presentation design

Presentation Design Quick Tip #4 - P is for Proximity

In this video, you'll learn about using proximity to design better looking presentation slides. This is the fourth in the four part series, "Presentation Design Quick Tips Using CRAP." Previous videos have covered the design concepts of Contrast, Repetition and Alignment. This video looks at how proximity can be used to express relationships between items or content on your presentation slides. Please check out the video or skip down and read more on this topic.

If YouTube is unavailable in your area, please click the following link to watch or right-click to download: Presentation Design Quick Tip #4 - P is for Proximity

Video length 1:46 (Click CC for captions or read transcript below) Special thanks again to Powtoon (http://www.powtoon.com) for making this video possible.

UPDATE SEPT. 2, 2016:

Special thanks to Robin Williams, the author of the Non-Designers Design Book for inspiring this series of videos. It was her who came up with CRAP, and I'm lucky enough that she is ok with me talking about it with you. What is Proximity in design?

In design, proximity is used to show relationships between different things. It's used quite often in well-designed brochures, flyers and advertisements. It's one of the easiest ways to group things together to help the viewer subconsciously understand the content. Proximity also helps create a sense of organisation when looking at a document or whatever it may be.

Why is Proximity important in presentations?

In presentations, there are two good reasons for using proximity. First, proximity is a great way to help your audience understand what images, graphs, data or messages are related and should be paid attention to. It just makes it easier for the audience to understand what it is you are trying to tell them. It's important to always remember that you and your slides are guiding the audience. The audience should never assume something or make up their own conclusions about what they see and hear. It is your job to kind of tell them what to think.

Second, you may need to keep the number of slides you create to a minimum. It's not always possible to have extra slides due to internal company procedures or other requirements. For example, some companies use PowerPoint slides as documents and expect something more compressed.

These types of restrictions aren't the best way to create a presentation, but you have to deal with them and just accept the situation. In these instances, it's important to use proximity to help keep information organized and easy for your audience to see.

How you can use Proximity in your presentation slides

This is actually quite easy. Just remember to always keep related information, whether titles, text, images, or whatever, close together. You can this with great effect on title slides. Put the main title and subtitle, if any, close together. Then put your name or company a few line breaks down. Finally, if you have a date, put that another two or three line breaks down from your name.

Experiment

Like all of these principles or rules that you've learned, try them and then start playing around to see what happens. The main thing is whether or not your audience gets your message or not. However, if you stick with the techniques you've learned over these last four videos, you'll have an easier time knowing when your slides might be ineffective or effective in communicating your message.

Good luck and have fun.

If you have any questions or comments about using proximity, please them below.

Thanks.

Carl

 

Transcript:

Proximity.

Hi I'm Carl Kwan and this is Presentation Design Quick Tip #4 - Proximity.

Proximity in design means that if things are closer together we assume there is a relationship between those things.

If they are further apart, we assume there's no relationship for those. So when you are designing your presentation slides, how you're going to use proximity is like this:

Whatever information that you want to group together to make one point, put those things together. You can do this by applying, like titles with great contrast and also with alignment and making those things one group. Then have something else, another part of your slide, which is a second group of items.

It's great to use with pictures, as well. If you want to put a picture with a title or text, make sure they are close together if there is a relationship between those things.

Now, one thing you have to be careful of is having too many things on your slide and trying to create proximity with all this different stuff there. In that case, it's better just to separate your information and put different items onto different slides. So different points onto different slides, trying to keep to a one point per slide rule whenever possible.

And that is Presentation Design Quick Tip #4 - Proximity.

If you have any questions or comments about using proximity, please leave them below this video.

Thanks for watching and talk to you again soon.

Bye bye.

Presentation Design Quick Tip #3 - A is for Alignment

In this video, you'll learn about using alignment to design better looking presentation slides. This is the third in the four part series, "Presentation Design Quick Tips Using CRAP." Previous videos have covered the design concepts of Contrast and Repetition. This video looks at how alignment can be used to give your slides a professional look and make it easy for your audience to see and understand your presentation slides' content. Please check out the video or skip down and read more on this topic.

If YouTube is unavailable in your area, please click the following link to watch or right-click to download: Presentation Design Quick Tip #3 - A is for Alignment

Video length 1:46 (Click CC for captions or read transcript below) Special thanks again to Powtoon (http://www.powtoon.com) for making this video possible.

UPDATE SEPT. 2, 2016:

Special thanks to Robin Williams, the author of the Non-Designers Design Book for inspiring this series of videos. It was her who came up with CRAP, and I'm lucky enough that she is ok with me talking about it with you.

What do you mean by alignment and why is it important?

