by Geetesh Bajaj, January 9th 2009
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Slide Design in 2009: Changes
Life changes every day, and the world goes around. And even if we did nothing, said nothing, or put ourselves in the deep depths of contentment, change will still happen. Change is akin to growth -- and that growth might be a sapling sprouting from its seed or a conglomerate increasing its reach in world markets.
Both the sapling and the conglomerate can use PowerPoint slides in different ways -- and that's the ironical twist in the tale that brings me to the subject of this post. Before I tell you where PowerPoint slides come in the picture, let me share some info about the inspiration for this post.
Olivia Mitchell of the Speaking about Presenting blog sent me a note about this new group blog initiative that she was spearheading to collect opinions about PowerPoint design changes in 2009. I had just got back from vacation, was writing my next book, and had a full inbox! But Olivia was persistent -- and she even responded to my request to view posts by others.
Ellen Finkelstein, a dear friend says "design" rhymes with "2009". And half a dozen posts later, I knew I had different (but not opposing) opinions than the rest -- so I got started with this post.
So now about PowerPoint slide design, and what I am hoping will change in 2009. I kept my list very simple with ideas you can use straightaway -- if this helps, do come back and read this post again because most of my thoughts seem to indicate that "repeat" is a great word! Of course, feel free to comment on that as well.
Something, Nothing, and Everything: First of all, as I mentioned earlier change happens if you do something -- or if you do nothing. However, that statement is not an incentive to do nothing, but it certainly does indicate that don't do too much. I think at some time or the other, we all fall in the trap of doing too much, getting loads of info on our slides, and drowning the actual message of the presentation with gobbledygook. Not doing too much is probably the easiest thing we can do to make better slides, and it might also be the most effective part. By all means though, keep all that extra info, and try to make this supporting info available as handouts or downloads. Since you end up with less content, you can spend more time on the design of your slides.
Think Ahead of Time: If you don't spend enough time creating the message and flow of your presentation, it shows in the design as well. I know there may be occasions when you are hard-pressed for time -- in that case, make concept slides you have to use often even before you know you have to design or deliver a presentation.
Start with Paper: Always start your presentation on paper -- draw your ideas, link relationships between concepts, and create a storyboard. Take another sheet of paper, redo the entire thing -- this time, remove all unwanted info, and fine-tune further. Repeat as often as required -- show this to a trusted colleague or friend, and use their opinions where relevant. Think of the entire presentation from the audience point of view, and make more changes. This process will create an effective slide design in your mind -- subconsciously. It just works!
Next, the Computer: Now move the concept to the computer -- and don't start with PowerPoint yet. Use a mind mapping application if you are comfortable with it, or just use Notepad or Microsoft Word -- create a sequence and flow between successive concepts. Rethink, reorder, and reorient as required -- repeat as often as you want. This keeps your design clean.
Read more books in 2009: Get to read more books in 2009, but don't think they are the end-all. Consider them as inspiration to learn more, think about presenting concepts, and experiment with your design. I'll recommend these books:
Canto Cumulus: The Steffen Setzer Interview
Steffen Setzer is Director of Marketing at Canto. Canto is a leading supplier of digital asset management solutions and has been dedicated to helping customers fully utilize their digital assets since 1990.
In this interview, Steffen discusses Canto Cumulus, a cross-platform solution that enables companies to easily organize, find, share, and track their ever-increasing numbers of photos, illustrations, presentations, video, audio, layouts and more.
Learn PowerPoint: Add Fills to AutoShapes
Whenever you add a new AutoShape to a PowerPoint slide, it is filled with a solid color by default. Most of the time, you may leave that unaltered, but it's easy to change that color or to even add another fill type altogether such as a gradient, pattern, texture, or picture. In this series of tutorials for users of PowerPoint 2003 and earlier versions, we explain each of these fills. Most of these tutorials have accompanying online presentations too.
Watch out for a similar series for PowerPoint 2007 users.
Tuval Software Releases SpeechOver Plus 3.0
Tuval Software announced the new 3.0 release of SpeechOver Plus, a joint offering of Tuval and Acapela Group, producers of premium text-to-speech (TTS) voices. This program lets you add computer generated voice-overs to your PowerPoint slides.
Focus on SlideSix.com: Sharing Presentations
I just read TechCrunch's coverage on SlideSix.com, a new presentation sharing site that lets you upload and share your PowerPoint presentations and other file formats such as ODP (OpenOffice), PDF, QuickTime MOV, etc.
At first glance, this looks like an interesting site not too different from other presentation sharing sites like SlideShare, authorSTREAM, and SlideBoom. But SlideSix's Todd Sharp says there's a difference. He adds: "Simplicity and identity are keystones of our presentation sharing community. Social networks, more often then not, are utilized by people looking to create a unique web identity. The motivation for the desire to create such an identity varies. Some people use social networks for personal reasons – to keep in touch with friends and relatives or reconnect with others whom they may have lost touch with. Others use them for business reasons - to create an online presence for a company or product. Often folks use them for a combination of business and personal reasons. SlideSix is a social presentation sharing community that caters to everyone."
Templates on Indezine
If you’re having trouble placing objects where you want them, press the Alt key to override the Snap to Grid settings while you drag the object into place.
This tip is from my new book, PowerPoint 2007 Complete Makeover Kit which I co-authored with Echo Swinford -- check the book now!
And here are some excerpts...
If you want to send any comments, ideas, etc. regarding this ezine or