PowerPoint Design, Surface

Assignment: Presentation Describing Research Methodology

Client: Schireson

PowerPoint design has unquestionably evolved over the last decade. Not too long ago, we struggled to convince executives that they didn't need tp display all of their content on the screen. The notion that the less they put on the screen, the better, seemed to really go against everything they held dearly. Today, when we present a PowerPoint design with just one sentence or perhaps a single word on the screen, executives rarely even blink.

Presenters recognize that it's more about the entire story and creating a compelling argument for the audience to believe. This is done by challenging audience members' imaginations, using unexpected visuals, presenting counter-intuitive findings, and supporting a presenter's stage presence. PowerPoint design really is about presentation.

Presenting complex models simply, blinx.com

Assignment: Presenting Complex Ideas to a Lay Audience

Client: blinx.com

blinkx.com's CEO, Brian Mukherjee was faced with a challenge: how to explain to a lay audience of shareholders that his company, the world's leading video search engine, was not just a youtube me-too. First, he needed to get his audience over the hurdle of understanding how the complex array of proprietary algorithms functioned, so that he could then use the company's financials to demonstrate that blinx.com had a bright future — and he had to do all this in 20 minutes without boring the socks off his audience.

PowerPoint design for the CEO's presentation to shareholders

PowerPoint presentations are the perfect medium for such bet-the-company goals. Holding the audience's attention for 20 minutes or longer provides an opportunity for detailed explanations of complex ideas, but it also presents a significant challenge. This challenge, of course, is how to avoid losing your audience midway through your presentation. Edward Tufte, the Godfather of the visual display of data, has a soapbox for reducing cognitive load for your audience to keep them focused on the presenter. This means presenting visuals which don't require mental translations in order to get their meaning – requiring your audience to perform some cognititve task midway through your presentation takes their attention away from the presenter. It may only take a couple of seconds for this cognitive process to occur, but in that time the speaker has moved on, and the audience is further behind, requiring more cognitive effort to get caught up.

Many presenters today seek visual candy to win audience attention, but if those visuals fail to support the presenter - or even worse, they obscure the message, as is the case with many infographics then they are actually doing harm to your presentation.

Bulding a case with data, Paradigm

Assignment: New Business Presentation

Client: Paradigm

Convincing an audience requires evidence — and for your audience to understand that evidence. While valid data can serve as very convincing evidence, when served up as bullet points, it will fail to get the job done. The reason behind this has to do with how our minds process information. When we are presented with data, our minds try to make sense of that data by matching it with something we've already experienced. Words and numbers need to be processed, whereas images, especially comparisons, are easily matched with past experiences. It is important to recognize that this is not about "dumbing it down" for your audience - this is about doing the cognitive work for your audience, by presenting your information with the context already attached.

B2B Sales Presentation, Facebook

Assignment: Presentation Explaining New Advertising Features

Client: Facebook for Business

Facebook has a lot to offer advertisers beyond display ads – in fact, the level of control they offer is quite astounding, and can be a little difficult for business owners to wrap their heads around.

The sales force, operating in several countries, needed a clear, simple way to communicate the new features, and for this, rich visuals were used.

Keynote Presentation, Napa Valley Vintners

Assignment: Capabilities Presentation

Client: Napa Valley Vintners

Normally, this is not the kind of thing I'd include in a portfolio, but when Napa Valley Vintners Association described what they were looking for in a presentation, it reminded me of something very important, often overlooked by so many clients: What is the design challenge we are seeking to overcome?

Napa Valley Vintners wanted something with a Wow factor - something that really "Popped!" but which was still on-brand, and which communicated all the necessary information. Tricky. But we see this a lot - many clients see something they like and say "That's exactly what we want!" failing to recognize that another organization's style may not translate to their brand or content.

The Solution? It's important to correctly define the problem, before devising a solution. In the case of Napa Valley Vintners, they were seeking to inform people who had already formed their own opinions of the Napa Valley. They were not educating, but rather, Re-educating. They were hoping to persuade their audience to change their perceptions about Napa Valley. This was not a design issue — this was a Communications issue, and it was our job to convince them of this.

Donor Presentation, Elephant Crisis Fund

Assignment: Presentation to High Net Worth Donors

Client: Nature Conservancy Network

This presentation, designed for small audiences of high-net-worth individuals, needed to communicate the global crisis of elephant poaching and ivory trafficking. It needed to show just how brutal these crimes are without being over-designed.

