Tag Archives: visual

Trello: Our Latest Obsession…

Trello Dev BoardHere at Infinitely Big, we make it a point to stay organized. When we work on client projects, we create lists, this way we can check items off as complete – an important task considering many creative hands work together to create an amazing end product.

So how do we keep up with it all? One thing we use is an online collaboration tool called Trello.

With Trello, you can organize just about anything with boards, which are made up of multiple lists. The lists contain cards, which you can use to collaborate with other users via comments and assignments. You can organize items using color coding, and even enable a feature that sets up your board more like a calendar for an added visual punch. The best part? It’s free!

How do you stay organized? Let us know of any interesting tools in the comments.

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Keeping It Real…

The more true to life you can portray an issue you are presenting in your PowerPoint, the better your audience will understand, relate, and identify with it. This is your ideal goal – to get your audience to know that you understand their pain, their issue, and that you have a way to help resolve it or make it better. The impact you can add by using photos, videos, sound, or other media is extremely powerful and should not be overlooked. Here are a couple of ideas on types of media and when to use them.

  • Use illustrations or video to clarify. If your product is complicated, an illustration or video lets you simplify the way it looks. Also, illustrations and videos allow you to show a zoomed-in view or a view normally not seen, such as a product interior.
  • Motion, sound, and music. Just because PowerPoint has this feature doesn’t mean you need to use it. Use sparingly and only when deemed appropriate. Adding animation, sound effects, or music will make your presentation come alive, but it also lessens the seriousness of what you are presenting. Animation can be valuable when offering a product demonstration, but using when not needed will detract rather than add from the overall presentation.
  • Keep charts and graphs simple. Charts and graphs that are used to support a point should be simple and instantly understood. Audiences will be confused by overly complex visuals.
  • Photos have tremendous impact. A picture is worth a thousand words. This holds true in a PowerPoint. Finding a relatable image to put into your presentation can create an significant impression. It will leave your audience with an image resonating in their head when they go back to the office. Make it very relatable to a key point and they will not forget what you had to say.

As you can see, there is plenty of room for creativity in your presentations. Using illustrations and photos or graphs and animations can be very powerful. But beware… overuse these tools and they will detract from your presentation, making it lose gravity and impact.

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Excel and PowerPoint Don’t Mix…

SpreadsheetVery often presentations will include financials or other figures. And, of course, the presenter believes that the best way to present this data is by cramming as much as he can into a gigantic Excel spreadsheet and then copying and pasting that 6,250-cell spreadsheet onto one small PowerPoint slide. Impressive, right? Think again, presenter… this has zero impact. And, it will even distract from your presentation because people will lose focus as they won’t be able to see what you are referring to and follow along.

Spreadsheets are used for analyzing, not for communicating. They are fantastic for quickly figuring out totals or averages or for doing hundreds or even thousands of calculations instantly on rows and rows of data. They are not, however, great for presenting. Simply put, they contain way too much information. My advice is to simplify: do you really need to present all of the data? Or just the results?

By focusing on the results in some sort of summary fashion like a table, the audience can see the numbers big and clear. You can explain how you arrived at each number if you see fit. You can walk them through it step by step but you don’t need to show the entire process. Use colors, percentages, underlining, boldface, and other effects to highlight key figures or show comparisons or differences within the results. With a summary table you have a powerful, focused image that you can now play around with and be creative.

In the end, the audience will remain more focused and in tune with your presentation and you will be able to get your point across more succinctly and effectively.

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You Can’t Read This…

Large AudienceHow many times have you been listening to a presentation and the presenter gets to an extremely dense slide and says, “I know you can’t read this in the back, so I will read it to you…” Aaaggggghhhh (that’s my frustration coming through). I don’t know about you, but I sit there and think to myself, if you know I can’t read it, why didn’t you use a bigger font?

While we may think that jamming as much text as possible on a slide is the way to go, that’s not necessarily the case. Use big fonts, fewer words, and emphasize what is essential on the slides. Then discuss each bullet or topic. Use your words as the presentation, not the written words on the PowerPoint slide. Ten-point font is going to be too small… try 24-point or 32-point and keep your bullets short.

Remember, the goal is audience clarity and retention, not stuffing your slides full of words for you to read.

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Build a Better Banner…

149282846Running a big meeting? Tradeshow? Networking event?

