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5 Practices for Creating Presentations That Matter

5 Practices for Creating Presentations That Matter


Everyone, regardless of job title, sells their ideas. Designers, sales folks, teachers, board members, and mangers must present and convince people just as effectively as professional public speakers.

While it may not feel like such a big deal to present an idea or innovation to a small group, millions of dollars may be on the line in even the most intimate of settings. Improving your ability to communicate your message by way of a formal presentation may be one of the most important personal development projects you can undertake.

As an author and speaker I’ve delivered hundreds of talks and created an equal number of slide decks. Below are my five best practices for creating presentations that make your message matter.

1) Start Analog

Like most people I used to fire up PowerPoint and start creating slide after slide. The problem with this approach is that you don’t see and feel the entire picture; you only get small chunks.

Now when I approach a presentation I start in analog mode with a giant white board that I’ve painted on a stretch of wall and several pack of post it notes. This allows me to see the entire map and add, subtract and rearrange ideas before I ever commit anything to presentation software. (While desktop presentation software like PowerPoint and Keynote are the norm, growing numbers are moving to online collaborative tools like SlideRocket.)

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Inspiration: Whiskey... Bottles

Inspiration: Whiskey... Bottles


After seeing the packaging design for Highland Park 50 year old it made me think back to the days that I don't actually have any memories of; the days when there wasn't a bunch of goofy stuff on a whiskey bottle and all you had was good clean glass color and simple type. Lucky for us, there are sites like Antique Bottles so we can all have a look back and find a little color inspiration. We're also checking in with current popular brands and their label colors and designs. Drink up, cheers!

Antique Bottles


T.J._TAYLOR

Benedictine_Bottle
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Etsy Store Banners & Creating Complementing Business Identities

Etsy Store Banners & Creating Complementing Business Identities


We've been asking for all you color lovers out there with Etsy stores to share them with us and some of have but we want to see more!

The business topic that we're bringing up today, before we get into some bodacious banners, is making sure your identity, in this case, your banner on Etsy, complements your products and style. At the bottom of the post is a selection of banners for design and color inspiration, some incorporate elements that complement their shops very well while other were just chosen for their overall aesthetic and/or color palette.

Use Product Images or Incorporate Themes and Inspiration Into your Identity.

Your banner and your avatar are your shop identity, and will be the main image and brand shoppers associate with your shop... You should choose a design that will complement the items sold in your shop.

An easy and obvious way to get your products and style across is to include images of your products. If you're selling rings and only rings, it's okay to include images of rings. This kind of design can be restrictive in that it limits the perception of what your store or company is all about, and could inadvertently age your store if your products develop beyond what your banner portrays.

For a more subtle way to bring your products and identity together you could try incorporating images that abstractly complement the themes and inspiration behind your work. This also allows you to experiment with your product line without worrying about changing you overall identity.

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Inspiration - Vintage VW Split-window Logo Buses

Inspiration - Vintage VW Split-window Logo Buses


It seems that long before Red Bull, Radio Stations and unknown hip-hop artists started visually polluting our streets with promotional vehicle wraps, Volkswagen was were already driving down a similar road, but one that was designed quite a bit better. In fact, it was a big enough part of VW's business that they produced dealer books to showcase this very promotional tool. Today we get a look at some fantastic scans from a VW spilt-window logo bus dealer book.

Found at CarType and generously collected and shared by VintageBus, here for our color inspiration are Vintage VW Spit-window logo buses. You can see the complete book (60 pages total) at CarType, and even more inspiration can be found at what is probably the best VW bus resource on the web, VintageBus.

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Color Trends in Fall Advertising

Color Trends in Fall Advertising


Collected from recent additions to the Ads of the World archives, here are some reappearing color trends popping up across different industries. Click on the images to find out more about the ad.

Natural Palettes

Events

Games

Music Services

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Using Color to Increase Participation

Using Color to Increase Participation


The effective use of color in design has a proven impact on readability, conversion and engagement both online and offline. Sometimes subtle changes in color for headlines and direct response cues can significantly increase a reader’s overall impression of the communication.

Color is shown to facilitate attention, recall, positive attitudes, perceived quality, and sales when compared to black and white. But, you knew that, or at least that’s one of the reasons you visit COLOURlovers so often.

