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Designing an Effective PowerPoint

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1 Designing an Effective PowerPoint
Part 2: Design Principles Rationale: Welcome to “Designing an Effective PowerPoint, Part 2: Design Principles.” This presentation is designed to introduce you to simple principles that can be used to create new PowerPoints and to revise existing ones. Basic principles such as these apply to all visual creations, from word processing documents to posters, and will enhance your understanding of what it means to put together an effective visual presentation. Directions: Each slide is activated by a single mouse click, unless otherwise noted in bold at the bottom of each notes page Writer and Designer: Lars Erik Söderlund Special Thanks to Robin Williams, whose Non-Designer’s Design Book and Design Workshop were helpful aids in the development of these materials. Developed with resources courtesy of the Purdue University Writing Lab Grant funding courtesy of the Multimedia Instructional Development Center at Purdue University © Copyright Purdue University, 2000, 2006

2 Overview Concepts this PowerPoint will address
Design Principles (w/ examples) Contrast Alignment Repetition Proximity Type The Importance of borrowing from experts Rationale: This final slide reemphasizes the importance of the rhetorical situation. At this point, the facilitator may choose to reemphasize components that might be especially important for the development of a given class assignment. Click mouse for each paragraph.

3 Contrast Alignment Repetition Proximity Design Principles
Rationale: The four visual design principles that are generally accepted as the most important are Contrast, Alignment, Repetition, and Proximity. An easy way to remember them is with the mnemonic CARP. Click mouse for each paragraph.

4 Create Focus Contrast Size Contrast Color Contrast
Type Contrast (more on this later) Rationale: This slide focuses on the principle of contrast. The purpose of contrast in a visual design is to create focus. To adequately create focus you must make the object of attention very different from the other elements that surround it. If you do not, it will simply blend in with the other aspects of the PowerPoint. To create size contrast, simply make larger or smaller the element you wish to draw focus. Remember to be bold- the type size difference should be at least twenty percent. To create color contrast, make the color of the focus object dramatically different from the rest of the composition. Color theory (the study of how colors affect the human brain) is complicated, but it helps to remember that cool colors (e.g. blue, purple) appear to recede from your eye (for this reason the OWL has made the background of our template a cool blue) while warmer colors (red, orange) appear to pop out from the page. Type contrast can be even more complex, but is summarized neatly by saying that it is contrast created by differences in font. I will address type contrast later in this PowerPoint, but if you are especially interested in knowing about type contrast you should at least briefly research the art of typesetting (Robin Williams, the graphic designer, has a great book on this called The Non-Designer’s Type Book). The most important guidance regarding contrast is to be strategic. It is impossible to make your audience focus on everything- trying to do so will just scatter the audience. Thus, control your contrast. Importance of being bold Next page example.

5 Growth is up 2.6 percent! Why? Increased Productivity
Focus on Sales and Revenue Fewer Troubles with Rats Ending of Seven Years’ Bad Luck Miracle-Gro Rationale: This is slide 1 of my contrast example. You can see that it is useful for explaining business grown, but ultimately is boring and homogenous, lacking in contrast.

6 Growth is up 2.6 percent Increased Productivity
Focus on Sales and Revenue Fewer Troubles with Rats Ending of Seven Years’ Bad Luck Miracle-Gro Rationale: This slide is much more dynamic (meaning that it contains a variety of elements), and its appearance stresses the amount of growth and unifies the means of growth in a list that is all of a different style than the top headline. To do this, I switched the headline to bold, increased the size, and took out the “Why?” at the top of the list to let the list speak for itself. For good contrast, be sure that you 1) Don’t fear drastic changes, and 2) Don’t overdo it. This slide recognizes that the audience has limited focus. In fact, this slide is already pushing it in terms of the amount of information the audience can be expected to take in. Don’t make the audience’s eye tired. When in doubt, keep the design basic.

7 Unify your slides with strong lines
Alignment Unify your slides with strong lines Nothing Randomly Placed Strength in Edges Power of Unity Control White Space Rationale: This slide introduces the principle of alignment. To practice good alignment habits is to create strong lines that keep the viewer focused and cause the page to look elegant. The most familiar example of alignment in our culture is probably the automatic left margin in Microsoft Word. Every time you have ever started a Microsoft Word file, this margin has been in place. We take this alignment for granted because we are so used to it, and we foget how it makes our work appear unified and coherent. Even when working in a non-word processor document such as a PowerPoint it is important to align your work. Nothing on your PowerPoint should be placed randomly, and elements that are similar should be united in a line. In the PowerPoint slide above, for example, all the bullet points share the same left edge. This is done automatically in PowerPoint, but being aware of which lines should be headings and subheadings with shared edges is key to making your slides appear stylistically coherent. If your page is properly aligned, it will speed up your viewer’s comprehension- since their eye must travel less, they pick information up faster. An example follows.

