“Presentation is Everything”
This adage has been proudly proclaimed, depressingly muttered and sarcastically sighed by everyone from design professionals, students of visual arts, and your 9:00 – 5:00 salary man ready for his time to shine. It is an adage that sums it up, to impress, to convert, to excite, entice, enthuse….to win – presentation is everything.
So we are going to talk about using presentation to do just that – to win. If we look back into the annals of time we can see just how far we have come and in some ways how far we have regressed. We are not going to make this a history lesson, we are instead going to look at three important aspects of presentation that you can think about the next time you have a project and feel this may apply. While we are at it, I am going to put a note at the end about some cautionary advice to consider as well. Without further ado…let’s do it!
Two assumptions we will make while proceeding:
– This is not an art project
– Your project is intended to be used
This is important because projects that are purely based on art and not meant for practical application operate under a completely different rule set. What I say below will not always apply to that.
1. Readability??? Readability.
It is very important in anything that is to be presented or to be used that it is readable! I know this seems like common sense but this gets missed a lot. People sometimes let basics such as contrast and spacing escape them while putting a design together. Depending on the person, this can be a huge handicap for the person your project is intended for. It can take all of your time spent….and literally burn it to ashes! It is game over everyone – the end.
The above example shows the basic of basics for this. Contrast is super important! If you are putting together a restaurant menu, an info graphic, a logo for your business, anything at all, contrast must be checked. You have to find that healthy balance of beautiful design, and sharp readable contrast. Sometimes these lines can blur – just remember though, people need to use this, make sure they can do it easily.
CAUTION: There are ways to make items readable but still look awful, be careful to avoid this. You want people to take what you are doing seriously and when something looks bad, it hurts.
2. Communicate Directly
Just say it! Just say the things that must be said. Was that rude? Sorry. It had to be said. If you are creating signage, or a banner – maybe an ad of some type and so on, you need to recognize the likely behavior someone is going to have when looking at it. A book has a different expectation of attention than a billboard does. Both the circumstances in which they are seen and the required time asked of the person viewing them are entirely different. How about a “Now Open” sign? The example below is lovely, Their prominent branding and the clear message. Additional information may be on there but in a glance you get everything that is essential.
Time after time we see companies try to fit their entire company message in a small ad. They try to fit every single bit of information that they can – this rarely does any good, 99 times out of 100 you are wasting money on materials that have nowhere near the impact they could have.
Do you think you are saying too much? You might be! o_o.
CAUTION:While minimalism is a very effective tool, make sure you do get across the message you need. At the end of the day design is all about balance.
3. Inspire People
It is really easy to try to blatantly advertise to people. It is also easy to give them the general run down of what you do. However, when presenting your service, business, yourself, whatever the case may be if you are able to inspire people you have serious power. Consider “Lego” for a moment, once upon a time they may have advertised in a more traditional manner and they may still. However, they have recognized the power of inspiration and as a result produced this gem:
That is a stellar commercial, what a great way to sell their product without saying “you can build with legos, buy here”. Instead you get a sense of importance, a sense of gravity. It all of a sudden transforms from a toy to an important step in creativity development.
CAUTION: It can be tempting in an attempt to inspire to misrepresent your product or yourself. It is not on purpose usually, but it can happen. Be sure to understand what you are offering and what you can do, represent it faithfully. Inspire and deliver – it is a potent combination.
These are a few very basic tips, but if you follow them you can find a transformation in the presentation of your business. You will be able to wake up in the morning and go “Ahh! I love my clean readable, direct message that inspires people.” That is going to feel so good.
Just remember your tools of the trade:
- Good Contrast
- Direct Communication
- Inspire the Viewer
We will continue with more tips in the future, follow us on Facebook if you are not already and remember to feel free to chat with us!