A copy of slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentationsfinally made its way across the Atlantic. (Disclosure link via Amazon Associates program) Nancy Duarte is managing Duarte Design, a company that has created some high-profile presentations (Al Gore is one of the clients). They (her husband is the company's CFO) started out in the 80s when the Apple Macintosh brought desk top publishing and graphics design to the masses, and have now become one of the big brands in professional presentation design. This is the perfect book for those who have mastered the PowerPoint (or Apple Keynote) technical skills and need to make the final jump to master concepts usually taught in art schools (rather than software manuals):
  • Picking pleasing color schemes
  • Slide composition
  • Typography
  • Etc.
The trained eye can extract almost everything there is to know about presentation design. However, this is not the book that will teach you magic that will turn your beginner-level PowerPoint edits into a professional presentation. Many subjects discussed in this books are covered in other material as well (minimal bullet points, cut words, use professional images, etc. etc.) However, there are some very specific things that I picked up in this book that were new to me:
  • Thinking about cinematic movement for animations or slide composition
  • Creating one big map and using the PowerPoint push transition to navigate it: one presentation - one big slide
  • A large library of chart concept sketches, there were many new ones I did not use before
  • Stressing to adopt a "designer" mentality to presentations
Things that I found less useful/interesting (personal preference):
  • (Many) direct references to the services Duarte Design can offer
  • Case examples (many of which are the same as on Duarte's site) are not always useful
  • The section on data charts was relatively weak
But overall, a warm recommendation to purchase this book. It is well written, nicely illustrated and brings all the presentation design essentials together in one place, including many references to further reading and almost all the big presentation "brands" in the industry.

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