A few weeks ago I had a call with one of the staff of my client, who was a user interface designer for mobile apps. Although the investor presentation was not his responsibility he wanted to give some feedback, speaking "designer-to-designer".

In the discussion I noticed that I am actually violating some design principles that are thought in design school (I never went to such a place). Being an opinionated designer, I still think that my approach is correct, but the debate was interesting. Here are my "sins":

  • Long headlines that run over 2 lines. Yes, the font looks a bit smaller, yes, the slide has less of a punchy/pretty headline, the title is basically a small text block. BUT it allows me to put in a slightly more sophisticated message which is especially useful for decks that are read on a screen, rather than serve as a background for a live presentation.
  • While I cut text and clutter to the maximum extend possible, I tend to make the slide content really big, actually: too big according to the designer. The proportion between the headline and the core graphic of the slide is off. Technically correct, BUT I am trying to keep my slides readable on a mobile phone screen.
  • Some of my data charts actually of a lot (too much) data in them. BUT I like to create layers in a data chart. The super simple, most important message jumps in your face, but if you ponder a bit longer, you can see additional layers of information and get the full picture of the data.
  • I reduce the number of colors as much as possible (SlideMagic allows you to use only one), but I splash healthy doses of that accent color on the the slide. Designers might cringe at all that bright colorfulness. BUT it allows me to really rub in the message of chart, especially for highlighting a contrast, and/or connecting multiple "dots" that belong together.

Interesting discussions. There is one lesson here for clients, pick your designer, just one, and stick to that one. Two design captains on a ship will not work.

Art via WikiPedia