Haute Slides is a personal project that will focus on beautiful information design and slide presentations.
If you think about it… the goal of a presentation is to relay information.
The STC defines information design as “…the translating [of] complex, unorganized, or unstructured data into valuable, meaningful information”. (To learn about information design I strongly suggest Kim Baer’s book Information Design Workbook)
Presentation software such as PowerPoint and Keynote offer a way to display this information visually. The area of information design directly relates to the practice of presentation development.
I’ve been frustrated with websites and books that skim over the importance of design and style when it comes to presentations. The idea of PowerPoint itself is not considered glamorous. Many blame it for the abundance of poorly developed slides and boring presentations they have endured, when in fact, the reason for this is not the software. It’s the users and the presenters, who have absolutely no design background, they have not studied art, they don’t love style or embrace it, and they don’t see any beauty in information. I partly blame Microsoft for making this tool so easily available and cheap. It automatically brings down the value of work associated with it. It strips it from the kind of exclusivity that Photoshop and Illustrator is known for.
Many “Presentation Specialists” are plain language or communication experts who have figured their way around PowerPoint. There is a reason why communication and design are two separate disciplines… but they are related and make a great pair. I want to encourage designers to dive into these professions and turn around the face and style of presentation design.
If you look at any other media, for example web development, it consists of coders, designers and copywriters. Then why are we settling for the all in one combo when it comes to developing presentations?
For the past four years I have been designing presentations in the litigation consulting industry, and have seen first hand how powerful slides can be. Most big trials these days use presentations to explain to the jury what exactly is happening, often there are major financial gains or losses associated. In addition to litigation, presentations are used as sales pitches, marketing material, training, and investor relations. All of these areas directly affect the prosperity of a company.
An excerpt from Slide:ology by Nancy Duarte explains it best: (I will probably quote this book a lot, the best one I’ve read so far on presentation development)
“In many instances, presentations are the last impression a customer has of a company before closing a business deal. […] Some people simply don’t understand how powerful and moving a presentation can be.
Let’s go fix that”
This blog will serve as a teaching and learning tool, offer advice with examples of good design, tutorials on how you can get certain looks, features of amazing presentation designers, and any other resources I will find on this journey.