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The trick is the effective use of color in ways that can positively impact associations to your brand and draw the intended response.

Mood of Participation

color moodsColor is a mood enhancer, it’s so obvious when you look around this site and pay even a hint of attention to way your react to groups of colors.

There is a fine work by Shigenobu Kobayashi the founder and director of the Nippon Color and Design Research Institute called Color Image Scale that presents this idea of moods in color use and is a great starting place for discovering the impact or mood your color choices can send when used in association with your brand or simply to create a feeling in an ad or direct mail piece.

Understanding how to use this element alone can have a dramatic impact on gaining reader or prospect participation. But, don’t default to red for attention getting, the research also shows that black and white can outperform or equate to color when used to evoke the necessary reaction.

Landing Pages are Your Playground

Using color effectively in online landing pages is a great place to start your entire strategy and research for color use. A landing page is generally any online page where you send a prospect in response to an ad or specific offer of information. It has only one purpose and that’s to create an action – a sign-up, trial, subscription, purchase, etc.

Using color to help facilitate or repeat directional clues is often the best way to increase participation. Arrows and other hints may seem a bit cliché, but they are proven to increase participation.

dellio
Image credit: unbounce

Landing pages are such a great play ground for color use because you can test the impact of color or direction clues on conversion in near real time and use some of what you learn to inform your choices in other mediums or in ads and direct mail campaigns.

When it comes to color in landing pages there are four elements that should be tested rigorously. Using a tool such a Google Web Site Optimizer you create what are known as A/B tests that allow you to create two versions of a landing page (one with a blue headline and one with a green headline) to determine if one has more of the desired impact.

Stylist
Image credit: unbounce

Common elements that benefit most from color are background, headline, core visual element and the “button” or call to action.

Background color can have a dramatic impact on the overall mood presented to the visitor and should coincide with the mood intended. By default this is an element that is ripe for testing.

Headlines often do the heavy lifting when it comes to grabbing the very short attention span of the reader. On top of containing a very compelling reason to read on subtle color variations have shown to cause dramatic upticks in conversion.

Effective landing pages and ads for that matter often rely on a core graphic or image to evoke an emotional response. These days that often includes video. Testing various images is very important.

If the primary purpose of a landing page is to get a response, then it must be painfully clear how to take the action. A big honking click here button outperforms a text link all day long, but red vs. orange or green vs. blue is something that must be tested.

Some of the best research on landing pages is coming out of unbounce. Read their ebook titled 101 Landing Page Optimization Tips or pick up Tim Ash’s Landing Page Optimization.

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The Most Powerful Colors in the World

The Most Powerful Colors in the World


When we released our report on the colors of the social web, based on data analyzed by our Twitter theme tool, we were surprised that blue was such a dominant color in people's profile designs. Was Twitter's default color influencing their design decisions? Or is blue really THE most popular and dominant color online? ...We decided to look at the colors in the brands from the top 100 sites in the world to see if we could paint a more colorful picture.

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Turns out the blue-berry doesn't fall far from the bush. The web landscape is dominated by a large number of blue brands... but Red occupies a large amount of space as well. What's driving this? You might want to say that carefully organized branding research and market tests were done to choose the perfect colors to make you spend your money, but a lot of the brands that have grown to be global web powerhouses, started as small web startups... and while large corporate giants with branding departments spend quite a lot on market research, user testing, branding, etc. Lots of the sites listed above got started with brands created by the founders themselves with little to no research into the impact their color choice would have. I once asked Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook why he chose blue for his site design... "I'm color blind, it's the only color I can see." ...and now 500 Million people around the world stare at a mostly blue website for hours each week.

While the initial reasoning for the colors chosen may be trivial, the impact that these dominant players now have in the web world will surely influence the smaller startups that want to share in the positive color associations created by their bigger siblings... Once a rocketship of a web startup takes flight, there are a number of Jr. internet astronauts hoping to emulate their success... and are inspired by their brands. And so Blue and Red will probably continue to dominate, but we can have hope for the GoWalla's, DailyBooth's and other more adventurous brands out there.

Would A Corporation By Any Other Color, Still Profit As Well?

