Beautiful Presentations, the Golden Rules

Everything and everyone is going digital. There is no denying it. The speed, the outreach potential, and the relative low cost of the digital medium is absolutely unparalleled compared to print. However, there are certain aspects of print presentation that just can not be replicated with digital, not just yet anyways. Let me count the ways. A well-designed print presentation is physically pleasurable. The print piece may contain beautiful textures and smells that allows for sensual engagement with the presentation. A well-designed print presentation allows for easy portability, navigation, marking, and book marking. Those ease-of-use qualities when translated to the digital realm still don’t have the fluidity of movement afforded by its print counterpart. Now that I have listed a few advantages of print over digital, here are a few tips I have gathered over the years to make successful print presentations.

Two Golden Rules to Live By

1. When you are designing for print, make sure you are designing for print. This is the single biggest mistake I have seen people make time after time again that really ruins the quality of their print presentation. How many times have I seen people make presentations that attempts to fulfill projector needs as well as print needs, and in the end make monstrous amalgamates that have either too many bullet points when projected, or screaming texts when printed? Realize that when you are designing for print, you are designing for a document to be read approximately within 18 inches away from your eyes. Thus the scale has to be appropriate for close reading.

2. As is true for everything else in life, simplicity is the key to success, especially when applied to making captivating presentations. It’s often the subtle details that lend itself to cohesiveness, that ultimately wins people over with its unified vision.

Essential Guidelines to Follow

Font: Choosing a font family can drastically influence the look and feel of your entire piece. Realize that when choosing type, listen to the inner content, and the subject matter of the content will help you in choosing a speaking voice.

Layout: Choose a grid, and stick to a grid. Realize that the grid is what gives your document structure, both visually as well as content wise. A grid is what allows readers to quickly understand the relevance and the importance of information. However at the same time, know how to, and when to break the grid, in order to incite excitement, build drama, and create rhythm throughout the print piece.

Binding: The binding is what gives the printed piece functionality. It’s what allows the book to become an interactive object. Can you imagine the embarrassment and the annoyance of flipping through a presentation that won’t hold together, or won’t stay put? Nothing turns your reader away from a presentation faster than the inability to operate the mechanism. I personally love wire bindings, because they are very inexpensive, durable, non-intrusive, allow pages to turn smoothly, and very fast to produce.

Cover: A book, sometimes is just as good as its cover. People do indeed, judge a book by its cover. Thus my advice for making a great print presentation would be to make such a spectacular cover, people will stay impressed throughout the rest. A great cover needs protection most of all. Imagine how disappointing it would be to have your cover ruined by unsightly stains? I recommend laminating the presentation cover with thin protective sheets in order to preserve the presentation.

Image: A good image is worth 1,000 words, and a few good ones are hard to come by. Understand that sometimes consistent imageries, both in terms of look & feel as well as content-wise, are hard to obtain. Use images sparingly, and strategically. Too many images of diverseness is easy to be an over-kill, and can ruin the coherence of the print piece.

Paper: The weight, texture, sheen, and slight gradation is what gives the presentation class, or crass. It may not seem much, but appropriately chosen paper can really add personality to the presentation. I recommend going to your local papery to get a sense of all the available options.

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