A common problem with this kind of subject matter is the feeling for the audience that they are far-removed from the situation. To overcome this, we sought to frame the situation in terms that were more relevent to the audience.

PowerPoint Design:
Why It Matters to Your Bottom Line

Say what you will about PowerPoint. Call it evil, if that's your thing, but get this: in-person presentations are the most persuasive form of business communication out there. When else do you have an audience gathered, willing to give you their attention, willing to hear your entire story, with whatever visuals you need? All you have to do is not bugger it up. If you need to turn boardmembers into believers, shareholders into supporters, or the common public into customers, this is it my friend. The lights are on, the curtain is rising, it's all up to you now. If you don't have good design, then those had better be some amazing freakin' bullet points on that screen behind you.

We are all swayed by good (and bad) design. Far more sophisticated today than they were a decade ago, your audience is now accustomed to a certain level of design standards which you will have to meet, if they are to give your message their consideration.

PowerPoint Design:
You Need It, We've Got It, Let's Do This.

We're busy. You're busy. Everyone's busy. We're not going to putz around, and we're not just going to tell you what you want to hear. We specialize in turning presentations around and making them work as your most persuasive business communication. Get us on the phone at (707) 210-4532 and in no time at all, you'll know how quickly we can make a positive impact on your Powerpoint design.

Assignment: Keynote Presentation

Client: AT&T Brand Team

Presenting to the internal brand team of a national brand will always test your familiarity with their brand identity, but delivering a presentation with 85 slides will test much more than that. With this presentation, which delved into the competitive landscape, consumer insights, and emerging trends, it was important to keep the audience focused on the story. This was achieved with a strong internal structure, using separator slides and a repeating rhythm to help audience members understand where they were in the presentation, and help them know what was coming next.

These kinds of assistive devices help audiences keep up with your presentation, allowing them to focus on the story you're presenting, making your presentation all the more persuasive.

Assignment: Educational Presentation for the Internal Sales Team

Client: Google

Knowing your audience's level of technical knowledge and understanding of the concepts you're presenting is a huge benefit when designing a PowerPoint. It means being able to talk to them in very relevant terms, without the need for slides designed to get potential laggers up to speed. In this case, the presentation was for Google's internal sales team, educating them about some new features being rolled out for advertisers. With the sales team's intricate understanding of the content matter, we were able to cut to the chase and simply explain how to introduce the new features to clients.

Assignment: Presentation to Board Members

Client: Ericsson MediaRoom

Assignment: PowerPoint Presentation to Stakeholders

Client: Bally

What if all you have is bullet points? You just need to get the point across. Sure, we get it, and that doesn't make you a bad presenter. But think about if you were in the audience of a presentation that was slide after slide of text comprised of bullet points. It would be very difficult for you to recall a particular slide, if none of them stood out.

Adding some form of memory aid can go a long way, even if it's something as simple as a stylized map serving as a background. The trick is to create something supportive of the message, without being distracting. We can help you with that!

Internal Presentation

Client: Scion

Assignment: Developing a Library of PowerPoint Templates

Client: Wells Fargo Advantage Funds

Organizations with decentralized sales forces sometimes see strange things happening to their beautifully branded PowerPoints. Squished logos, bizarre clipart, bar charts in shocking colors smashing into headlines... these are some of the design cruelties that arise from members of the sales team needing something to "pop!" (but usually it's just the brand manager's head that pops). This is when a library of branded templates would come in handy.

When brand teams begin to see "enhancements" being made to their PowerPoint decks out in the field, it is an opportunity to discover how the existing presentations are not living up the the needs of the sales team. Recognizing that the one-size-fits-all model doesn't apply to PowerPoint templates is the first step when organizations start to build out a library of slide templates. The goal is to provide templates to accomodate every kind of wayward content conceivable.

Assignment: Company Offsite Keynote

Client: Oak Hill Capital Management

Assignment: Presentation Explaining New Advertising Features

Client: Facebook for Business

Facebook has a lot to offer advertisers beyond display ads – in fact, the level of control they offer is quite astounding, and can be a little difficult for business owners to wrap their heads around.

The sales force, operating in several countries, needed a clear, simple way to communicate the new features, and for this, rich visuals were used.