Many designers with excellent skills in web and/or print design somehow cannot deploy their talent very well in PowerPoint/business presentations. I have been thinking hard about why this could be.

The key challenge I think is the tight relationship with content and design. In print/web the design of a page does not really change that much if the content changes (it is still a block of text, an image, and an icon that fit in the same overall grid). In a business presentation, everything goes upside down when your competitor analysis needs to include 3 instead of 2 dimensions.

The second reason is - I think - that both people who write presentations and designers who polish them, stick to the conventional slide format: title across the top, list of bullets.

Now here is an interesting experiment for a 100% graphics designer who is not allowed or does not have the knowledge to touch any of the content (the classical print graphics designer situation). Assuming the presentation is a slideument (meant for reading rather than presenting).

Hand over the material in a word processor, as a long text file rather than a partly finished PowerPoint presentation. Now give the designer total freedom to present this material in any form she wants, even in any software she wants, using any page layout she wants.

Changes are you might get a pretty good lucking slideument by taking "PowerPoint" and its familiar layout out of the equation.


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