Tuesday, August 21, 2007

PowerPoint Tip: Create a custom image

As we start to move towards using more visuals in our presentations, we have the desire to create better and better graphics. And this is good, as long as better does not mean more complex. We need to keep them simple and meaningful for the audience. Does this mean we have to hire a graphic designer though?

I don't think so. Many times we can create custom images for our slides by combining multiple elements to create a new image that shows exactly what we want to communicate. And combining elements is easier than it sounds. Let me use an example from a recent client presentation.

The client wanted to explain how two competing ideas needed to be balanced in order to achieve the optimal result. Instead of stating it simply as text bullet points, I created an image by combining text and a photo. I took a photo of an old balance scale, the type they used in shops a hundred years ago. Then, I added semi- transparent text boxes on each of the platforms for the two competing ideas. The resulting image visually showed a balance of the two ideas.

What idea do you have to communicate that could be done visually by creating your own custom image? Perhaps you want to show three options to a client and they are good, better and best options. Why not use a podium like they use at sporting events and show the options as the bronze, silver and gold medal winning options.

When you are creating custom images, two techniques will help make it look great. The first is to be deliberate about placing the different elements in layers on the slide. By doing so you can control how much of each element is seen. Second, use semi- transparent backgrounds for text boxes so that any elements underneath the text box can still be partially seen. This keeps the visual continuity of the underlying elements intact.

If you want more ideas on how to transform your text slides into visuals, check out the "Transforming Text Slides Into Visual Slides" e-book at http://www.ThinkOutsideTheSlide.com/transformtext.htm .


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