Why Design Matters


I stumbled upon this amazing Slideshare presentation today… I love the focus on how and why good design = good business.  Check it out below:


Why do YOU think design is important?


Six Ways To Ignite Your Ideas


This amazing Slideshare presentation was “Top Presentation of the Day” today, and I loved the powerful content and beautiful slides.  Check it out:


My favorite slide is #10: “Few things kill a good idea faster than 1) boring presenters, 2) data dumps, 3) confusing information, and 4) poor visuals” (Source).  Well said!

Check out We Are Visual here.

Presentation Design Techniques From The Masters


On Tuesday and Thursday of this week, my students are learning how to design more effective slideshows.  I love this brand new deck by Slide Comet, and many of these lessons are essential for my students:


What I liked most about the deck was the clear, thorough explanation of the five different approaches: the Takahashi method; the Kawasaki method; the Lessig method; the Godin method; and the Jobs method.  I am dying to redesign my “visual design” lessons to include more types of visual design with my students so that they can select the slideshow they need to create based upon their audience; their purpose; and their content.  In August when Fall classes begin, I plan to incorporate the Slide Comet deck into my lectures so that students have a more clear sense of their options.

Which slide design method do you use most often?  Do you change your approach depending upon your audience, or do you stick to one method no matter what type of speech you are delivering?

Protesting Presentation Design: “I’m A Visual Learner! I Need Bullets”


During an English Department meeting earlier this week, I overheard a colleague say, “I’m a visual learner.  That’s why I need to use bullets in my slides.”

Rather than halt the meeting, I decided it was time for yet another “Protesting Presentation Design” post.  Back in November of 2012, I wrote a post on the 5 most common arguments that I hear protesting presentation design, but I completely forgot about this argument:


To be honest, I think I actually try to push this argument from my mind because it makes the least amount of sense.  Also, the people who say this to me often think I have no idea what I’m talking about… For that reason, we’ll defer to the experts.

“7 Lessons from the World’s Most Captivating Presenters” is a Slideshare presentation and also a really great article.  The third lesson we must learn is that a picture is worth a thousand words.  The article reads:

“There’s a reason why expressions like, ‘Seeing is believing’ and, ‘A picture is worth 1000 words’ are so universally recognized — and that reason is based in science.

It’s called the Picture Superiority Effect, and it refers to a large body of research, which shows that humans more easily learn and recall information that is presented as pictures than when the same information is presented in words” (Source).  If you’ve never heard of the picture superiority effect, please check out the 30 second explanation video below:


The article goes on to explain how the picture superiority works in an additional test: “In one experiment, for instance, subjects who were presented with information orally could remember about 10% of the content 72 hours later. Those who were presented with information in picture format were able to recall 65% of the content” (Source).

So consider this:


Visual people do remember words, yes, but they remember pictures much more vividly and for a longer period of time.  “Not only do we remember visual input better, but we also process visual information 60,000x faster in the brain than we do text” (Source).  So if you are, in fact, a visual learner, your slides should include images to simplify your message and to increase retention.

How many times have you seen that standard death-by-PowerPoint slideshow filled with bullets and text?  What did you actually remember?  Chances are, you can’t recall that information today, and if you do, I can guarantee you that the presentation was boring. No one waits to speak to a death-by-PowerPoint presenter after the speech to rave about the bullet points.  People remember an impacting image, a high-quality chart or graph, or a powerful video.  “Sure, it takes more time to find and select awesome images to replace text, but master communicators know that it’s worth the extra effort to achieve maximum impact and maximum audience retention” (Source).

Consider pairing image and text in your next PowerPoint presentation to ensure you are actually developing a visual presentation that meets the needs of your visual learners.  Be sure to check out “7 Lessons From the World’s Most Captivating Presenters” here.

What other arguments do you hear protesting effective presentation design?  How can we work to get through to these people?

You Don’t HAVE To Use PowerPoint…


For my Legal and Ethical Issues in Communication graduate course, we wrote our final papers and are having “poster sessions” tonight to explain our research and our findings…

I love the idea of a visual presentation that is tangible.  Simplicity, unity through color and typeface, and an application of the rule of thirds are key to a successful posterboard.  Remember making these for the science fair back when you were younger?  I wish we could go back to these days!

When is the last time you created a visual OTHER than PowerPoint or Keynote to support your presentation?

Design Tip of the Day: 7 Deadly Sins of Visual Design


Last month, I developed the 7 Deadly Sins of Visual Design for our visual design lecture. Here they are in one succinct place for our Design Tip of the Day.

The first deadly sin is envy.  Design envy occurs when you covet the slides of others.  Slide envy can easily be treated.  How?  Click here to learn three primary principles to treat your slide envy.

The second deadly sin is pride.  Many people feel their slides are amazing and refuse to see the light from Garr Reynolds and Nancy Duarte.  Their pride stands in the way of creating truly effective slides.  So how can someone correct this deadly sin?  Click here to find out how to overcome slide pride and how to create meaningful visual design.

The third deadly sin is wrath.  Please stop killing your audiences with slides filled with bullet points.  Bullets kill.  Learn how to correct your deadly obsession with bullets here.

The fourth deadly sin is sloth.  Slide sloth is the sin my students most frequently suffer from.  A slide sloth’s visual presentation took 5 minutes because a slide sloth doesn’t care about an audience’s needs; the sloth would rather eat Cheetos and watch The Jersey Shore.  To avoid slide sloth, click here.

The fifth deadly sin is lust.  Sometimes, to grab the audience’s attention, presenters rely on racy images or multimedia that have little or nothing to do with their topic.  Scantily clad bodies are never a good idea as an attention-getter if those scantily clad bodies have nothing to do with your thesis.  Instead, develop strong content and avoid lusty slides.  Learn more about lust here.

The sixth deadly sin is gluttony.  More is never better when it comes to slides.  Garr Reynolds teaches us with his Presentation Zen philosophy that simplicity in design is essential.  Avoiding slide gluttony is important, so click here to learn more.

The seventh deadly sin is greed.  If you use images without properly citing the image’s owner, you are being a greedy thief because you are stealing those images.  Click here to learn how to properly show attribution.