Visual artists -- photographers and painters and graphic designers, will tell you that a focus point should fall where the lines cross. Try it, and you'll be pleasantly surprised.
Here I explain what the audience will see next:
This is the picture I had
An obvious way to use the picture is like this -- blow it up a bit and try to centre it. But the person's face is looking out of the picture. And the rule of thirds isn't being applied
Instead I took the slide background and made it black. I blew up the pic as much as I could without it pixellating. I then placed the man on the left hand side, looking into the slide. The message: sometimes you don't need powerpoint or any visual aids. This man obviously didn't see the need for them.
Voila -- rule of thirds.
Just for comparison. Another way to use the shot is like the next slide
Not as dramatic, perhaps, but it depends on the rest of the slide presentation.
Rule of thirds, again.
Sometimes the subject cries out to be in the centre, rather than on a "third"
This is a landscape I have. The sun is not in the centre. Why did the photographer choose this composition? He wanted the horizon to bisect the photo, giving equal prominence to water and sky. And s/he liked the sun's reflection on the water coming towards him/her.
Bad composition. Not in thirds or centred.
Better: the horizon is now about a third of the way up from the bottom. the sun is in the middle.
The original picture for comparison
Try with the rule of thirds. Doesnt' really work. The sun really should be dominating the centre of this picture.
The original, for comparison
Here, the sun is in the middle of the slide. The horizon bisects the slide. But the photo was badly composed to begin with. We will have to crop the photo
There's the rule of thirds for guidance
Here's the final photo. We've cropped a bit off the bottom and the side, and the photo is now centred. A much more dramatci photo than the original.
Read this excellent book, and apply its lessons. You will be amazed at how quicky and how radically your designs change for the better.
This is the French word for "without". In this case, without serifs. (pronounced SAIR riff.)
And avoid Lucida Grand as well. I like Optima -- its the default font used by Scrivener for the Mac, an unbelievably good application for writers. www.literatureandlatte.com . No, I don't get any royalties from them.
These are the standard fonts that everybody sees. They give your presentation the impression of Sameness. Mac users should avoid Gill Sans for the same reason. I often watch a TED talk and there's a slide with one word on it. I know immediately it's a Mac and the speaker is using Keynote because the word is instantly recognisable as being in the Gill Sans font.
Says it all, doesn't it. Except the 0% Arial looks a bit like 0% anal, doesn't it?
How many fonts can you spot?
There's practically no information on this slide, and it's still really crowded
I've moved the logo off the bottom and given everything else space to breathe.
The words should be a LOT bigger for a presentation, but you get the idea.
Know the colour wheel. Blue and Yellow go well together. The best is Black on a kind of Post-It Note Yellow or on white. Avoid red for backgrounds or for type. Avoid orange and blue, or red and green -- they are opposites on the colour wheel. Use purple (move the blue reddinh towards purple) and yellow, or green and pink (move the red over towards pink and you can keep the green). You can't beat black and white for my money, though.
This is because TVs in particular struggle with very very high contrasting colours like white white and black black. I've used the lightest of greys here for the background and the darkest of greys for the text and there's no discernible difference. The word "black" is actually in black here.
Another advantage of using very dark grey for a background is that the pictures stand out more, especially if they have white in them. See slide Three (3) where the person's shirt stands out from the background because the shirt is white and the background isn't.
This is the key to the content of a presentation. But it goes for the look / feel of a presentation as well.
Everything should communicate the same message.
Fonts much bigger. Helvetica for the headline Garamond for the text.
Different background. Can we use the rope as a metaphor -- you are currently "tied" to your desktop?
Don't be obvious. This is the first slide. of COURSE it's the introduction!
Much better! Unexpected. Witty. Makes the audience want to give the speaker a chance.
By contrast, even this slide -- which looked so revolutionary a few slides ago -- looks tame.
On twitter @erichv Slideshare.net erich viedge or Pepper Press Linked In: Erich Viedge
Notice how the photo "pops out" of the frame. Experiment with breaking the rules, now that you know some of them. And read Robin Williams' Book -- it's excellent!
Visual Literacy Basics.Key
What is a PowerPoint
If it's not adding
it's subtracting value.
1. Don't pixellate
2. Don't distort
3. Rule of thirds
6. Line things up
Presentation skills training
TV training (with cameras)
Crisis communication plans
A particular slide catching your eye?
Clipping is a handy way to collect important slides you want to go back to later.