Alignment in terms of design is making things in some sort of straight line. It's visually lining things up to create an imaginary line that people will instantly notice. Alignment is important because just like repetition, the human brain is constantly scanning for alignment.

What this means is that when something is out of alignment, it creates a slight sense of unease in the viewer… or in your case, the audience. So when something is in alignment, this is visually familiar and therefore, comfortable to look at. This helps your audience to better pay attention to what's on the slides, instead of trying to look for the alignment.

What you'll find is that pairing alignment and contrast will give your slides an instant boost in the looks department. Your slides will look purposefully designed rather than randomly thrown together.

But what about center alignment?

Every one of us has used, and probably continue to use, center alignment because it's the default setting in most presentation software like PowerPoint or Keynote. However, if you have other text or objects on your slides and they are center aligned, your audience will spend a brief moment or two to figure out the alignment. At best, it's a brief moment of thinking that your audience needs to do. At worst, it makes your slides confusing and more difficult than necessary to understand.

Try this instead

A better approach, especially for audiences that are used to reading or writing from left-to-right, is to use a left alignment. This will create an immediate sense of familiarity and helps your audience easily see or read whatever is on your slides. If you're presenting to a Japanese or Chinese audience where they are used to reading and writing from right-to-left, then try using a right alignment. However, it's pretty safe to go with left alignment in most cases.

You can use alignment with text, as in the video, and also with text and images. You can also apply a left alignment anywhere you choose by using other elements on your slides to help you create a starting point for the alignment.

Experiment

As I've mentioned in other posts, these design rules are meant to be broken. So play around with the simplest forms of alignment and then start seeing how you can apply it in more creative ways. Whatever you do, just start applying alignment to your slides and you'll notice an immediate improvement. And I'm sure others will notice it, too.

If you have any questions or comments about using alignment, please leave them below.

Thanks and talk to you again next time.

Carl

 

Transcript:

Hi I'm Carl Kwan and this is Presentation Design Quick Tip #3 - Alignment. Alignment and contrast, which I talked about in the first video in this series on presentation design, are going to be your best friends when it comes to creating professional looking presentation slides. The reason is because people naturally look for things in alignment, just like how they look for things that repeat.

When something isn't in alignment, it's less comfortable to look at than if you look at the same thing with alignment applied.

You'll notice that the typical centre alignment we've all used is actually not the best way to design your slides. Your eyes need to scan from line-to-line trying to find alignment.

A better approach, especially for audiences that are used to reading or writing from left-to-right, is to use a left alignment. This will create an immediate sense of familiarity and helps your audience easily see or read whatever is on your slides. If you're presenting to a Japanese or Chinese audience where they are used to reading and writing from right-to-left, then try using a right alignment. However, it's pretty safe to go with left alignment in most cases.

You can use alignment with text as you're seeing here and also with text and images. You can also apply a left alignment anywhere you choose by using other elements on your slides to help you create a starting point for the alignment.

And that's Presentation Design Quick Tip #3 - Alignment.

If you have any questions or comments about using alignment, please leave them below this video.

Thanks for watching and talk to you again soon.

Bye bye.

Presentation Design Quick Tip #1 - C is for Contrast

So let's get right into this whole presentation design thing. Remember that you will learn about creating professional looking PowerPoint or Keynote slides by applying four basic design principles…CRAP. This week, we will cover the C, which stands for contrast. Please check out the video or skip down and read more on this topic.

If YouTube is unavailable in your area, please click the following link to watch or right-click to download: Presentation Design Quick Tip #1 - C is for Contrast

Video length 1:32 (Click CC for captions or read transcript below) First...

Special thanks to Powtoon (http://powtoon.com) for their amazing web app to make this video possible.

UPDATE SEPT. 2, 2016:

Special thanks to Robin Williams, the author of the Non-Designers Design Book for inspiring this series of videos. It was her who came up with CRAP, and I'm lucky enough that she is ok with me talking about it with you.

Why contrast is important

Contrast is important because it makes it easier for your audience to see what is important on your slides and what is less important. This helps you, the presenter, to clearly show the audience what you want to emphasise. Contrast can help you prevent the audience from guessing or misinterpreting what they see. You get to remain in control of the experience.

How to use contrast

There are two ways you can use contrast. I've shown you one way in the video by using text. Text is the easiest to work with because it's so simple to adjust the size to create emphasis.

The second way is use objects like pictures or other graphics. If you wanted to compare two similar things, making one bigger will show the audience which one is more significant.

So start applying contrast to your presentation slides and notice how much easier it will be to draw your audience's attention to specific things you want to highlight.

