Visual Literacy Basics


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Visual literacy basics for my masterclass in presentation skills. Includes notes

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Visual Literacy Basics

  1. 1. What is a PowerPoint good for?
  2. 2. If it's not adding value, it's subtracting value.
  3. 3. Bold pictures
  4. 4. Pictures tell stories
  5. 5. Rules
  6. 6. 1. Don't pixellate
  7. 7. Leadership
  8. 8. It just looks cheap.
  9. 9. 2. Don't distort
  10. 10. It just looks silly.
  11. 11. 3. Rule of thirds
  12. 12. 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.
  13. 13. Here I explain what the audience will see next:
  14. 14. This is the picture I had
  15. 15. 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
  16. 16. 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.
  17. 17. Voila -- rule of thirds.
  18. 18. Just for comparison. Another way to use the shot is like the next slide
  19. 19. A true artist doesn't need the props Not as dramatic, perhaps, but it depends on the rest of the slide presentation.
  20. 20. A true artist doesn't need the props Rule of thirds, again.
  21. 21. Or symmetrical
  22. 22. Sometimes the subject cries out to be in the centre, rather than on a "third"
  23. 23. 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.
  24. 24. Bad composition. Not in thirds or centred.
  25. 25. Better: the horizon is now about a third of the way up from the bottom. the sun is in the middle.
  26. 26. The original picture for comparison
  27. 27. Try with the rule of thirds. Doesnt' really work. The sun really should be dominating the centre of this picture.
  28. 28. The original, for comparison
  29. 29. 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
  30. 30. There's the rule of thirds for guidance
  31. 31. 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.
  32. 32. 1. Don't pixellate 2. Don't distort 3. Rule of thirds
  33. 33. Read this excellent book, and apply its lessons. You will be amazed at how quicky and how radically your designs change for the better.
  34. 34. Fonts
  35. 35. Serif, sans serif, slab serif, humanist, script, fancy
  36. 36. Serif
  37. 37. Times Book Antiqua Palatino Garamond Bookman Souvenir
  38. 38. Sans This is the French word for "without". In this case, without serifs. (pronounced SAIR riff.)
  39. 39. Gill Sans Helvetica Abadi Condensed Futura Impact
  40. 40. Rockwell American Typewriter HVD Comic serif Wellrock Slab
  41. 41. Optima Candara Lucida Grande 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. . No, I don't get any royalties from them.
  42. 42. Lucida Handwriting, Bradley's hand, Saginaw Snell Roundhand
  43. 43. Ahnberg, Bgsjdbn-! Braggadocio, Fakerfriends, Das reicht gut.
  44. 44. Font families
  45. 45. Gill Sans Regular, Gill Sans Light, Gill Sans Bold, Gill Sans Italic, Gill Sans Light Italic, Gill Sans Bold Italic
  46. 46. Gill Sans MT Condensed, Gill Sans Ultra Bold Gill Sans Ultra Bold Condensed
  47. 47. Please avoid Arial, Calibri  and  Segoe 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.
  48. 48. Says it all, doesn't it. Except the 0% Arial looks a bit like 0% anal, doesn't it?
  49. 49. Contrast
  50. 50. Contrast Sans Serif and Serif fonts
  51. 51. Contrast Bold and regular (of the same font)
  52. 52. This doesn't look too bad because of the contrast between types of font
  53. 53. But this looks like a dog's breakfast How many fonts can you spot?
  54. 54. 1. Don't pixellate 2. Don't distort 3. Rule of thirds 4. Contrast
  55. 55. Sans for Headlines And use serif for text. And use serif for text. And use serif for text. And use serif for text. And use serif for text. And use serif for text. And use serif for text.
  56. 56. Give your slides boundaries • A slide with edges makes it easier to align elements on the slide Acme Widgets
  57. 57. Give your slides boundaries • A slide with edges makes it easier to align elements on the slide Acme Widgets
  58. 58. Leave space to breathe
  59. 59. Leave space to breathe Slides that don't have space to breathe start to look crowded Acme Widgets There's practically no information on this slide, and it's still really crowded
  60. 60. Leave space to breathe Slides that don't have space to breathe start to look crowded Acme Widgets 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.
  61. 61. Repetition
  62. 62. Use the same elements
  63. 63. Use the same fonts
  64. 64. Use the same sizes
  65. 65. Use the same style of photos
  66. 66. Use the same palette of colours
  67. 67. Use colour well 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.
  68. 68. Use dark grey instead of black 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.
  69. 69. Use off-white instead of white
  70. 70. Line elements up
  71. 71. Be unexpected! 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.
  72. 72. What have we learned?
  73. 73. 1. Don't pixellate 2. Don't distort 3. Rule of thirds 4. Contrast 5. Repeat 6. Line things up
  74. 74. Be unexpected!
  75. 75. How can we improve the way this slide looks?
  76. 76. DesktopVirtualisation Introduction
  77. 77. DesktopVirtualisation Introduction Good use of colour
  78. 78. DesktopVirtualisation Introduction Good use of colour Default background
  79. 79. DesktopVirtualisation Introduction Good use of colour Segoe font Default background
  80. 80. DesktopVirtualisation Introduction
  81. 81. Desktop Virtualisation Introduction Fonts much bigger. Helvetica for the headline Garamond for the text.
  82. 82. Desktop Virtualisation Introduction Different background
  83. 83. Desktop Virtualisation Introduction Different background
  84. 84. Desktop Virtualisation Introduction Different background
  85. 85. Desktop Virtualisation Introduction Different background. Can we use the rope as a metaphor -- you are currently "tied" to your desktop?
  86. 86. Desktop Virtualisation Introduction
  87. 87. Desktop Virtualisation Introduction Don't be obvious. This is the first slide. of COURSE it's the introduction!
  88. 88. Sunny with a chance of clouds IT in the next five years Much better! Unexpected. Witty. Makes the audience want to give the speaker a chance.
  89. 89. Desktop Virtualisation Introduction By contrast, even this slide -- which looked so revolutionary a few slides ago -- looks tame.
  90. 90. 1. Don't pixellate 2. Don't distort 3. Rule of thirds 4. Contrast 5. Repeat 6. Line things up
  91. 91. Culture Change Presentation skills training Spokesperson training TV training (with cameras) Radio Readiness Crisis management Crisis communication plans +27 74-1-VIEDGE +27 74-1-843343 On twitter @erichv 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!