Top 5 reasons to Prezi

Prezi’s are to presenters as 3D printers are to designers; no one really knows what they are or how they work, but everyone wants one! I get more questions about Prezi than any other presentation design tool. It is 100% unique, used by presenters all over the globe, and contrary to popular belief, quite easy to use.

Is Prezi worth all the hype? In my opinion, yes, it is, and here are the top 5 reasons why: Continue reading

Resources: Finding and Using Images

Presentation slides that are riddled with bullet points and text are deadly to an audience. You know the drill: The presenter reads the text aloud, while the audience attempts to read the text to themselves, and the end result is a broken connection between the presenter and the audience. By replacing large amounts of text with images that visually represent the topics being discussed, this problem can be avoided, and the audience is better able to recall this information in the future. This is a familiar concept.

We all strive to make our presentations more visually engaging, but quickly find this task to be difficult. We know that copying images from web searches is a bad idea, but aren’t sure where else to look. The UCSF Library has a great online guide that can help! Continue reading

Better FONTS! (pt 2)

In part 1 of this Better FONTS! post, we learned about typography, design, and explored the font collection that we already have on our computers. Now we’re getting to the fun part – downloading and using new fonts! Continue reading

Better FONTS! (pt 1)

Most of us don’t put much thought into the fonts we use in our presentations. We just pick a template and accept the fonts that come along with the template. This is a good strategy if your goal is to create a presentation that looks common and typical. One way to spice things up is to create your own collection of fonts that compliment the subject and tone of your presentation. I have a lot of cool tips and resources to share with you on this topic, so let’s dive right in! Continue reading

Design Templates: Good or Evil?

The idea of becoming a better presenter is far from controversial… that is, until we start talking about slideshow design templates! Before we share our ideas and tips, however, we want to know what you think about the proper use (or misuse) of design templates in presentations. Are templates good, or evil? Do you use them? If so, how often? Do you value consistency over creativity? Can you have both? Do templates save you time, or create more work for you?

Please take the poll below, and then share your thoughts in the comment box.


Sample slides from the Zen master

My personal foray into the world of presentation design and support began a few years back, at a community college in Michigan, when the dean of the business school approached me and asked if I would like to co-teach a new workshop with him. Sure, I said, why not? He handed me a book, and said that our presentation would be based on its content. I read it, and was immediately hooked.

The book was Presentation Zen, by Garr Reynolds. After reading it, my perspective on presentations changed forever. If presentation-giving was a religion, Garr would be the healer laying his hands on the people to miraculously cure them of their bullet points and bad clip art!

I just stumbled upon a very practical resource from Garr Reynolds, which will provide inspiration and help you design better slides.

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Unique slide backgrounds

We all want to create unique and engaging slideshows. However, we undermine this goal when we start the creation process by opening PowerPoint, and selecting a prepackaged design template as the basis for our entire presentation. These templates can stifle our creativity and often lead to typical (boring) presentations. Think back to the last few presentations that you attended… did any of the presenter’s slides use background designs and bullet point graphics that you have seen before?

With that being said, it can be intimidating to start a presentation with the “blank” template, especially if you’re new to the idea of presentation zen. As a compromise, consider starting with a simple, clean template, and then mixing in some different designs and backgrounds on a select number of slides. PowerPoint practically forces you to use the same template background on every slide, however, so you have to know the trick!

before and after PowerPoint slides

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