Talking to an architect today about refreshing the skills we had worked on last year set me to thinking about PowerPoint.
Here is my advice for architects.
Brochures and printed material are a totally different thing from images projected on a screen. It is not the images themselves that are different, but the way they are consumed.
When you pick up a book you set the pace. You examine it. You fondle it. You consume it in your own way, and in your own time.
Projecting images on a screen is like holding open a broadsheet newspaper and saying. “Look.”
Since you are visual people, and expert at visualising, you will be imagining the complexity that is a newspaper page. Look at what? The top story? The ads? The text? The pictures? Which one?
Often this is what I have seen architects and designers do. Often accompanied, as our eyes scanned a dozen images and chunks of text, with the words, “As you can see…”
Well, no. I usually can’t.
When you put images on a screen and give people a finite time to take them in you should be very clear what you want them to look at.
There are two ways to do this.
Either put up one simple image.
Or, if you must put up more than one image, and I’d rather you didn’t, tell them very clearly where to look.
Remember, you know the images you are showing really well. You instantly ‘read’ your own images, but the audience may not. They may be wondering what font that is, or thinking about something irrelevant.
We don’t do much PowerPoint any more. We find Prezi much more suited to design because if its ability to zoom in from the big picture to the detail. And also to follow a story through a picture or plan. If you don’t know Prezi I recommend it completely. See HERE for a quick guide.
So, to put it another way…
Do not think of a PPT slide as a piece of design in itself. It is a tool for communication. Use it simply and boldly. People will thank you for it.