Category Archives: design

Use different fonts for your presentation for free

Many free font sites aren’t necessarily where you want to go when you need fonts for work or an important presentation. Questions about quality and copyright abound.

However, if you visit Font Squirrel, you’ll find free fonts that are specifically free for commercial use. These free resources can help you add some design flair to your presentation. Just remember to load the font on the computer you will use to present. I generally do that by putting a copy into the folder with my presentation. That way it will travel with me and can be easily installed if needed. Try Font Squirrel here.

Pixie – a free tool to pick up color

I’m a fan of little applications that do one thing, do it well and don’t use a lot of resources. Pixie is exactly that, and once you use it, you won’t want to design presentations without it. Need to match font colors to a photo or a logo in your presentation?
It only runs when you need it, so it’s not a resource hog. pick up colorJust start it from a desktop icon and cursor over anything on your screen – a photo, video, illustration, color on a website…

Pixie will produce the hex, RGB, HTML, CMYK and HSV values of that color!  Works with Windows  2000, XP, Vista or 7.

Pixie / Nattyware.

Presenting with Google Docs

Take a look at Google Docs. Here’s proof that creativity can trump tools. Since it was made with software that does not support animations, this little demo is like making a stunning photograph with a pinhole camera instead of the latest mega pixel DSLR.
Although this presentation is clearly a promotion for Google Docs, but I think it serves as a great reminder that our creativity doesn’t have to depend on software. This cool show was made one frame at a time then played back to give the illusion of an animation.

Preparing for a Great Presentation

No doubt we would all love to present like Steve Jobs did. A lot of people think that truly great presenters are just “naturals”. But. according to Carmine Gallo, author of How to be Insanely Great in Front of any Audience – The Presentation Skills of Steve Jobs:

Truly great presenters like Steve Jobs visualize, plan and create ideas on paper (or whiteboards) well before they open the presentation software.

This slide show by Mr. Gallo has been viewed by over a hundred thousand people in the last couple of years, and one slide in particular is my inspiration for this post. Your presentations will improve if you adhere to this rule of thirds. Presentation software just isn’t designed for the initial planning process. Do your thinking, sketching and scripting with a white board or a note pad or sticky notes. Any method that helps you develop a free flow of ideas.

If you spend the majority of your time working on building slides, keep in mind that slides are meant to support your message, not replace it.

great presenters prepare
You can see the entire slide version of this presentation: The Presentation Secrets Of Steve Jobs here.


Or buy the book it came from here:

Presenting Data – Charts or Infographics?

Since I just posted a resource for statistics, I thought you might need some inspiration for using statistics in an engaging way.  We aren’t all designers or illustrators, but looking at good infographics may just give you a different perspective about how to present data.

Information graphics or infographics are graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge. These graphics present complex information quickly and clearly, such as in signs, maps, journalism, technical writing, and education.

via Information graphics – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Check out the Infographics section of GOOD for examples of truly creative ways to present information.   Infographics is a regular feature of this site and they have an article showing their most popular examples of 2010.

great infography

GOOD’s Most Popular Infographics of 2010 – Design

And while you’re there, give the Slideshow section a browse. Get inspiration for great slide graphics and content.

What is the Future of Presentation Software?

We communicate with texts and tweets. We update our friends with our current status on facebook, control video games with our body movement and watch movies on our telephones. When I can do a quick interview, put a video on YouTube, upload it for the local/national news, and embed it on any blog in a very short time…I wonder – what is the future of presentation software? I’m not suggesting that a video replaces a presentation – but does our audience expect more than a set of slides to accompany our talks?

In the video above, I asked Matt Long – a participant in a local competition – to help me with a short promo for the event. The result was a little piece that the news, weather channels, etc. could run almost immediately. This experience made me think about the ways I presented in the past vs the tools available today. As an ex-salesperson, I wondered…how would I make presentations to my most important clients now? We can make presentations on the internet without traveling – but they still tend to be static slides. Are we using the available technology effectively?

If I want to share an idea with you, in just a few minutes using very affordable hardware and software – a camera and After Effects (or Movie Maker or iMovie or YouTube editing tools…), I can create a message. Just like using PowerPoint – the message can be well or badly done, but the format helps to engage.

I’d love to hear from expert presenters and consultants –

    – what tools are you using now, and what will you be using in the future?
    – has the latest version of PowerPoint (which allows a bit of text over video at least) made this tool viable for the future?

How should be thinking about our presentations? Are we using the right technology if we stay with the tools we know? I do know that a video is far more likely to be engaging than a series of slides with bullets. Can we harness that and make more effective presentations?

I’ve been presenting since the days of writing on transparencies and overhead projectors. From Harvard Graphics to the latest version of PowerPoint – the tools have always seemed to shape the message. I don’t blame PowerPoint like some do. I just wonder if we can get past how easy it is to follow the dots to boring and use our tools in a more effective way. At a time when self published video is so accessible, when a plethora of easy to use software presentation platforms are available, is PowerPoint still relevant?

If it is, how do we make a leap to the kind of engaging experience we have all come to expect? What’s your opinion?

Download free backgrounds

Free for your personal presentations, backgrounds for any presentation software. These designs are in .JPG format, so you can use them with any software that displays images. The download includes 3 .JPG slide backgrounds in a zip file. The abstract designs work for inspirational, sales or classroom presentations.
Download these free PowerPoint backgrounds in a single zip file.

free powerpoint background free background download background download for your presentation
flickr slideshow

Do You Use Flickr Slide Shows?

A friend asked me to make some photos of a rental house she owns and post them on the web. She had prospective renters in Canada and wanted them to see the photos right away. Since this was a tour of the house and yard, we wanted a slide show – not just random images – to intice the prospective tenants. I uploaded the photos into an existing installation of Coppermine Photo Gallery that was on one of my web sites to provide a slide show of her house. Coppermine is free software, and I already had it installed on my server. (Installing and maintaining Coppermine isn’t for the faint of heart., so it wouldn’t really be my preferred solution for a quick, temporary slide show.)

The need for a fast slide show came up again when I was shooting photos of an event on Siesta Key beach – The Crystal Classic Master Sand Sculpting Competition. I needed a to post some photos really quickly during the event, so I chose Flickr. Many of you probably already use Flickr to post your favorite photos, and know that you can just email a link to your family or friends. Linking to or embeding a slide show turned out to be incredibly easy as well.

If you group your photos into sets, it’s simple to share a slide show of a particular set. I uploaded a group of photos of the sculptors doing a group carve and organized them into a set on Flickr.

Then going to my photostream and clicking on the thumbnail of that set,  I chose the slideshow option at the top right of the page.

flickr slideshow

That brought up a slideshow of the set. Then by clicking SHARE at the top right of the slideshow, I was presented with the option to grab a link to the page or to embed the slideshow.

how to embed a flickr slideshow

By inserting the embed code into this post, I got the slideshow you see below. You could do the same with any web page or in an e-mail.









Of course you can also run your slideshow directly from within Flickr on your computer. But I started thinking – why not use the same process to make other slide shows? For example – if you have content (photos, screen captures, or even PowerPoint slides exported as jpgs) you would like to share with someone as a slide show, just upload it to Flickr. Make a set, and set the privacy settings as needed. If it is public, anyone can view your show. If you prefer to limit who can see it, just set the privacy for “Only Friends” and send an invitation to the individual(s) you want to see your slides.

It’s easy, free and your viewers don’t need any special software – only an internet connection. If you set permissions so your friends can comment – you can collaborate on your content, too. Do you have more experience with Flickr slide shows to share? Leave a comment.