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Thinking like a presentation designer

January 31, 2011

Okay, but what does “thinking like a designer” mean anyway?

Illustration. Sticky notes one with word designer on it.Design is a big topic and a really ‘big deal’ right now. I’m no expert on design or design thinking, but I am a fascinated student. I’ve studied a bunch of the folks who know a lot more than I do and I’ve learned a few things.  I think and hope what I’ve found helpful will help you, too. Indeed, that’s what this blog has been all about from the beginning.

Yes, I really did read all those books on my shelf (and more) and I wanted to share the really good ones in hope you might be inspired by them, too. As I’ve read about, thought about and experimented with ideas for presentations, I’ve posted here so I could share.  In fact, most of this blog is a mix of design topics, sometimes with a focus on the visuals and sometimes the overall topic. So all of this is, in some way, about designing presentations.

To take a bit of my own advice–what’s the core message I want you to take away?

When it comes to presentations, here’s what “thinking like a designer” means to me:

Keep it simple

Avoid ornamentation and extras in visuals, text or words.
Keep the signal-to-noise ratio high.

Have a clear, audience-focused purpose.

It’s not about you.
Know your message and tell them why they care about it.

And perhaps most important item of all, key to being a designer of anything:

Be intentional in every aspect of the presentation, if there’s no compelling reason for something, leave it out.

That’s the message that Robin Williams, Garr Reynolds, Nancy Duarte and many others are all carrying and if we absorb it and live it, then I think we can lay claim to being a “designer.”  I struggle to apply it sometimes, but I’ve learned the message and it helps.

An invitation to you

Chime in with a comment if you think I missed something, but I think that’s a good start for “Thinking like a designer” when it comes to presentations.

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