Be sure to sign up for my newsletter if you haven't already so you don't miss a thing.

Next time I'll be talking about how to use the second design concept from CRAP… Repetition.

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.

Thanks.

Carl

 

Transcript:

Hi I'm Carl Kwan.

This is Part 1 in a four part series on presentation design using CRAP. In this video you'll learn about contrast. Contrast, by definition, is an obvious difference between objects.

Contrast in your presentation slides is important because it helps your audience identify what is important on your slides and what is less important. It's a process that happens naturally because the human brain processes larger things as more significant and smaller things as less significant.

When it comes to presentations, the easiest way to apply contrast is in your presentation text.

Let's have a look at an example.

As you can see, the text is the same size with no contrast whatsoever. Your job as the presenter is to help the audience quickly understand what is important to them and not to make them guess. So here is contrast applied to the most important content on the slide. In this case, it's the title followed by the subtitle.

An additional benefit is that this also helps your audience to easily see what's on your slide.

You can also use this technique for any data or numbers you want to point out to your audience.

There you go.

That was Presentation Design Quick Tip #1 - C is for Contrast.

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below this video.

Thanks for watching and talk to you again soon.

Bye bye.

Presentation Design Quick Tips - You Need CRAP

If you've ever looked at your PowerPoint or Keynote presentation slides and thought they looked pretty good, but then someone showed up with something that made yours look like they were made by a 5 year old, then this is for you. In this video I introduce my next series of videos on presentation design. There will be four videos to teach you the four basic design concepts of contrast, repetition, alignment and proximity... also known as CRAP! Learning about CRAP will help you avoid making presentations slides that look like, well...crap.

Please check out the video or skip down and read more on this topic.

If YouTube is unavailable in your area, please click the following link to watch or right-click to download: Presentation Design Quick Tips - You Need CRAP

Video length 1:21 (Click CC for captions or read transcript below) First...

Special thanks to Powtoon (http://www.powtoon.com) for their amazing web app to make this video possible.

CRAP is Important

Understanding the basics of contrast, repetition, alignment and proximity will make laying out your slides so much easier. You will be able to understand why something should go in a certain place and how it should look to make it easy for your audience to see and understand. Ultimately, it's about learning CRAP so you don't make any crap.

Check back next week for the first video on Contrast.

Thanks.

Carl

UPDATE SEPT. 2, 2016:

Special thanks to Robin Williams, the author of the Non-Designers Design Book for inspiring this series of videos. It was her who came up with CRAP, and I'm lucky enough that she is ok with me talking about it with you.

Transcript:

Hi, I'm Carl Kwan.

Presentation design can seem like a big mystery.

But in this four part video series, I'm going to show you some basic design principles that will give your presentations a clean, professional look that will help you make a great impression and more importantly, get your message across to your audience.

And who doesn't want to do that, right?

Well, in case there's anyone who doesn't want to do that, check out my video about what a presentation is.

Okay, so what you're going to learn is CRAP:

Contrast, Repetition, Alignment and Proximity.

Applying these four design concepts to your presentations is simple, easy and will make people think you turned into a design guru.

Or at the very least, your audience will have an easier time following your presentations and understanding your message.

And that is ultimately the most important thing.

So, subscribe to my Channel, sign up for my newsletter or check back here next week to watch Presentation Design Quick Tip #1…C is for Contrast.

Thanks for watching.

Talk to you again soon.

Bye bye.

Tutorial - How to use a picture as a PowerPoint background [VIDEO]

As promised, here's the tutorial on using a picture as a PowerPoint background. This also works for anyone like me who uses Apple's Keynote. Why should you do this?

Well, if your slides stand out from normal presentation slides, your presentation will stick better in the audience's mind.

In the video below, you'll see the following...

  1. Slides from a real presentation that I fixed and added pictures for the backgrounds.
  2. You'll see the Before, then I’ll show you how to get from the Before to the After.

If YouTube is unavailable in your area, please click the following link to view or right-click to download the video: Tutorial - How to use a picture as a PowerPoint background

Video length 3:48 The steps I took can be done in PowerPoint or Keynote. The slides in the example presentation were all made in PowerPoint for Mac. Don't worry, as pretty much everything in the PC version of PowerPoint does the same thing.

So here are the six steps I took:

  1. Alignment is a fast way to make a presentation more professional looking; use a left-align as your default to avoid design faults.
  2. Use pictures that are relevant to your topic; make sure the picture size is the same or bigger than your slide size.
  3. If a picture doesn’t have good colours, change it to black and white.
  4. Make your titles bigger to create contrast and to help the audience see better.
  5. Don't trap text in a bordered text box... Set it free!
  6. Use a black box set at 75% transparency to use as a background for your text.