Color is an important part of any brand, but along with the actual name of a company... Is it a great brand that builds a great company, or the other way around? Would Google, Google just as well with another name? My guess is yes.

And almost 10 years ago, Wired Magazine looked at the Colors of the corporate America... Blue & Red dominate again.

Companies spend millions trying to differentiate from others. Yet a quick look at the logos of major corporations reveals that in color as in real estate, it's all about location, location, location. The result is an ever more frantic competition for the best neighborhood. Here's a look at the new blue bloods. [Wired Magazine]

The Colors of 1 Million Brand Icons

And a brand can extend further than just your logo... On the web it reaches into the address bar in the form of a Favicon. It's quite amazing to explore, but the top 1,000,000 website Favicons can be browsed here at Icons of the Web:
See if you can find the COLOURlovers icon!

Uh-oh! But Will We Run Out of Color on the Web?

Last year Francisco Inchauste posted a very interesting article on SixRevisions about the limited resource of color... not in physical form, but in mind share. (Even linking to a post we did a while back about T-Mobile and it's trademark of "Magenta")

As a designer, it is important to be aware of the trending colors, and how they are being applied in products and work produced today. What really isn’t being discussed by the design world at large though are the limitations being set on color. Color is as free for us to use as the air we breathe… or is it? [SixRevisions]

The Next Big Color Trend

You are the next great founder, designer, influencer or creative mind that may build the next Facebook. You have the power to influence future color trends... What colors will you choose?

In need of some inspiration? Check out Creative Market for some powerful color ideas.

   

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Burgers, Brews and Tweets - Local Color

Burgers, Brews and Tweets - Local Color


For this episode of Local Color we travel to Milwaukee Wisconsin, a beautiful Midwestern City on the shores of Lake Michigan. While Milwaukee has a vibrant sports, art and maritime history, let's face it, when it comes to Milwaukee most people think of beer. And nothing goes with a beer like a burger.

Meet Joe Sorge, founder of AJ Bombers. This local burger joint has created quite a brand and quite a business by embracing social media in ways that few restaurants have ever done.


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Inspiration from Business Cards – The Most Colorful Part of Your Business

Inspiration from Business Cards – The Most Colorful Part of Your Business


Little things can make a big difference when it comes to first impressions... your business card is not only an opportunity to let potential clients, friends, squash partners, and recipe swap mates Know what your business is all about, but it is also an opportunity to let them in on a bit of your personality.

Below you will find some links that we hope will inspire you to be a little more colorful, or at least act as a reminder that it's time to reorder more business cards.

Find Your Inspiration

When it come to business cards no one does it quite like the Japanese. Take a look at the history and tradition of Meishi, and check out a few other links to see what that long tradition has come to look like in the contemporary world today: Japanese Business Cards | Meishi The Art of Introduction | Business Card for Tamiya | Printing Museum Tokyo

Maybe look back to the first widely used business cards also known as Trade Cards.

You could check out one of the the many businees card galleries right everywhere on the web: Card Observer |CardonizerCreatticaCard Gala

And blog roundups: One Man's Blogcreativebits

Try out some DIY ideas.

Or dive right in to flickr's business card sets & groups: Daily Poetic's Business Card SetMOO GroupThe Business CardThe Art of the Business Card

A Few Examples from the Aforementioned links

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Using Color for Web Wayfinding

Using Color for Web Wayfinding


I was first introduced to the term wayfinding from an architectural firm that hired me to help them get on the web years ago. In architectural terms wayfinding encompasses all of the ways in which people orient themselves in physical space and navigate from place to place.

While it can be a holistic and even philosophical design approach it mostly boils down to effective signage. When it comes to vast spaces, such as arenas and airports, color systems are often the most effective means of conveying categories of direction.

In other words, all blue signs refer to the International terminal or club section while all green signs signal restrooms. Frequently these systems also include icons to help further delineate or deepen the association.

Help Me Navigate a Space

The real point of the exercise boils down to making it easy for people to navigate in areas that are usually foreign to them.

When you think about it, a website is much like a large public space frequented by visitors that may not be familiar with the lay of the land. A system of color wayfinding might be very effective way to help visitors navigate a web site more effectively.

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