Quint Studer runs a consulting firm focused on helping healthcare organizations improve their operations. Studer brought his lengthy PowerPoint slideshow, "taking you and your organization to the next level," to the presentation team for a much-needed makeover.
Studer's main concern was to get the audience more engaged in the 211-slide presentation, which featured a flat color palette of red, blue and black set against a white background.
Using a rough estimate of 15 minutes for redesigning the average slide (and more for complex ones), we figured the project would take 85 hours.
We began with the slide template, and our first drafts featured modern, textured backgrounds. But when Studer asked for a more traditional look, we created one with a flat-teal background and a simple, yellow title bar at the top.
To complement the new template's background, we chose a simple color palette of black, white, blue and orange, and settled on three main fonts: Franklin Gothic Heavy Italics, Franklin Gothic Condensed and Tahoma.
Many of the presentation's slides featured step-by-step processes separated into sections, but the slide titles did not convey the flow or tell the story. To make the information clearer, we repeated the section title on each related slide (Example 1), giving the presentation a better flow.
Finding new graphics came next, as we scoured stock-photo collections in search of new images to support the presentation's topics. To reduce file size, we edited the images in Adobe Photoshop before importing them into the PowerPoint file.
We converted many 3D charts and graphs to 2D, eliminating borders and extraneous lines for a cleaner look. As we imported each reworked chart into the template, most took on the new color palette, although some tweaking was needed to polish the look.
The new flat-color template allowed us to use lightly-screened background images on certain slides (Example 3). These subtle full-screen graphics add life to slides that are otherwise text-heavy. They were also used where a full-color graphic would have detracted from the core message.
Finally, we used simple Wipe Down transitions between slides and for introducing main bullet points. The resulting slideshow is a more-professional presentation that informs and inspires, while keeping the audience focused
Background images add interest to charts
Before: The simple line chart is bland and ordinary. And the Excellent Ranking curve carries a negative connotation because the line is drawn in red.
After: The medical illustration behind the chart adds life to the data while supporting the presentation's content. Fonts and colors have been bulked up for improved visibility, and the Excellent Ranking line is now green.
Visualize bullet points
Before: The bullet-point text lays out the results of calling patients before their doctor appointments. Although easy to read, the side has nothing of graphical interest to grab the audience's attention.
After: With the use of topical photos, we converted the bullet points into three distinct image blocks. This gives the audience distinct focus points and makes the results data clear and memorable.
Break up lots of text into separate slides
Before: Stuffing five rows of text onto one slide presents too much information at once. It's overwhelming to an audience, and hard to read. Plus, there's no obvious focal point.
After: For clarity, each section of the table was reworked into a separate slide to simplify delivery of the information.
A medical-themed image, muted using Photoshop, lays over the background. The designers used two text colors for the list of phone-call types to highlight the active section. The phone-call quote is set in Garamond Pro, and in a larger point size, to differentiate it from the list text and to draw the audience's attention.
Kevin Lerner is founder and president of The Presentation Team, a marketing-support company that creates presentation graphics and multimedia. He can be reached at 877.823.5730 or www.presentation team.com.
Software and system used: Microsoft PowerPoint 2003, Adobe Photoshop 7.0, Photodisc and Digital Vision stock images; Windows XP.Background images add interest to charts