8 Rubbish, Inc. Our focus is on cleaning up garbage in Kansas City and others. We deal with both organic and inorganic waste, and in our extensive experience with all things malodorous we have developed a great system of collection and disinfection. We’re making the world safer by ridding it of damaging chemicals and toxic flotsam. Rationale: This slide has a centered alignment. This looks fine, but it lacks organizing lines and there is no real reason for it to be centered.

9 Rubbish, Inc. Our Focus is Garbage Collection and Disinfection
Organic and Inorganic Matter Making the World Safer Rationale: This slide is far more simple. By reducing the plethora of information on the previous slide to a series of bullet points, the viewer can faster grasp the information. In this type of slide, the points are made more forcefully and sparseness is favored rather than overloading. This is also a good time to remind you that a good presentation contains information beyond the PowerPoint. In other words, a PowerPoint integrated with an effective oral presentation is more impressive and does not require the PowerPoint slides to contain every piece of information.

10 Consistency in Visual Elements
Repetition Consistency in Visual Elements Standardize Look Keep Contrast within Form Make Consistent Elements Strong Rationale: Repetition is hugely important in an effective PowerPoint. Visual elements that repeat are pleasing to eye; they are the visual equivalent of a good rhyme scheme in a poem. In addition, the unified look of a good PowerPoint causes an audience to automatically think that presentation’s message is similarly unified. That is, a unified look makes people think you the creator knows what she/he is talking about. Think of the example of a newspaper: the repeating typescript, alignment, and headings make the paper easy to read and easy to trust. Good use of repetition causes a strength based in coherence. Like alignment, though, good repetition allows for a lot of difference. There should be contrast in every visual creation, but also enough standard elements so that the viewer will not feel lost.

For lots of reasons, such as- Our Ethanol-using TRUCKS Great for the environment Our practice of recycling almost everything BECAUSE WE WANT TO BE! Rationale: Consider this example. You may recall in the early days of how people wrote with a great variety of font size, shape, and color in an effort to visually portray the tone of their voice. This can be fun, but as this example shows it also creates a severely scattered look. The fonts don’t focus the eye, the choices seem random- why make the word “environment” green under trucks but not at the top of the page? Why is all of the second bullet point in a different font from the rest of the slide? Why is “trucks” so important it gets its own font? The main question when you are creating a presentation is this: do your choices make it harder or easier for the audience to focus?

12 Rubbish, Inc. We have tons of customer care options-
By Phone! By ! In Person! 456 Rubbish, Ave. West Lafayette, IN Rationale: This is the second page of the example. It looks neater, but the title at the top of the page has a different font from the previous page, and the slide utilizes bullets, but spaces them very differently from the last slide.

13 Environmentally Friendly
Rubbish, Inc. Environmentally Friendly Ethanol-Friendly Trucks Extensive Recycling Devotion to Continued Eco-Innovation Rationale: This is a revamped version of the first bad example slide. The general font of the slide (other than the title) is all the same, but size, color, and version of the type differentiate the heading from the bullets. This slide collects the audience’s attention simply and effectively.

14 Customer Care Rubbish, Inc. Phone: 555-1654
In Person at: 456 Rubbish, Ave. West Lafayette, IN Rationale: In this revamped second slide, the same font and bullet form persists. A similar difference in size and color contrasts the heading with the bullets, but the color has changed to orange (letting the environmental aspect of the green color in the previous slide stand out), and the bullets are no longer italic. Effective repetition, does not mean that everything must repeat, but enough elements should be standard to accentuate contrast.

15 Proximity Organize Presentation Slides Group Points in Simple Order
Engage Audience in Series of Points Slides Group Slide Elements by Relation Separate Different Points Rationale: The principle of proximity says that things placed close to each other look related. This means that in visual projects you must organize topics and details in a way that makes sense. Before you start your PowerPoint, take stock of your topics and decide the best order for them. For example, if the viewer must understand two or three concepts before they grasp your main point, be sure that the order of your PowerPoint allows for the introduction of the basic concepts first. In addition to ordering your PowerPoint into a series of points that is easy to grasp, you should group elements in each slide by how they are related to each other. Visual presentations are like conversations: you must group points in a way that makes them easy to understand.

16 Rubbish, Inc. What are we about?
Three things- garbage cleanup, great customer service, and a desire to help the environment. It’s the customer service we hope to make important to you, the customer, because we base our success on our satisfaction guarantee and the many companies that have had repeated business with us. Rationale: This first example slide is a bad example of proximity. The three things that Rubbish Incorporated is about are in the same place, but each thing is complicated and almost impossible to grasp in this method of presentation.

