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Stock Photography and How It Can Ruin Presentation Design

Look around you. You’re bound to see a picture or ten. It’s amazing how images have permeated the collective mind. But in hindsight, they have always had the power to do so. Historically, cave paintings served as the first method of documentation. Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics were mostly drawn or carved. One could even say that everything you see is an image, scientifically speaking.
With that much influence, it’s no wonder that pictures have spread far and deep into the collective subconscious. So much that it became the driving force for the invention of the camera, making portraits easier to create and, after many technological advances over the decades, instant.
In that same vein, photographs became available online, including stock images. But the term has been met with both positive and negative reactions. There are arguments from both sides saying that stock photography is cheap—if not downright free—but that, legally, you’re better off using originals.
Where do you side in the argument? Presentation design-wise, you’re better off not using stock photography for your deck and instead creating your own that fit your or a presentation agency’s design—a.k.a. the perfect images for your slides. Here are reasons why.
Stock Photography and How It Can Ruin Presentation Design

Lack of Authenticity and Creativity

There’s no greater show of designer laziness than using stock images. Why? Because it’s already available online. You can get one with just a few clicks. Never mind using your own resources for that photoshoot (which doesn’t have to be grand to begin with).
Using stock images is the easy way out. There’s a certain lack of creativity that stock images display because all it takes is a “yes or no” choice: does it portray what I want? Instead of getting specifically what you’re looking for, you settle for another since it’s ripe for the taking. While there are alternatives, like your own shoot, it won’t be as easy as just downloading one.
It doesn’t help, too, that stock images are easily obtainable from the Internet. What are the chances that you’re the only one using a particular photo? Zero. It’s bound to show up in places you wouldn’t expect, which leads to …
Stock Photography and How It Can Ruin Presentation Design | Designer laziness

Overfamiliarity

You know how the first time you hear a funny joke, you can’t stop laughing? Then it gets repeated over and over, and it isn’t humorous to you anymore? It’s the same with stock images. The more your audience has seen a photo you used on your presentation design, any hope of impact you intended is gone.
It’s because they’re already familiar with—if not outright expecting—it. That they have seen the exact photo, if not the same actions, connotations, and justifications elsewhere, should always be a consideration. This is especially true when even in your search, there were dozens of images like the one you chose. “Familiarity breeds contempt,” goes the adage.
What’s an alternative then? If you must use stock images, then be unpredictable. If you’re looking for a picture of a business meeting, then don’t choose common ones, like room full of executives. Try a coffee shop meeting or a team building to show something new and fresh. If you can’t find one, then why not shoot your own or even choose one from your albums? How about that for a new take on the term “stock photography”?
Stock Photography and How It Can Ruin Presentation Design | OverFamiliarity

Inconsistent Feel

Presentation design revolves around a theme, often the brand or topic. When you’re designing images, you keep said motif in mind, wanting to adhere to it and keep the whole deck consistent.
There isn’t much wiggle room for this, however, when your pool is piled with stock images. You have no control over the art direction of the image you have chosen since it’s just there, and how you use it becomes the question. This may present problems, but of course, if you’re really persistent, you can find one you can settle on. But even then, it still feels out of place.
There’s also what may be construed as “forced imagery,” wherein a picture barely symbolizes or depicts the topic at hand but is instead accompanied by lengthy justifications at how it’s really illustrating the point. Not only does this need a contrived explanation, but it also denotes poor planning on your part.
Stock Photography and How It Can Ruin Presentation Design | Inconsistent feel

Post-Development

Stock images are readily available, but just because you can download them doesn’t mean you should. It’s not like there aren’t better alternatives out there; it’s merely the easiest way out. And if you think that won’t cost you anything, think again.
As a legal matter, there are many loopholes and gray areas on creative commons and copyrights. When it’s that open-ended and indefinite, you can bet that there are people who can and will make some money out of it by suing you or others for using their photos for unintended reasons, like commercial purposes.
Would you rather risk that possibility or take delight in the pleasure and satisfaction that your image is your own? You help not only yourself by minimizing complications from external parties but also your presentation design by being specific with your choice. That can make the biggest impact of all.
 

