Most presentation design processes go through the following circle:

  1. You scribble  a clean, crisp, story on a white board
  2. That scribble gets translated into the first series of charts/placeholders
  3. Now the dilution starts: lots of data, backgrounds, footnotes, and story line restructuring until we have a bloated, generic collection of charts

The successful presentation design project goes further: cutting things back to reach that level of freshness of stage 1. But there is a danger of cutting too much. Throughout the process, the team has gotten so familiar with the material that they have lost track of the starting point of a cold audience. Things that might seem totally obvious to them (after 2 months of work) are not that clear to a first time audience.

Was all the data digging a waste of time? No, it is good to get your facts straight, as long as you don't lose the creativity you had in that first kick off meeting.

As a professional presentation designer, I usually come in in stage 3, lots and lots of data, and my kick interview brings back the thoughts that came up in stage 1. An unfair advantage of the outsider...


Art: Kandinsky: Circles in a circle, 1923