29 Jul

Presentation Inspiration: State of Social Media in the UK

This presentation is intended to be viewed without a speaker, and is used as a PR ad but look how effectively they present the info.

The color scheme might not translate into courtroom or boardroom visibility but the way they tell the story is fantastic. This type of story telling would be very effective in opening or closing statements of litigation presentations. Attorneys often try to jam a lot of information into their slides.  Showing the “gist” would prevent the jury to be overwhelmed with info overload. Sometimes we don’t need charts or graphs to show data. We just need to show what’s relevant.

23 Jul

Use a Creative Brief in Presentation Development, Maximize the Design Potential

I’ve done some freelance work recently that reminded me how incredibly crucial it is to develop a presentation palette and style guide prior to beginning work. Spending this extra effort beforehand can be a life saver especially when creating corporate or litigation presentations that often have changing deadlines and last minute edits, not to mention teams of people working on several sets of slides for one matter. If multiple people are working on the same project I don’t see how this step can be skipped and still preserve fluidity and aesthetic appeal of the presentation.

Designers are not mind readers, and if your team has a specific divide of creative (ideas) and design (translating ideas into graphics) then you need to make sure the designers have necessary information to do their jobs well. Also if you often bring in freelancers to help out with overflow, don’t expect them to naturally jump in on a project and just create meaningful graphics out of thin air.
In order to resolve some of the issues facing us in presentation design we need to more widely adopt one crucial element that has helped the ad agency world in the creative process… the creative brief.

12 Jul

Learning styles and presentations: A case for words on slides

Many people will argue that bullet point slides in presentations are bad… don’t worry you will not get a contradicting answer from me, when people see words they are conditioned to read them, which means it will take away focus from the presenter. BUT… although a small BUT there is one coming from me.
Some of the books and blogs suggest eliminating words from slides all together and instead, simply present the message with a picture.

Well here is where I see a problem.

My case for words on slides.

09 Jul

Color: Dark v Light Presentation Backgrounds

When creating a presentation your entire palette will depend on the background color you choose.  There are several factors to consider when selecting a background color or a background photo.  Nancy Duarte’s book Slide:ology gives a really nice overview on color theory but I felt like a an important component on choosing a light or dark background was left out.

What is the lighting set up of the venue where the presentation is going to be viewed and what equipment is used to view the presentation.

Have you ever tried watching a dark movie during the day, when the TV room is full of light? If there is a light bulb going off in your head right now, you know where I’m going with this.  The reason movies look so great in TV theaters or at night, is because the viewing area is completely dark.  In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, the answer is that you will see your own reflection in the screen and the blacks will look washed out.

06 Jul

Haute Slides

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.




HauteSlides is a visual communications consultancy specializing in presentation design & data visualization through unique graphic design solutions that translate complex information into compelling and memorable visual stories.

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