Resources:

Boag, Paul. “Stop Using Stock Photography Clichés.” Boag World. January 4, 2010. www.boagworld.com/design/stock-photography
Field, Dennis. “8 Tips on Choosing the Right Photos for Your Design.” InvisionApp.com. March 11, 2015. www.invisionapp.com/blog/8-tips-on-choosing-the-right-photos-for-your-design
Reynolds, Garr. “What Makes an Image Good for Presentations – Part I.” PowerPoint Ninja. n.d. www.powerpointninja.com/graphics/what-makes-an-image-good-for-presentations-part-i
Reynolds, Garr. “What Makes an Image Good for Presentations – Part II.” PowerPoint Ninja. n.d. www.powerpointninja.com/graphics/what-makes-an-image-good-for-presentations-part-ii
Struck, Amos. “What Are Stock Images? One of the Best Image Resources Explained.” Stock Photo Secrets. n.d. www.stockphotosecrets.com/questions-answers/what-are-stock-images.html
Suggett, Paul. “The Case for and Against Stock Photography.” The Balance. October 12, 2016. www.thebalance.com/the-case-for-and-against-stock-photography-38444
Walker, Tommy. “Stock Photography vs. Real Photos: Can’t We Use Both?” ConversionXL. n.d. www.conversionxl.com/stock-photography-vs-real-photos-cant-use

Sparking Your Imagination for a Great Sales Pitch

It’s hard to start a project that isn’t particularly inspiring to do. Much more if you’ve somehow gotten yourself in a creative rut, self-brought or otherwise.
If you find it difficult to come up with a sales pitch, then it’s time to start doing it differently, specifically the planning.
Working on a new project that doesn’t interest you actually feels like it’s taking so much mental energy and focus. Even forcing yourself to do it leaves you feeling tired. When you’re not up to the task of delivering a sales pitch, your lack of enthusiasm will show and affect your performance. Try some of these tips to get your creative juices flowing. 

Claim Creativity

Sparking Your Imagination for a Great Sales Pitch: Claim Creativity
Stop thinking you’re not imaginative or artistic. This is self-defeating and counterproductive and will prevent you from performing at your best. People who confidently call themselves creative helps them be more creative. Sound familiar? How about a different—and quite literal—interpretation of “I think, therefore I am” or “You are what you eat”?
Bill Seidel, inventor and CEO of America Invents, starts his class by making sure all his students raise their hands when he asks them if they’re creative.
Negativity and doubt are obstacles you need to get rid of. Gain a new perspective by thinking creatively and believing in yourself. 

Take a Break

Sparking Your Imagination for a Great Sales Pitch: Take a Break
Familiarity breeds contempt. For a sales pitch, you might be getting burned out from thinking up of ways—and failing—to make one. Remember the mental tiredness from forcing yourself to create? If you feel that happening, stop for a while. Give yourself a break and move away from everything that reminds you of work. Not only are you resting your body but also your mind. A bit of fresh air or a stroll around the block can do the trick. As long as you distract and detract yourself away from the task, you’ll get that “second wind,” so to speak.
Put yourself in a good mood and focus on feeling positive and relaxed instead. A cool head might be all you need to get back in the game. 

Daydream

Sparking Your Imagination for a Great Sales Pitch: Daydream
If you need to imagine yourself having an awesome deck, why not? Staring into space and having your mind wonder and wander about not only serve as mental breaks but are also exercises into alternate realities. Oxymoronic, you say, break and exercise? It’s that paradoxical nature that will get you thinking more and more yet not find yourself stressing out… if you’ll think about it.
There’s a wondrous surprise of liberation when you get your head up in the clouds, conjuring in your mind anything that doesn’t tire you out or pressure you to work or even be an adult. Once that pressure is lifted, who knows, maybe the key you need for that pitch will just come to you. Or you will just suddenly think of something that will make your deck perfect. All because you didn’t force yourself to think of it.

Experience New Things

Sparking Your Imagination for a Great Sales Pitch: Experience New Things
Try new stuff. That’s basically it. Experience something you haven’t before. Haven’t traveled yet? Go ahead. Never tried skiing? Try it for the first time. The point is expanding your horizons. Quite the cliché, right? But the lesson is still there: when you have a wider base of knowledge, you can draw much from your experiences. Insights, parallelisms, and even comparisons that you can use as leverage.
Challenge and go beyond your limits and comfort zone. There’s much to learn beyond what you already know, and depending on your stock knowledge for everything will eventually be unhealthy. You could even discover new loves and passions to add to your schedule and skills to your repertoire. Don’t be afraid.

