Type with Metal Texture

An example of type with a metal texture in this animation made in PowerPoint. This metal type was inspired by gold and silver lettering I saw used on a recent televised awards event.

Report from Presentation Summit 2017

I am excited to report back from sunny skies and beautiful oceanside at the annual Presentation Summit 2017 in Clearwater Beach, where I spent a few days with some of the leading technical and creative folks in presentations. Here’s a brief dispatch of what I saw and heard there.

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The Design Principles, Colorful and Fun

I was recently asked for a little sample that was colorful and fun, so I made this series of slides of the design principles. I created background images in Photoshop using the color halftone filter, and completed the layout with editable text in PowerPoint. While PowerPoint is a powerful layout tool — and even has a pen tool, a type of Pathfinder tool, an eyedropper tool, and image editing capabilities — being proficient in Adobe's InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop, as well as mindful of the design principles, greatly complements my presentation and corporate communications work. 

Video Sample: The Tour

This 3-minute self-playing video — made in PowerPoint — is for you if you have an important presentation coming up and you are scoping out resources for help. Come on a tour of the design principles, check out some sample pages, and consider holistic thinking around presentation design — and take your next presentation to the next level! Project design notes follow. 

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Müller-Brockmann’s Grid Systems and Presentation Design

In this post we look at Joseph Müller-Brockmann's classic text, Grid Systems in Graphic Design, and apply some of its key concepts to presentation design, most notably, how readability of text plays a central part in constructing the grid. We also take a look at some examples. 

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The Presentation Designer's Bookshelf

Here is a list of some of my favorite books and other resources — on design theory and practice, data visualization, presentation design, layout, type, color, business writing, public speaking, inspiration, and more. 

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Fun with powerpoint: Study in light

Here is a little fun with PowerPoint, a recreation of a beautiful recent Bloomingdale's print ad that captivated me. A study in neon and light. I enjoyed making this piece is in portrait view, which users of PowerPoint probably don't take advantage of enough.

Follow the author on Twitter @tj_katopis.

Fun with PowerPoint: Stranger Things

Here I tried to recreate part of the opening of Stranger Things using PowerPoint, and drew further inspiration from the terrific website makeitstranger.com. I had seen the famous type designer Ed Benguiat give a little talk at Art Directors Club some months ago and I was reminded that the Stranger Things opening used the typeface Benguiat, designed by and named after Ed, same as the Choose Your Own Adventure books that I loved as a kid. All animations in PowerPoint.

Follow the author on Twitter @tj_katopis.

Perspectives on presentation design: Notes from the field

As a freelance presentation designer and brand consultant, I am often called upon to help business development and consulting teams create persuasive high dollar value pitch decks and technical deliverables. I enjoy working closely with both the presentation teams and in-house designers on my projects, and it has been interesting to get their practical perspectives on the presentation design process. I always emphasize to both groups that presentation design is a holistic process and involves much more than working in PowerPoint. In this blog post I give some perspectives on presentation design, from the point of view of presenters and designers I have worked with, as well as my own perspective.

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US Border Patrol icon in the style of Isotype designer Marie Neurath

Here is a little icon I recently designed in Adobe Illustrator to represent the US Border Patrol on a bar chart. The design was inspired by the style of influential designer Marie Neurath (1898-1986). In the course of some recent design work I had read "The transformer: principles of making Isotype charts” (Hyphen Press, 2009), a biography of Otto Neurath and Marie Neurath with essays by Marie on their visual work, called Isotype, a picture language consisting of stylized symbols to represent sociological, economic, and scientific data.

By way of background, Otto Neurath was an Austrian philosopher who set up a graphic design agency in Vienna in the mid-1920’s. The principal designer of this studio was Marie Reidemeister. She used the term “transformer” to describe her design work, i.e., the process of putting information to visual form. In the 1930’s the two fled the rise of Austrian fascism to the Netherlands and later to the UK where they continued their work at Oxford. They married in 1941, when Marie took the last name Neurath. Following Otto’s death in 1945, Marie continued the work of Isotype and was a prolific author until her retirement in 1971.

Branding of professional services companies

As a graphic designer and business consultant, I am particularly interested in brand identity and logo design of accounting firms, law firms, and other professional services firms. Here is a mood board of 50 firm logotypes, for reference purposes only. 

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