Tag Archives: design

“How-To” Sequence Example Presentation

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Freshen up your colors

Photo (c) sundstrom, ID849660, www.sxc.hu

You can keep your presentations fresh by updating the colors you use on a regular basis. While the use of color should always support the message of your presentation, there’s no requirement that you have to use the same set of colors year in and year out.

Blue can still mean “business” and green can still evoke images of growth and success, just in slightly more up-to-date shades and tints. To find those new colors, visit Pantone’s website for their seasonal color forecasts.

Pantone is a company that standardizes color specifications for a wide variety of industries and applications from printing to fashion. Several times a year they release color forecast reports for upcoming seasons. The latest one I’ve looked at is the Fashion Color Report for Fall 2009.

Ten to twelve new colors are described in these short reports, and each color’s Pantone number and CMYK equivalents are provided. Unfortunately, PowerPoint only deals with RGB and HSL color schemes, so a bit of conversion is required. I found a simple one on the web created by Peter Forret and converted the CMYK values to RGB values that PowerPoint can understand.

Here is the table of CMYK to RGB values for the color trends listed in the Fall 2009 report. Note that the colors in the PDF will vary depending on the monitor/projector used. If you don’t like a particular color, try adjusting it within PowerPoint, or use an online tool such as Adobe’s kuler to help you select another shade (kuler can handle CMYK values and can convert them to RGB for you).

I’ve created a sample presentation using some of the new colors. Take a look and feel free to adapt for your own needs.



Telling Your Story With Pictures

Earlier this year, I read (and have since re-read) Dan Roam’s book The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures. For those of you who want to improve the imagery in your presentations, yet struggle with exactly how to represent some concepts visually, this book is for you.

More information on the book can be found at its companion website: http://www.thebackofthenapkin.com/. There are some free downloadable tools available which will give you a bit of the book’s “flavor,” but speaking personally, I don’t think they’ll be all that useful to you unless you’ve read the book.  (Me, I didn’t want to write in my book so I downloaded the tools so I could write my notes on them and keep a copy with me.)

Two big things I took from the book:

  1. How fun it would be to be able to draw all of the images for my next presentation!!!
  2. Even if I don’t draw pictures, I can use the tools in this book to help me decide how to visually represent something.

And remember, if you aren’t able to buy a copy, you can probably find one at your local library!



Ideas and Advice from SlideShare Presentations

SlideShare is a website where users can upload and share their presentations. Some of the presentations uploaded are awful, truly awful. Others are visually great, but without the speaker’s narration, I can’t understand what the slides are trying to tell me. And in with the jumble of stuff are some true gems (or at least, I think they’re gems). Here’s a few I’ve added as favorites to my SlideShare account:

This one was created by ReThink (real name: Oliver Adria) and is about presentation design. The slides are well-done, and the entire presentation can be understood by itself.

Here’s one by jhaustin (real name: Jennifer Austin) with some great tips for improving your presentations.

This one is by chereemoore (real name: Cheree Moore(?)) and I think it either won or was a finalist in SlideShare’s “World’s Best Presentation” contest. Unlike the previous two, it doesn’t specifically teach presentation skills, but its structure and style are worth studying.

So if you haven’t already, go visit SlideShare and make yourself a free account. Browse through the presentations and ask yourself which ones “work” and which ones don’t? Which ones are superb examples of design and which ones should be deleted? And your final question: how do your presentations compare? Do they belong in the “this works” category, or the “this stinks” category?


Design Inspiration for Your Slides

I am no artist; that’s for sure. I can draw stick figures pretty well, and have managed to draw the same doodle (a vase with some flowers) for about 20 years now, but that’s about it as far as my natural drawing talent.

But over the years, looking at design magazines has helped me hone my “design vision,” and as I look at billboards and advertisements and other magazines, I get ideas that I can then go and use in my own presentation slides.

The title cards from the trailer for the movie Inside Man, for example, use a black and blue color combination that I really liked and which could be used as a good color combination for slides. Company annual reports are also good sources for slide layout inspiration. Looking at magazines you wouldn’t normally pick up, especially ones your audience might be reading, can give you some ideas on how to lay out information on your slides.

My point is that inspiration for spectacular slides is all around you. Don’t be afraid to “open” your eyes and see what inspires you and what techniques you can adapt for your own presentations.

A new blog I stumbled upon might also provide you with some graphic inspiration: http://www.beadesigngroup.com/.

Have a great day!


Slideshare – Great Place for Ideas

Hello! Sorry for the egregious delay between posts; I have been finishing up a manuscript and have been locked away with my computer, furiously writing and preparing images. The book, Presentations for Librarians, will be published in October by Chandos. In any case, it’s good to be back on the blog.

If you are in need of some fresh ideas for your slide presentations, visit Slideshare(http://www.slideshare.net). It is a site where people can upload and share their presentations with one another.

They recently held a World’s Best Presentation Contest and there were some excellent award-winners. I particularly like the first- and second-place winners.

There are some dogs on the site as well – it has some superb examples of what a presentation should NOT be. But learning from bad examples can be just as instructive as learning from good ones.

I am always on the lookout for new ideas for presentations, and Slideshare has quickly become one of the places I look for inspiration.

Have a great weekend!