Allow Room for Mistakes

Sparking Your Imagination for a Great Sales Pitch: Allow Room for Mistakes
The need to be original is your biggest obstacle to being creative. This is too much to consider, when all you really have to do is deliver a sales pitch.
Frame your experience to the present moment, and your anxieties will look much smaller. Overwhelming pressure and fear of the uncertain leads to self-doubt, but no one’s perfect. Cut yourself some slack. There’s no need to bring all those to the table. And no need to bite off more than you could chew. You’ve got your task enough as it is. Never mind the Pygmalion effect. Just go out there and be great.

The Takeaway

Swap the negative thinking with positive thinking to set yourself up for success. Another option is to daydream, imagine different things that can only happen in your head. Once you’ve cleared your mind, come back to making your sales presentation. Or try new things you’ve yet to do. Lastly, don’t force yourself; don’t be the obstacle you’re looking to overcome. Once you’ve got those creative juices flowing, try again. And see the results.

Resources:

Efti, Steli. “10 Steps For Giving A Convincing Sales Pitch.” Forbes. April 18, 2014. www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2014/04/18/10-steps-for-giving-a-convincing-sales-pitch
Falconer, Joel. “30 Tips to Rejuvenate Your Creativity.” Lifehack. n.d. www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/30-tips-to-rejuvenate-your-creativity.html
Irwin, Menar. “Creativity Hacks: 9 Ways to Find Inspiration.” Marketing Insider Group. December 16, 2016. www.marketinginsidergroup.com/content-marketing/creativity-hacks-9-ways-find-inspiration
Kotler, Steven. “Hacking Creativity.” The Creativity Post. July 31, 2012. www.creativitypost.com/pop-culture/hacking_creativity
Tartakovsky, MS, Margarita. “One of the Biggest Obstacles to Creativity.” Psych Central. October 1, 2014. blogs.psychcentral.com/everyday-creativity/2015/10/one-of-the-biggest-obstacles-to-creativity
Zetlin, Minda. “9 Seriously Easy Ways to Spark Your Creative Energy.” Inc.com. January 16, 2015. www.inc.com/minda-zetlin/9-seriously-easy-ways-to-spark-your-creative-energy.html
“How to Be Creative: 6 Secrets Backed by Research.” Bakadesuyo.com. December 2015. www.bakadesuyo.com/2015/12/how-to-be-creative

Infographics: Helping Businesses Attract More Clients

Today is the age of images of any form. Memes, videos, portraits, selfies, etc. There are many statistics that support their effectiveness. Imaged tweets are retweeted 150% more than regular tweets. Facebook posts with pictures are engaged by users more than twice than without. Infographics are shared three times more than other kinds of content.

The last part is very interesting. What is it with an infographic that makes it shared more than videos and memes? Perhaps it’s because of the visual manner that quality information is presented or because of how a really good one looks. There are many examples of great infographics, each different from the other, used for different purposes.

In your case, you’d want it for your business. But why an infographic? There many benefits to using one. Below are some.

Infographics: Cater to the Visual

Caters to the Visual

As is often said, humans are visual creatures. It’s how the human race survived for millennia. Seeing the world and decoding, deciphering, and learning from the information allowed us to be wary of our surroundings and determine whether there was imminent danger or not. Dark? You bet. But it also works on the positive side.

How humans interpret color and design plays a huge part on the overall perception of an object. If it’s aesthetically appealing, then chances are it will be treated better. This is especially true for an infographic. The better its design, the more positive the reaction it will solicit. Pair that off with great content and you’ve got on your hands a powerful medium that can turn situations around.

As with everything in life, there’s a caveat with using either too many or too few elements: they, respectively, can be grounds for over- and underwhelming the viewer. Having too many runs the risk of losing focus on subjects that are supposed to be focused on; having too few—but not being minimalist, per se, or a bad impression thereof—can be seen as just plain at best. You don’t want to create a bad one, don’t you?

Infographics: Good Way to Dump Information

Information Dump … in a Good Way

Look back on the roots of infographics. There’s a reason why it was made into the visual-oriented image it is understood today: it’s a better way of presenting data that would otherwise have been plain, dull, or outright boring.

