Design matters

I know design matters but I dont know much about such things so I asked Nicole Gugger, a presentation professional to share some of her insights and expertise in this first guest blog posting.

I´ve been asked “does design matter”? The answer is clear. Think only of the great presentations you have received or those you aspire to deliver. Or have a look here. Design matters and makes a significant difference to the overall presentation for both audience and presenter. Design brings the content to the fore; it directs the attention; purifies and simplifies content; is brain friendly and engaging; creates a memorable image in itself from which additional meaning is derived; adds credibility and finally signifies the value with which the presenter holds the audience.

Once the arc of the story (p1) is constructed the supportive slideset (p2) can be designed remembering the principle of “form follows function” and considering the following questions. 

Always ask yourself: does the expression of your chosen pictures, colours and fonts match with your content, personality and audience? Comic sans is usually a bad idea but recently a professor talking to parents about learning methodology for third-graders made his content more appropriate and more credible by intentionally using with comic sans. Form follows function and function counts!

All presentations are “designed” but the quality delivered (p3) represents a combination of the import of both audience and the message but influenced by time allocated and, in some instances, money invested. If you are involved in medical education and your aim is only that the content is understood, the design may be more pictorial, reduced and functional than that representing a quality premium brand and selling luxury items with professional support and high-end photography. 

Finally, beauty in design is only of value if it serves a purpose to the audience. The beauty of peacock feathers is principally for the peahen, it is just chance that we humans see this as beauty too. The huge throat of the bull frog means little to most humans but has the lady bullfrogs going wild. Design is all about what works for the audience and it matters.

1 Comment

  1. rolobotrambles

    The importance of design is gaining increasing recognition in implementation theory. Medical technology (and perhaps guidelines themselves) must have a design that makes them appealing and accessible or that simply won’t get used. Great to see this highlighted.

    There is a point specific to design when presenting to audiences. It’s important to remember the value and means by which they will record and remember your talk. Most speakers have had heart sink when they notice the person in the third row is noted diligently writing verbatim every word they are saying. However it is important that there is some mechanism by which people have to review what they have been told – this maybe the slide set or a key fact sheet. This is especially important if your presentation is very pictorially based as regardless of how good an orator you are peoples memories fade over time.

    Thanks for a great series!


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