Recently, a few colleagues in the marketing research industry have sent me documents, decks, and general thought pieces to review. Putting content aside, each article is unique in character, but what is common to each is a static framework, or context, to communicate thoughts.
Each framework is similar by seeking to convey a certain meaning that augments or leverages associated meaning to text. This is accomplished by employing visual cues and heuristics such as headings, indentation, and grammatical symbols throughout the document. It’s much different than writing a standard cohesive paragraph; it’s lexical “pimping.”
Unfortunately, despite some compelling ideas and insights, many documents nevertheless are all over the place in the methods used to frame and accentuate thoughts; rarely does the context of these documents leverage the ideas written.
Truth be told, most of these documents are written in Power Point, which has plenty of detractors, and I will avoid such comment here. A few are constructed in Prezi, “this year’s model” a rarely well adapted and over-stylized, yet extremely linear presentational software. Software, regardless of origin, however, is not the culprit. Rather, it’s that we’re not following a few simple rules.
What are The Rules? Well, let me share them with you:
All fonts are not created equal
Choose a font that feels right
Try to use one font throughout
Don’t be afraid to to bold, sparingly
Color is an art and a science, so know color theory
PowerPoint is good with color
Use images deliberately
Full-bleeds create breaks
Watch your resolution
Clip art is not your friend, nor are stock photos
Present one idea per page
Don’t be afraid of white space
Bullets are for lists
People can read sentences
Use transition slides as bridges, not breaks
Find inspiration in today’s news, don’t be afraid to reinterpret
Storytelling, not statistics
Avoid data for data’s sake
The appendix has a purpose