Imagine graph upon graph, chart upon chart, of cold numbers and percentages, and you can’t make sense of it because you only have a vague idea of what they’re about. Infographics fix this by masking all the data behind creative use of design. How about long texts that are otherwise bothersome to the point of difficult to read? Appropriate and powerful images can do the same for a fraction of the time.

There are many different ways you can replace text with images. And if you can do that exactly with facts and figures, then you’re a step closer to using infographics to your greatest advantage.

Infographics: Shareable Online

Social Media Shareability

This is where the word “viral” comes in. When your infographic is exceptionally great, it will receive more attention than a subpar one. And when it gets more attention—and reaction, as a direct result—people are more likely to share it on social media to spread the good news. Think of it as digital word-of-mouth. The more your piece spreads, the farther your influence and reputation can go. The more people you will reach thus prompting another round of shares. Then you’ll be known in different parts of the world.

Your infographic becoming viral is more than just about creating one of the better ones, though. There’s a meticulous process that follows, but that part is more on you and how you follow through. Don’t let it do all the work. You’re just as responsible for its relevance and maintenance as you are with its shareability.

So, back to your business. How is it affected by those three above? It leads to a wider base of people that get to know your brand. Think of it as a brand reputation manager/expander/propagator. That’s the very least you could gain. But imagine the consequences.

Once you’ve got more people thinking about your brand, you’ve got more choices for leads—and eventually, conversions. All because of a viral infographic. An exaggeration, perhaps, but it’s plausible. And that may be the biggest push you need to work that much harder, that much better. You up for it?

 

Resources:

Barkins, Kyle. “Infographic: Why Are Infographics So Shareable?” Tech Impact. February 19, 2016. blog.techimpact.org/infographic-infographics-shareable

Cleary, Ian. “How to Make an Infographic that Attracts Massive Attention.” RazorSocial.com. March 16, 2016. www.razorsocial.com/how-to-make-an-infographic

Doyle, Latasha. “Value Content over Creation: Make Your Infographic Useful.” Easely. January 6, 2017. www.easel.ly/blog/make-your-infographic-useful

Knopfler, Hack. “The Top 10 Worst Infographics of All Time.” Mammoth Infographics. July 21, 2015. www.mammothinfographics.com/blog/the-top-10-worst-infographics-of-all-time

Mawhinney, Jesse. “42 Visual Content Marketing Statistics You Should Know in 2017.” HubSpot. January 3, 2017. blog.hubspot.com/marketing/visual-content-marketing-strategy#sm.0001frknxr3k3dlkqq22lsqtd9h7a

McCue, TJ. “Why Infographics Rule.” Forbes. January 8, 2013. www.forbes.com/sites/tjmccue/2013/01/08/what-is-an-infographic-and-ways-to-make-it-go-viral/#4224ed16353c

Mineo, Ginny. “The Anatomy of a Highly Shareable Infographic.” HubSpot. May 12, 2014. blog.hubspot.com/marketing/the-anatomy-of-a-shareable-infographic#sm.0001frknxr3k3dlkqq22lsqtd9h7a

Patel, Neil. “5 Ways to Get Your Infographic to Go Viral.” Quicksprout. June 11, 2012. www.quicksprout.com/2012/06/11/5-ways-to-get-your-infographic-to-go-viral

Popovic, Aleksandra. “Another Way to Use Infographics: E-Courses!” Easely. September 19, 2016. www.easel.ly/blog/another-way-to-use-infographics-e-courses

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You’re Doing It Wrong: PowerPoint Rules You Should Be Following

For years now, people have been relying on PowerPoint to communicate ideas, sell products, facilitate meetings, and conferences. Many presenters, however, still fall short and end up with lousy, poorly designed slides that do nothing but torture their audience. Thankfully, there are experts in the field who have set the rules or standards for others to follow.

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After a quick search, we found two sets of the most popular PowerPoint rules that many people subscribe to. Both may not be all-encompassing but they are excellent guidelines, nonetheless.

Guy Kawasaki’s 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint

Guy Kawasaki is a venture capitalist, among other things. If we’re going to talk about quality and importance of simplicity in presentation design, he’s the go-to, well, Guy. He practically listens to hundreds of pitches all the time, making him knowledgeable of what works and doesn’t. For him, a PowerPoint presentation should:

  • Feature 10 slides or less
  • Last no more than 20 minutes
  • Contain font not smaller than 30pt

This rule is applicable to pitches and office meetings. And because most people cannot absorb more than 10 concepts in a single meeting, it is best that you limit your presentation to 10 slides. The 20-minute duration should give you enough time to host a Q and A discussion afterwards. A 30-point typeface will make information on a slide large enough to be readable without making it look too crowded.

