Design In PowerPoint
Thursday, December 4, 2008
In junior college, I've a big problem.
And the big problem has greatly affected me my grades, enjoyment time, health, general well being, and possibily my career, social status, etc... in a really negative way.
Boring lectures taught by boring teachers using boring Powerpoint.
Have you noticed the trend? Most of the time when people do presentations, they go the Powerpoint way. But that isn't a bad thing. In fact, using visual aids, even till the extent of using I.T is actually useful for presentations in this digital age.
It's the way some people abuse Powerpoint that makes its bad. And a common excuse that these suckers give is that the audience are lousy and couldn't bother to listen, not that they suck themselves.
So today, I will teach how to use Powerpoint correctly.
Hopefully after this, you'll understand why some presentations succeed, and why some fail and bore the audience to sleep.
Please don't be offended if you spot yourself making some mistakes. I've made them too, and therefore I am telling you my experience and findings that some people just didn't figure out.
Since this is a graphic design blog, I shall touch on the design of Powerpoint slides. Lets take a look at some designs.
Nice, but familiar looking, right? Please, please, please don't use the default templates!
Doing so will make people think that you don't put effort into your Powerpoint. This is the reality: Most of the audience have played around with Powerpoint and seen thsese templates. Even if they don't, these templates are so commonly used that they will be sick of them.
Even if your topic is interesting, showing a default template will give the audience an impression that you just want to scrape through the presentation. That's not good.
Cool But Unrelated
Having cool looking Powerpoint slides does impress your audience. But they may not always be related to your topic, and this can distract them. I'm actually guilty of doing my Powerpoint a bit too cool in my secondary school presentations.
Simple But Effective
You can make your own templates or find nice ones on the net for free. The one on the left is from http://www.presentationpoint.com. The one on the right is made by me for a recent school project. (I made it in just 5 mins with two rectangles and text. It's actually not really hard.) If you really can't think of ideas, do a google image search on powerpoint templates, then try to imitate some of the really nice but simple ones.
But you may ask... so simple looking? How can it be? It is because, the pictures aren't there yet. Once you've added pictures (which is a must for a good Powerpoint), it will look just fine.
Now, lets head on to some tips for Powerpoint design...
1. Font Size Never Drops Below 20.
Your audience will never ever show interest in your presentation if they have to lean forward and squint in order to see the text. Guaranteed. It makes anyone tired, especially in a crowded, stuffy room. And this is the perfect cure for insomnia. Even the most attentive listener who is passionate about your topic will lose interest after a few minutes.
Actually, 20 is considered small. Some professional speakers says it should be above 32! But, 32 may be slightly too large and leave not enough space for pictures. If you ever have to make the font size below 20 to fit the bulletpoints in, you may have too many bulletpoints crammed into a single slide! Make a new slide instead.
2. Never Give Pure Text. Pictures! Pictures!
Some speakers just love to put only bulletpoints, bulletpoints, and bulletpoints and all other textual information. They've forgotten something vital. Powerpoint is a visual aid. And authentic visual aids mean pictures! Try to put a picture on as many slides as possible.
Let me show you what I mean.
However, try not to exceed four pictures on the same slide, and instead separate them into a few slides. This is so that you don't have to cram them together too much. Often, a picture that goes with a few bulletpoints makes the best result.
3. Color Of Text Must Contrast With The Background
This is pretty straightforward. Bright text for dark backgrounds. Dark text for bright backgrounds. Make the text sharp and clear for the audience.
4. If You Have Office 2007, Use The Smart Art Function!
This is really the most useful thing in Powerpoint 2007. It's a godsend. It allows even a toddler to make effective presentations. Here is an example of me using smartart.
If you can't find the button, maybe this picture can help you.
Now, I've finished the part on Powerpoint design, and now its all up to your speaking skills to help you. Please note that Powerpoint is only merely a presentation aid. It must never be the center of a presentation. It is you who should be the main star. It is you who makes the biggest difference. There are a whole lot of speakers out there who can present impressively even without it.
Before I end, here is a comedy about Powerpoint presentations, maybe you will learn something from it.
How NOT to use Powerpoint
Other interesting videos worthy checking out:
Terri Sjodin: PowerPoint - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKv_s6WMc1U
Own The Stage - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H9VH5JDXTMo
How NOT to use Powerpoint