And here are the before and after slides from the video with what I did to change the slides...

This first one has a core design principal...

Tutorial - How to use a picture as a presentation slide background.014

This second was has most of what I did...

Tutorial - How to use a picture as a presentation slide background.015

This third one shows how adding a black box can work really well...

Tutorial - How to use a picture as a presentation slide background.016

In number four, it's alignment again...

Tutorial - How to use a picture as a presentation slide background.017

In number five, it's putting together what's been taught...

Tutorial - How to use a picture as a presentation slide background.018

And finally, in six it's the black box once again...

Tutorial - How to use a picture as a presentation slide background.019

I believe anyone can do this. It does take a bit of practice, but if you know some basic techniques like the ones I've shown you here, anyone can get great results.

So go out there and give it a shot! If you want feedback on something you've done, leave a comment below with a link to your file or use the Contact page to get in touch with me.

Thanks and talk to you again soon!

Carl

 

 

Presentation Quick Tip #1 - Use a picture as a PowerPoint background

Presentation design is an expression that probably draws some cringes from people. Understandable since most of us just want to quickly get our PowerPoint slides finished before our boss or teacher wants them. So in this very first Presentation Quick Tip video, I share with you a speedy way to add some flair to your PowerPoint presentations. All you have to do is use a photo as your background, instead of the plain white or whatever colour the template is. I'll go into more detail on exactly how to do it in another post. The main thing is to use photos that are relevant to your presentation topic. For example, if you're putting together a presentation about your latest quarter's sales results, use photos of your product, or photos from sales team meetings, whatever.

The challenge of course is getting the photos. But with smartphones being so popular, it's just a matter of remembering to capture the moment wherever you happen to be and saving those in a well-named folder. Just hold your camera steady, keep the light source behind you and snap away.

One thing to not do is take pictures of people when there's overhead lighting only. Everyone will end up with big black bags under their eyes and forever hate you for taking such an awful picture of them.

Anyway, check out the video for more information.

Thanks and look for the follow up to this Presentation Quick Tip.

Carl

If YouTube is unavailable in your area, please watch or download the video here: Presentation Quick Tip #1 - Use a picture as a PowerPoint background

Video length: 0:58

The National Food Safety Information Service of Korea's Presentation & Video for the WHO & FAO

The President of the National Food Safety Information Service of Korea (NFSI), Dr. Eun Sook Moon, asked me to help with a presentation to talk about how the NFSI supports the Korean Food and Drug Administration (KFDA). The presentation was going to be attended by a mainly Asian-Pacific audience made up of food safety experts working in each countries' respective governments. But the VVIPs were the WHO and FAO. Yes, THE WHO. And the FAO...the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Two heavyweights were going to be there so it was important to make a good impression. Additionally, the NFSI wanted to promote the amazing information database system they use. It's this system, plus the extremely talented NFSI staff that provide the support for the KFDA.

Since the audience was mainly non-native English speakers, the slides had to help communicate the message even if the audience couldn't catch what was spoken. I made sure to keep to a single point per slide to make it easy for the audience to follow. This also made it easier for Dr. Moon to focus on what to say without having to worry about extra points. The other consideration was that it was likely the audience was going to want a PDF or the PowerPoint slides to have documentation they could take home or have emailed. So the slides had to be easy enough to understand without becoming a document.

To conclude the presentation, I suggested that we introduce the NFSI staff by letting them introduce themselves in a video. Sounds boring, but what you don't know is that since the NFSI monitors and collects food safety information from 48 countries worldwide, they have staff that can speak Korean, plus at least one of SIX other languages! I thought it'd be a cool idea to let those talented people show off by introducing themselves using whatever other language they speak.

One of the biggest challenges in preparing a presentation with statistics, dates and events is keep a good flow and not bog down the audience. At the same time, you need to give them enough information so they come away with a good impression and so they will be motivated to want more detailed information. So in addition to explaining some stats and information, we decided to show a day-in-the-life of the NFSI's database system. The system I mentioned earlier as being a critical component of the NFSI's work.

The end result was a presentation that clearly demonstrated what the NFSI does. The presentation also showed the potential the organisation has to be at the center of food safety management in Asia-Pacific. Plus, it was nice to let their staff show off a little bit, too.

Below are the presentation slides. The staff intro video is just below the slides.

If you've got a big presentation and need some help getting the message and content right, get in touch with me. You can contact me via email at carl@carlkwan.com or by phone at 010-9087-2086 in Korea or 82-10-9087-2086 from outside of Korea.