Seth Godin’s Five Rules for Creating Amazing Presentations

Seth Godin is a man of many interests and as a public speaker, he’s no stranger to PowerPoint presentations. He even wrote an e-book about it.

If you want to create an amazing presentation, here are the points we have taken from the book:

  1. Use no more than six words on every slide (If you include too much text, the audience will simply read the slides ahead of you).
  2. Do not use cheesy images and look for professional stock photos instead.
  3. Avoid fancy transitions such as dissolves, spins, etc, as these can be distracting, making you seem less professional.
  4. Use sound effects, but not the built-in types. You may want to rip from CDs or use the “Proust effect.”
  5. Do not provide print collateral at the start of the meeting. You want your audience to focus on the presentation, not read ahead of you.

Great presentations can trigger the right emotions, inspire change, and move people. These two sets of rules can raise the level of your next presentation from boring to life-changing. You don’t need to choose between the two, though. Applying both of them is sure to produce excellent results. But whatever you do, here’s another rule for you to remember. This one’s from presentation expert Nancy Duarte:

Never deliver a presentation you would not want to sit through.

Now, if there’s One PowerPoint Rule to rule them all, that would be it.

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PowerPoint Design Lessons from Iconic Brand Logos

A logo is crucial for any brand. The most iconic ones are easily recognizable, encompassing the story of an entire brand. Consumers don’t need to take much time to discern it. A good logo can tell them a lot about a certain product or service with just a single look.

The same thing should be said about your PowerPoint design. Like McDonald’s famous golden arches and Nike’s Swoosh, an effective PowerPoint deck can speak volumes without being too complicated or overwrought.

Here are a few PowerPoint design lessons we can learn from the most iconic brand logos:

Be consistent with your message

In 2010, Gap launched a new logo on their official website, but it didn’t last long. Customers took to social media to complain about the change. Loyal fans threatened to stop shopping at Gap stores. They felt the new logo didn’t portray the classic American feel they’ve come to love about the clothes. A week later, after an attempt to crowdsource a better design, the company reverted back to its original logo.

 

powerpoint design lesson: gap new logo vs old
The current Gap logo was momentarily replaced until fans took to social media and complained.

Gap’s mistake was to move away from the message their consumers love most about their brand. The stories their clothes told was that of timelessness. The new logo certainly felt disjointed from their identity.

Similarly, your PowerPoint design should always be coherent with the core message you want to impart. Choose colors, images, and other design elements that are consistent with the theme of your presentation. For example, if you’re presenting in a more corporate setting, it would be inappropriate to use loud and bright colors.

Tell a good story

Did you know that Apple’s iconic logo was inspired by Isaac Newton’s discovery of gravity? Seems pretty fitting for a company who has pioneered several innovations in the past several years. Apple’s first logo showed a picture of Newton under an apple tree and incorporated a quote from Wordsworth that said, “Newton… a mind forever voyaging through strange seas of thought…alone.” Steve Jobs later asked to have it replaced with a sleeker and simpler design that still represents the same narrative.

powerpoint design lesson: apple logo black
The Apple logo has changed through the years but it kept its iconic single icon.

As we’ve mentioned previously, a presentation can benefit from a great story. But you can also apply the same philosophy to your PowerPoint design by following the example of Apple’s logo. Enhance your slides with images or illustrations that have their own story. Choose an icon that may have symbolic significance (like the apple), or a picture that is composed with its own narrative. Don’t go with easy choices like cheesy stock photos.

Keep it simple

The original Google logo was created in 1998 using GIMP, a free graphics program. It showed the word Google in the Baskerville typeface with each letter in a different color. The logo evolved over time, but it kept its simplicity. Today, the Google logo is among the most recognizable. Despite its minimal design, it tells a powerful story. Ruth Kedar said of her design: “We ended up with the primary colors, but instead of having the pattern go in order, we put a secondary color on the L, which brought back the idea that Google doesn’t follow the rules.”

powerpoint design lesson: Google logo 2013
The Google logo was updated to follow the ‘flat design’ trend in 2013.

