Limited Design: Using Only Fonts and Icons

Here’s an example of a presentation I gave last Fall to colleagues within my library, updating them on various service and resource policy changes in effect for the semester. In place of images, I used various font sizes, colors and placements to add some visual interest to the primarily textual content I needed to present.

Feel free to adopt any of these techniques for your own presentations. One caveat – if you will be presenting on an unfamiliar computer, it is best to save your presentation as a PDF file. Fonts are not universal from computer to computer–exporting the presentation as a PDF preserves the original fonts. Adobe Acrobat also includes basic presentation show settings and controls and works great in most any presentation situation. Another advantage is that nearly all computers have some program that can view and display PDF files.




“How-To” Sequence Example Presentation

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Tips from Matt Carter’s Book, Designing Science Presentations

Later this month I’m giving a workshop to some graduate students who will be giving brief “TED”-like talks (10 minutes) in October. In reviewing and freshening up some of my workshop content, I’m working my way through Matt Carter’s Designing Science Presentations: A Visual Guide to Figures, Papers, Slides, Posters and More.

Here’s a brief rundown of some new things I’ve learned:

  • Carter considers a format category of “written presentation.” This includes articles, papers, etc. Interesting way to look at it.
  • “Sometimes a scientific word needs to be in all-uppercase letters. If the word is long, it can often visually overpower a sentence. In these circumstances, try reducing the font size of the uppercase word by 1-2pts to make the sentence appear more balanced” (p.61). Much easier to implement than trying to use small capitals.
  • In bullet lists, when you must use them, “use numbers when you want to show a sequence and a symbol when the sequence is arbitrary” (p.65).
  • The difference between using “e.g.” and “i.e.” (p. 81). Finally. I get it now.

Pair this book with Michael Alley’s The Craft of Scientific Presentation and you have an unbeatable foundation for presentation success. More ideas and tips to come.





Updated Presentation Basics Worksheet!

Sometimes, I think we go wrong with our presentations because we don’t take just a few minutes to jot down the basic details and think through what our “goals” for the audience might be.

If you know your key points at the start of your preparation process, then you can use those to help you stay focused from script writing to slide design to the Q&A at the end of your talk.

Take a look at the Presentation Basics worksheet. You can type in your information on the form itself, or print a copy to write on. Feel free to share it if you find it useful, and I’d like to hear your feedback on it.

Peace and Good Presentations!


Updates to the Blog!









Hello everyone!

While it’s been a long time coming, today I finally updated the site! In addition to some updated text and photos, I’ve reorganized the Resources section to make it easier to find what you’re looking for. New finds will be posted here in the appropriate category.

I’ve also created a  new Publications section and brought all of my writings and instructional materials together in one place. You can use these materials to learn more about the Three Simple Rules and how they can improve your presentations.

Information about new resources and blog posts will be available via my Twitter feed (@leehilyer) and my LinkedIn profile. There is also a new Contact page with a simple form for you to get in touch – I hope to hear from you!



Haiku Deck for iPad

Just found Haiku Deck, a presentation app for iPad. Basic app is free, additional themes available for $1.99 each. Image search is embedded within the app, making it easy to search for royalty-free, no-hassle images. Suggested keywords help refine your image search. Pretty interesting. Add a comment or link to your Haiku Deck if you’re already using the app!



Advice on Slide Backgrounds

Before & After Magazine is one of the BEST resources you can use for design information presented in an easy-to-understand way.