. So what do you desire to express to your audience? An idea, a thought? So why are you opening your laptop up so fast? Is tech part of your expression or a tool to help you bring your design to life? I will let you decide. And here is your answer, freedom. Expression without freedom is expression. So how do you freely express yourself? By picking up a tool first or by brainstorming then choosing the appropriate tool?
In the heart of a presentation is a story you would like to tell. So, start from the beginning, go analog. Sticky notes are a way of playing around with the order of the slides with each note presenting a slide and each slide focusing on one idea. This helps declutter and achieve flow of thought. We know for sure how some slide decks never seem to end. Rule of 10; if the slides exceed ten, you haven’t thought through your story well.
So grab a piece of paper, a pencil or a pen… a notebook even or a napkin perhaps. Who knows? Then, loose yourself and walk sell to yourself your story, you first before someone else. If you won’t agree with your own work, who will?
Restraint. Oh the itching allure of restraint. Here’s a fun fact, there are 30 times more nerves from you eyes to your brain than from your ears to your brain. What does this translate to? The inevitability of visual attention. Your audience will most likely look at your slide deck than look at you, and if you restrained yourself and have perhaps one word on the deck, voila, they’ll momentarily get back to you. Easy slide deck.
Simplicity. out of restraint, simplicity is born. After removing unnecessary stuff, one is left with the sweet things. Your audience is not left wondering what all that text means and they give you their full attention. Accomplish more with less.
Truth be told the aforementioned two make the work harder and longer. But in the end one gets to know that it was worth it. It is simple, but it is not easy.
Images. A picture is worth a thousand words and your audience will get the message that you did not choose the best for them if you did not choose the best for them because that is what they expect. The best, nothing less. Don’t stretch, don’t zoom to fill…No no no. Get the best you can afford out there that best expresses what you desire to express and deliver only the best for your audience. Thank me later.
Where to get them? Use you favorite search engine and filter low resolution photos by going to advance settings. Or use free image websites like unsplash or jaymantra but remember, even the free stuff is governed. If a photo is released under creative commons license, know what the license entails and restrictions on how to use the photos. And always remember to cite your sources. Acknowledge someones craft that made your slide deck possible. Or show some love just for the sake of showing some love.
Fonts. Serif or sans serif? Not sure what that is? Great, that is why you are here. Serif fonts are those with tailing details at the end of the letters. Sans serif are the opposite kind. Where and when to use what. Serif are great for printed text while Sans serif are good for presentation. Those trailing details at every letter might not be well rendered by a projector and we only want the best for our audience, don’t we?
Font families, any font you pick comes an array of similar font styles. Default, italics, bold or whatever tickles your fancy. Pick one font family and stick to it. Be consistent. Be simple.
Colors colors colors and psychology. Trust, dominance, a call to action or positive mellow vibes, What do you want to trigger, induce or rather communicate, There are tomes to this intricate subject and I urge you to seek further information.
Finally, the three where principles.
Room to breathe. Whatever your slide focus in on, let that focal point have room to breathe. Declutter, Remember attention is expensive. Guide it to what matters.
Where is the center, the aesthetic center. When you choose to have only one element on your slide, make sure it feels right. Automatic mathematical center is tempting and easy, but, does it feel right?
Design is everywhere. Open up your eyes, observe, see and appreciate. This will give you a raw eye for design that suffers no design bull-crap.