Just like Google’s logo, your PowerPoint design should remain simple. It’s not just about keeping your design easy on the eyes. It’s also important to make sure that your audience can easily pick up your key points without getting distracted by too many elements.

 

References

Ellis, Blake. “New Gap Logo Ignites Firestorm.” CNNMoney. Accessed July 21, 2014.
Weiner, Juli. “New Gap Logo, Despised Symbol of Corporate Banality, Dead at One Week.” Vanity Fair. Accessed July 21, 2014.

 

Featured Image: Miguel Vaca via flickr.com
Logos from Wikimedia Commons 

Just Scroll With It: Why Convert Your Slides into a Scrolling Web Presentation

It’s a common practice among many businessmen to prepare printed versions of their PowerPoint slides. Considering the fact that an average person can retain only up to seven key points from a presentation, that is actually a great business move. At the end of the meeting, a printed slide deck serves as a takeaway that your prospects may review at their own pace.

Apart from printing a few PDFs, you can provide your potential customers or investors with another way to access your presentations. This is by turning the slides into scrolling web pages.

With a scrolling web presentation, you can present your ideas to anyone and anywhere without the hassle of sending email attachments or bulky files. All they need to do is to key in a web address as if they are visiting any other site.

If you aren’t sure about converting your slides into a scrolling web page, the following advantages should be able to convince you:

View your presentation on the go

Thanks to today’s web technology, you can make use of responsive web designs to let your converted slides be viewed on various platforms.

With the scrolling functionality, you’ll be able to view the deck seamlessly on a laptop, tablet, or any mobile device wherever you or your prospects may be.

Enjoy website functionality with minimal navigation

Creating a web presentation lets you take advantage of the functionality of an ordinary website, such as adding videos and interactive content. This allows you to enhance the appeal of your presentation.

Moreover, visitors can browse each slide as they would with their favorite sites albeit by simply scrolling up or down instead of clicking buttons. Plus points for you for optimizing user experience.

Apply infinite scrolling but with a goal in sight

A scrolling web presentation takes after the idea of infinite scrolling, a usability option that gets rid of the usual pagination buttons that users click to navigate a site.

In his article on Smashing Magazine, Yogev Ahuvia presents the cons — alongside the pros — of infinite scrolling. Critics of this feature argue that users are goal-oriented and tend to find satisfaction upon reaching the end of an exploration.

But that’s not a problem with scrolling presentations.

Viewers can expect that a presentation isn’t exactly “infinite.” It has a beginning, a middle, and an end. They would be able to navigate the whole thing easily. In fact, you can still put buttons at the top of the screen as an optional shortcut to the different slide sections.

scrolling-site-feature

Conclusion

Ultimately, converting your slide decks into a scrolling web presentation works to your advantage. You aren’t just providing your prospects with an online takeaway, but you are also establishing your web presence.

That alone is an advantage in and of itself.

 

Reference

Ahuvia, Yogev. “Infinite Scrolling: Let’s Get To The Bottom Of This.” Smashing Magazine. May 02, 2013. Accessed June 06, 2014.

Adventure Time Lessons for Preparing Your Presentation

Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time is one of those kid shows that have crossed generational boundaries and become a hit among adult viewers. Sure, animated shows for older viewers have been produced before (Beavis and Butthead comes to mind. And then there’s The Simpsons). Adventure Time, however, is a charming, honest-to-goodness children’s cartoon that just happens to appeal to adults.

So what is it about the show that pulls the grownups? Maybe it’s nostalgia (the old-school RPG Dungeons and Dragons was an inspiration) or the characters’ dark and witty sense of humor. Whatever it is, Adventure Time has made many of us look beyond the cartoon’s candy-colored fairy-tale exterior and appreciate the lessons in each episode. BuzzFeed has even created a post, “lessons for living a better life,” in reaction to the shows’ positive appeal.

In response, we are also creating our own list of things that we have learned from the show and how they apply to PowerPoint design.

Focus on what matters

The show follows Finn, a young boy, and his dog friend Jake, who possesses super stretching powers, as they fight candy zombies and foul gnomes in the Land of Ooo. In one episode, Finn overanlyzes a conversation he had with his ex-girlfriend, Flame Princess. The princess didn’t laugh at Finn’s joke. This prompted our hero to overthink their relationship and jump to conclusions. Thankfully, Jake the dog knocked some sense into him.

