This blog is read by many fellow presentation designers. Here are some of my clues that warn me when a potential project could be difficult to get right. 

  • The CEO (or anyone else who actually has to give the presentation) is not involved enough in the process, so you do not hear first hand what the person actually wants to say
  • The potential client says "we just need a polish" of existing slides, because 1) she wants to negotiate the project budget and/or 2) [worse] she thinks that after all the work the company invested in the slides it is not possible for an outsider to turn things upside down and start fresh, better.
  • The project deadline moves forward to a few days from now leaving no time for creativity
  • The project deadline moves backward
  • Every change, edit, discussion requires a full in-person meeting with many people in the room, including small punctuation edits in slide headlines
  • There are conflicting story lines: 1) multiple messages for multiple audiences, or 2) "this is what we want to say, but we cannot really say it"
  • "We want a presentation like this" (with an attachment of a poorly designed presentation)
  • We give you total creative freedom except for a), b), c), d), and e)
  • Any question re the content of the presentation gets avoided, with "just let us know the cost and the time it will take you"

Designers should look out for these warning signs and people tendering project should look in the mirror.