17 Rubbish, Inc. What are we about? Garbage cleanup
Great customer service Desire to help the environment Success from satisfaction guarantee Success from repeated business Rationale: This example is better, but still not the best. The slide has been simplified into bullet points, but it looks boring and the bullets could be simpler.

18 Rubbish, Inc. Our Mission Sanitation Management Great Customer Service
Satisfaction Guarantee Repeated Business Support for the Environment Rationale: This slide most effectively uses proximity. The tenets of Rubbish, Inc.’s corporate policy are grouped under its mission statement, and its customer service goal is expanded into two subheadings. This slide is easy to understand and remember.

19 Choice of Type Important
Creates Repetition Creates Contrast Color Size Weight Form Structure Rationale: As I’ve briefly discussed in previous slides, choice of type is key in visual presentations. Using one font and changing the color and size for contrast and the other design principles listed above (CARP) is always a safe and classy way to go. It’s calm and formal, two good things. To spice things up a bit, you can use multiple fonts. If you're using more than one font they must contrast in an obvious way or they will either A) not be noticed by the audience or B) hurt the audience’s eyes. If you haven’t studied typesetting before, you can learn from the font choices in magazines and advertisements- notice the types of contrast they create that are desirable. In contrasting type, there are five primary forms: color, size, weight, form, and structure. Color and size you already know, and weight, form, and structure would take more time than this PowerPoint has to explain. However, I will show a type contrast example and then explain in layman’s terms how the contrast works.

20 Rubbish, Inc. Education Inorganic Waste Is Harmful
More Costly to Clean Harbors Harmful Diseases Groundwater Pollution = Trouble Ruins Drinking Water Erodes Soil Rationale: The setup of the slide is not optimal, because having two examples in one slide is a bit complicated. It is best to just represent one point on each slide. More importantly, this slide is organized and aligned well, but there is little contrast. If Rubbish, Inc. wants to highlight the two main messages, “Inorganic Waste is Harmful” and “Groundwater Pollution = Trouble,” we have several options.

21 Rubbish, Inc. Education Inorganic Waste Is Harmful
More Costly to Clean Harbors Harmful Diseases Groundwater Pollution = Trouble Ruins Drinking Water Erodes Soil Rationale: We can create contrast with color. This helps the headings differentiate themselves from the bullet points. Remember also how cool colors recede from the eye and warmer ones jump out, but feel free to experiment with the cooler colors for effect.

22 Inorganic Waste Is Harmful
Rubbish, Inc. Education Inorganic Waste Is Harmful More Costly to Clean Harbors Harmful Diseases Groundwater Pollution = Trouble Ruins Drinking Water Erodes Soil Rationale: We can also use size to create contrast. Remember- if you are going to contrast, make it obvious. Also make sure that the words you are trying to highlight is the most important aspect of the slide, as your audience’s focus on the contrasting elements will naturally lessen their focus on the others.

23 Inorganic Waste Is Harmful
Rubbish, Inc. Education Inorganic Waste Is Harmful More Costly to Clean Harbors Harmful Diseases Groundwater Pollution = Trouble Ruins Drinking Water Erodes Soil Rationale: We can contrast font choice. The heading font now pops away from the bullet points, accentuated by color and size. Bullet point font is Arial Rounded MT Bold, which is more rounded than the subpoint font, Helvetica, but both fonts are sans-serif. “Sans-serif” means that the fonst lacks serifs, the marks found at the edges of letters on certain fonts, such as Times New Roman. Again, font contrast is a delicate science- venture surely only if you’re naturally adept at font management or you have at least a small amount of typesetting training.

24 Borrow From Experts Newspapers Magazines Online Templates
Co-Workers/Friends Ask First Give Credit Rationale: Finally, perhaps the most important design principle is to learn from others. Keep your eyes open to visual designs and add things you like to your design arsenal. If you are borrowing specifically and liberally, be sure that you are not disobeying copyright law. If you are in a position where the person from whom you borrow might get personally offended, be sure to ask. Just say: "I loved your PowerPoint from last week- would you mind if I borrow your red background art? I can give you credit, if you like." People love that. Be sure, though, that the design element you borrow will work as well for your presentation as it did in the one you saw. Finally, know that free templates are available online, as are many resources to jumpstart your creative drive.

25 KISS KISS means Keep It Simple, Stupid 6x6 rule:
no more than 6 bullet points No more than 6 words for each point Transitions: simple, consistent Graphics: must support presentation Animation: must support presentation

26 The End

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