What he told the boy can also be applied to presenters who are too absorbed in unnecessary PowerPoint details. Stop being hung up on imaginary problems but rather, focus on what’s real.

In designing PowerPoint slides, many of us tend to be anxious about what elements to include in hopes of creating an impact. We forget that the message is more important than any flashy graphics or fancy animation and sound effects.

Never underestimate people  

Many characters in the show appear unassuming yet capable of surprising you in the end. Cinnamon Bun is one of them. A typical lovable oaf, this guy was always underestimated by everyone. Nobody expected him to do anything extraordinary. Until in one episode, wherein he saved the day and got the girl. Finn’s reaction was priceless. “Did I just get shown up by Cinnamon Bun?”

One of the mistakes that you can make in delivering a presentation is underestimating your audience. This may show in the poor quality of your slides and lack of interest in making proper preparation. “They are just there to listen. Why should I even prepare?” You’ll get your answer after the presentation, when the audience starts throwing questions at you.

It’s okay not get it right the first time

Novice presenters can learn so much from this line from Jake:

adventure time lesson

You can apply this to any situation but if you’re being hard on yourself because of an initial presentation failure, take heart and remember this advice.

Stay optimistic – even if you don’t have enough sleep

And after several sleepless nights of designing your slides and practicing your speech, you may feel worried that you won’t be able to pull it off. Don’t worry. Princess Bubblegum (the ruler of the Candy Kingdom and friend of Finn and Jake) has something to say about that.

Jake: Princess Bubblegum, are you okay?

Princess Bubblegum: Yeah, I’m fine. I’m good. Haven’t slept for a solid 83 hours, but… yeah, I’m good.

‘Nuff said.

Choosing the Right Colors for your PowerPoint Design

Recently, the Pantone Color Institute chose Radiant Orchid for 2014’s color of the year. The color is described as a “captivating harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones”. It perfectly expresses confidence, creativity, and imagination.

Colors play an important role in visual communication. Our personal experiences and cultural associations affect how we perceive them. Imagine if stop signs were colored blue instead? Do you think it will convey the same kind of urgency we associate with the color of blood?

On their own, colors might seem like a rather inconsequential decision in the larger scheme of your deck. But it’s an important part of your slide, which could influence prospect decision-making and your business’ favorability in people’s eyes.

Note that some of the most prominent brands are already recognizable color alone. Just like Pantone’s color of the year, the color you use on your deck will have a larger impact on clients’ perception of you.

Communicating with Colors in PowerPoint Design

A study conducted by The Michael Allen Company found that customers responded more to businesses with colored receipts. Similarly, marketing researchers from Virginia Tech observed that colors have a considerable impact on consumer behaviors.

Because it’s become so integral to the business world, PowerPoint can also benefit from the psychological biases of color. Using meaningful and appropriate color combinations can help reinforce the message you want your audience to receive.

Things to keep in mind when choosing the perfect colors

1.) Your color palette must complement your topic.

Just like the images you use, your very color palette should be related to what you’re going to say. Don’t just choose colors on a whim. As we’ve seen from Pantone’s color choices every year, different colors represent different things, and can symbolize different things as well.

Let’s say you’re presenting a project on water conservation. You can reinforce your message by sticking to the different shades of blue.

2.) The colors of your PowerPoint presentation should also complement the occasion.

It’s not just your appearance or language that should be appropriate to the occasion at hand. Your colors should always exude the mood and aura of the event you’re presenting in.

For example, If your presentation is in a formal business setting, you might want to avoid using vibrant shades.

3.) Consider the personal preferences of your audience.

Similar to complementing the occasion, knowing your audience preferences is also necessary in picking the right color for the occasion. In basic color theory, brighter colors would call the attention of a tired audience, while cool colors would put an anxious audience at ease.

As a more concrete example, if you’re a teacher lecturing to a class of teenagers, you can choose to go with bright color accents.

Conclusion

Keep in mind how each color is positioned in the color wheel. This will help you decide which combinations work together.

Make sure that everything about your deck can be tied back to your pitch. If you want to convey strong points, use strong colors to express yourself. Your choices should also take into consideration both the location and your audience’s personal preferences.

Create a winning deck with a pitch to match!

 

References

Marketing Researchers Study Effect of Red on Consumer Behavior.” Virginia Tech. Accessed June 3, 2014.
PANTONE Color of the Year 2014 Radiant Orchid 18-3224.” PANTONE. Accessed June 3, 2014.