If the venue is big enough — and even if it’s not – it’s likely you’ll need a traditional print banner or similar signage to inform and direct attendees.

Here are some tips for making sure your banner makes its point.

  • Don’t fill it up. You should have as much content as a postcard. People are going to be looking at it from a distance, so you need room for larger fonts and images.
  • Make sure it’s the right size. Too small and it will go unnoticed; too big and people will wonder what you were thinking. Consider the location and venue. If you’re looking to attract drivers-by from a high-traffic road, make sure it’s big enough to be seen without squinting, and that the content is simple enough to be read with a glance. If your meeting is being held in a hotel ballroom, you’ll want something large enough to be read from pretty far away, but not so big it looks out of place.
  • Use an appropriate font. Choose a large and easy-to-read font that contrasts well with the background color.
  • Choose the right images. Make sure the pictures you use clearly relate to the type of event you’re running. Most people see images and “translate” them first.
  • Point people in the right direction. Are you directing attendees down the hall and to the left? Don’t send them a roundabout way, and make sure your banner points them in the correct direction. Plan ahead for where banners will be placed throughout the venue. Better yet, create a banner that allows you to print out separate arrows that can be attached with tape or Velcro.

Print banners serve a purpose… but better yet, check out digital signage, which can be manipulated by a viewer and is easy to update frequently.

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What’s the Importance of a Good Business Card?

Your business card leaves a lasting impression. It’s usually the one physical thing a person takes away from a meeting or encounter, and it can be your golden ticket to future contact… or end up in the trash, along with your chances of ever hearing from that person again.

Many of the business cards we see today are typical, boring, and unrelated to a business’ services. Websites like Vistaprint and Zazzle offer free templates – but how many other businesses are using that very same design? And does it really make sense to have a card with a flower motif if your business is more focused on tree removal?

John Jantsch, a marketing consultant and the man behind Duct Tape Marketing, says the need for a business card “is pretty limited in business these days. For the most part people can either find the info online or zap it to each other electronically. In a way this shift has made the business card an opportunity to make a statement. … Since people aren’t using them that much you have the ability to stand out by doing so.”

Your business card design should be unique – something that people associate with you and want to hold onto. But don’t let that sidetrack you from making the look and feel of it represent you and your services.

What are the elements of a great business card?

  • Remarkable. Make it unique so it – and, in turn, you – gets noticed.
  • Clear messaging. Does the card really tell what it is you do? Does it communicate your brand?
  • Clean design. Too simple or amateur looking and it looks bad on you; too complex and it might lose detail.
  • The right size. Not too big (it should still fit in a business card pocket), not too small… think Goldilocks and get it just right.
  • High print quality. Don’t skimp. You pay for what you get. A stellar design looks so-so when it is printed poorly – or printed on the wrong medium.
  • Clear contact information. Don’t hide the most important information – and the reason for handing out the business card in the first place.

If you’re not sure how to design something that will be remembered – and held onto – then hire a designer. It will be well worth the investment.

Note: We do business cards differently at Infinitely Big. Check these out…

LemonAidFactoryBCLAWVending

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Make Your Definitions More Interesting…

One of the more fundamental yet boring slides in a PowerPoint is the definitions slide. This may actually, in a really painful case, represent multiple slides. Here are some pointers for making the definition process fun and engaging for the audience.

Typically, you will see a slide that says “Definitions” in bold and underlined across the top. Then, listed underneath in microscopic font will be key terms and their respective meanings. Instead of using this method — which, by the way, is certain to bore your audience into a coma before you really even get started — try the following:

Let’s use the term “mammal” as an example. Across the top of the slide, state “What are mammals?” Open it up to the audience and find out what they believe the definition of a mammal is. This engages the audience, will certainly get some laughs, allows you to clear up any misconceptions, and gives you an idea of what you are dealing with in terms of your audience.

While getting audience input, add your own commentary. Correct what they are saying and add detail. Praise those who are accurate and reiterate what they have said to drill it home.

Next, on that same slide, use graphics to show examples of mammals. Introduce them one by one, focusing on the characteristics that make them mammals. Show pictures of humans, monkeys, lions, tigers, and bears (oh my!). This makes the concept real and relatable for the audience. And, again, keep things interesting and interactive.

Finally, end with the definition you want the audience to remember. It may be a simplified version of a standard definition, but it should be accurate and usable by the audience. This strategy will allow you to put your best foot forward with intriguing definitions that are memorable and meaningful to the audience.

