Start with a pencil, not a mouse.

OK, I’m tired of seeing presentations that are seemingly inspired while sitting at the computer. It feels like people don’t sketch anymore. ¡C’mon! We are seeing too many presentation designs that scream, “Hey, I know how to use the new 3D tool in PowerPoint!”

Remember: Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

You are creating a presentation to inform, connect, and engage your audience. Sometimes, design that starts on the computer is never fully developed and may never have a REAL concept or story behind it. When you rely too heavily on the tools and not the ideation, you end up with a presentation that looks polished on the surface, but lacks any unique or engaging ideas. In other words, you get a pretty presentation that has no emotional connection with the audience.

The solution? Let’s back it up and sketch it out! Ideas first, execution second!

Sketching can sometimes be intimidating, but really, it’s not about how clean your lines are. It’s about idea generation. Here’s an example of concept sketches where the designer proposed multiple solutions for one concept. The initial rough sketches only need to be good enough for your team members to see your ideas. The refined sketch it is what you present to your boss or a client. And the final slide shows how it was executed digitally. This is just a snapshot of a larger project, but you get the idea.

Here’s another example of a storyboard, showing again how rough your initial sketches can be.

So, the next time you sit down to create a presentation, don’t get caught up with the newest and coolest tools, because all it takes to create great slides is a pencil and an idea. And anybody can do it, (especially you.)

Design / Strategy


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