PowerPoint Presentations Can Benefit From Powerful Storytelling

Who doesn’t love to hear stories?

PowerPoint presentations become more effective in their purpose when supported by engaging stories.

Why are They Important?

1. Make Your Messages More Relatable

There’s a reason why many of us had filled our notebooks with doodles during our school days: Barrage of facts and figures can make any lecture boring and mind-numbing. When incorporated into your presentation, the right stories can make your message more meaningful and more importantly, digestible. This is especially true if you take the time to learn more about your audience and the type of life stories that are likely to get their attention.

After doing your research, draw a story from your own experience that’s similar to that of your general audience and use it to appeal to them emotionally.

Stories can help establish a bond between the storyteller and the audience. We may not be aware of it at times but every one of us longs for a connection with others – especially with those who have had the same experiences as ourselves.

2. Allow You to Connect with Your Audience

As stories can cut through the audience’s filter better than facts, you have a greater chance of earning their trust.

If you’re a good storyteller, you could even establish a connection with them. Once you have a connection with your audience, you can practically say anything to them and they’ll hardly express any disagreement.

3. Can Make Your Audience Agree with You

As long as your stories hit their mark, they can help you make your case and have your audience agree with your points.

This happens because stories shut down whatever counter-arguments your listeners have, making them less likely to think of reasons to disagree. Another reason for this is that stories have the power to touch human emotions, which increases the likelihood of your audience agreeing with you.

Now that you know the importance of storytelling in creating a presentation, what now? How do you take advantage of it? Well, all you need to do is find a nice way to tell your stories. Here are some tips for your to consider:

How to Incorporate Stories

1. Add a human element to your story

As with any stories, you need someone for your audience to relate to. This someone is the hero. In your case, this could be a student, a colleague, a consumer, or anyone who’ll make sense being included in your story.

2. Give your hero a goal and an obstacle from achieving that goal

A story without conflict can be boring. So give your hero something to aspire to as well as some challenges he needs to overcome. In your PowerPoint, this could be the part you introduce the problem.

3. Come up with a satisfying ending

People love happy endings. They inspire feelings of hope and joy. This is where you show how your ideas can solve the problems you’ve introduced earlier.

Hopefully, these three steps are enough to get you started on polishing your storytelling skills. In any case, arranging your deck in this order can make your presentation more engaging and make your job as a presenter much easier.

 

Reference

How to Use the Persuasive Power of Metaphors.” Enchanting Marketing. 2013. Accessed June 2, 2014.

Case Study: Creating Professional PowerPoint for Email Professionals

Email Professionals is an email marketing company.  Their services include developing winning email campaigns for clients by creating a unique email strategy, writing winning copy, and performing quality assurance on every email. Part of their strategy is to track results in order to know how to improve their campaign, if necessary.

What they essentially do is match their email marketing services according to their client’s situation. As every client has different needs, they propose different strategies. Incidentally, when we were tasked to create a PowerPoint presentation for their company, it was the same thing that we had in mind. Well, because naturally, that’s our principle as well.

We at SlideGenius strive to meet our clients’ expectations by creating presentations that are tailored exactly to their needs. We don’t just create slide decks from ready-made templates. Our goal is to create unique presentations, whether we are building from an existing one or creating from scratch.

The Challenge

Our task is to create a PowerPoint presentation that highlights the benefits of doing business with Email Professionals and at the same time, encourage an emotional response from the target audience. The audience members, by the way, are most likely other business entities. So the “challenge” that we have here is to make the slides look professional yet keep them from looking dull and boring. Since we’re going to talk about emails, we don’t want to simply spam the audience, so to speak.

The Solution

Even with our years of experience creating unique PowerPoint presentations, our team handled this project with utmost care. We don’t want to rest on our laurels. We just want to do an excellent job. With that in mind, we started by looking into the qualities of Email Professionals, what makes them unique and then put those thing front and center..

SlideGenius-Email-Professionals-2SlideGenius-Email-Professionals-4

 

Basically, we made sure that the colors and font styling were consistent in order for the slides to convey a level of professionalism. We also managed to make the entire presentation interesting by adding snappy, copy. In the end, we were able to achieve what we had set out to do. To give the slides a professional look and feel without making it too dull and boring.