What should you be reading?

You can always learn something new about presentation design, even if you have been doing it for some time. I have read quite a few of the presentation design books on the market so I thought I would talk briefly about a few of my favourites and you can decide for yourself if they would be useful for you to read.

My number one pick for people starting out in presentation design would definitely be The Non-designers Presentation Book  by Robin Williams (not the comedian).

This is a fairly short book and covers clarity, relevance, animation and plot as well as the fundamental design principles: contrast, repetition, alignment and proximity. So basically it covers CRAP + CRAP.

I particularly like what Robin has to say about handouts. Rather than advising presentation designers to avoid providing handouts because they distract the audience, she advises us to create handouts that augment the content. This can be a good way to provide attendees with additional useful content as well as a permanent record of your presentation. However you can’t simply convert your presentation slides to a handout and hope that this will do the trick. It won’t. You need to craft your handout in the same way that you craft your slides and use the same design rules. This can take a heap of time and is not something that you can realistically do for every presentation, however it’s a great idea for a presentation that is going to be used across an organisation or that you are planning to deliver on multiple occasions.

There are many other fantastic tips and hints in this book, so if you want a really well written book on presentation design and can only afford one, you should think about purchasing this one. It’s not as flashy as Presentation Zen and Presentation Zen Design (both of which are beautiful) but it’s good.

Look out for next week’s post on good design books and please let me know if you have any personal favourites.

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