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Great Images… Right?

You want your PowerPoint to be impactful… to leave your audience with something ingrained in their memory. The experts in the field have all been saying to use more imagery and have fewer slides with bullets and text – that this formula will have the greatest effect on your audience.

Sounds simple enough, but how do you go about choosing an image? A great image can be a very subjective thing. So how do you really know if the chosen image is great, just OK, or totally pathetic?

First of all, a great image needs a couple of basic characteristics. Without this foundation, no matter how creative, funny, or moving the image may be, it will be average at best and will not provide the “wow factor” you’re looking for. The image needs to be high resolution, not pixilated. It should not be stretched, but should be of adequate size so it is clearly visible and fills up the area you want. The image should be professional looking – if it is a photograph, make sure the lighting, color, and composition look professional (use the wedding picture test – would you be happy if this was your wedding photograph?).

Many of the stock photo sites will have images that meet these criteria; however, just because an image is from a stock photo sites doesn’t mean it automatically meets these criteria, so be careful in your image selection.

Once you have this basic foundation for your image, the other factors are what I call the “3 R’s” of images: relevance, resonance, and rarity (uniqueness).

  • Relevance: A great image needs to match your message. This may “click” with your audience and serve as a powerful takeaway. Of course, this may require the proper setup and delivery by the speaker to ensure your point gets across as intended. This proper positioning of your chosen image will connect the dots for the audience and leave a powerful impression.
  • Resonance: While we certainly applaud and foster creativity, sometimes you need to reel it in and keep yourself focused. All too often someone will approach me with an idea for a slide he thinks is brilliant. We will show it around and with blank stares, we all say we just don’t get it. Make sure your image resonates with your audience, otherwise your really cool image will be nothing more than a really cool image. It will not have meaning and context and will just sit there on the screen, looking all pretty, with a lot of confused faces staring at it.
  • Rarity: While your image may be relevant to your message and truly resonate and connect with your audience, a truly great image will be rare or unique. This is basically the opposite of the handshake image we have seen a million times over. Find something different or apply a different use to something familiar. Mix it up for maximum impact, but don’t go too far out there, so that it’s not relevant and doesn’t resonate.

These tips should help with the beginnings of choosing great images to get maximum impact from your PowerPoint presentations and will have your audience talking about your message for days.

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Say Goodbye to Spreadsheets…

It may not be your first choice and you know the audience is going to hate you for it, but sometimes you have to present numbers, figures, calculations, results, financials, statements, and more. While it certainly makes it more enjoyable and digestible for the audience if the numbers are positive and show growth, profits, or bonuses, the reality remains that most people don’t like looking at numbers in a presentation and tend to tune out. A surefire way to lose the audience is to pop an Excel spreadsheet up on the screen and begin talking.

A spreadsheet is dull, difficult to follow, and not meaningful to an audience. Next time you have the task of presenting numbers, try using something visual. Try a pie chart to show proportions, such as sales by company division as a part of the whole company. Use a line chart to show a trend, such as profit growth over the last four quarters. Or, put together a bar chart to compare expenses over the last 12 months. These graphics are simple to build and create something digestible and understandable for your audience.

Take this one step further, though. The default in PowerPoint is for the visual to show up on the screen in one piece. However, you can animate your charts and graphs and build them along with the audience. This gives you time to discuss each piece as you go along. You can explain why something may have happened or congratulate a group on a great quarter as your line chart shoots to the sky. If you do this, keep the effects simple – we don’t need spinning and twirling. Keep in mind you don’t want to detract or make a serious presentation cartoonish.

So, next time you are faced with the daunting task of presenting financials, spruce it up a bit and you will see it is much more enjoyable for the audience, and they will both understand and retain what you have presented much better.

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A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words…

As studies show, we are all exposed to over 3,000 ads per day. How many do you remember? Not many, I am sure… but below are some really great, unique ads that will make you stop and think as they communicate their message clearly and even emotionally. These are a few of the ads you will remember as they break through the clutter and connect. Let me know what you think of these or if there are others that stand out in your mind.

Stop Abuse…
Abuse

Tetris Returns…
Tetris

Rowenta Vacuum…
Rowenta

Save the Whales…
Whales

Softlan Fabric Care Smells So Good…
Softlan

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