Join Petrula Vrontikis for an in-depth discussion in this video Choosing the ideal format, part of Running a Design Business: Presentation Skills.
The form your presentation takes depends on the type of work you're presenting. Usually designers present mock-ups or some kind of visual representation of what the final product will be. My advice is to present designs in their native environment. Your client can see the work more clearly in terms of type size, interaction and context. Print work should be presented as color outputs printed actual size. Everyone should be able to see the correct size of the text and know what the colors will look like.
Package designs should be able to be held and viewed by your audience in a way to mimic the consumer experience. Environmental graphic designs are often merged with existing photos to illustrate the context in which they'll be experienced. Make sure to include silhouettes people or something like that to show relative scale. Interactive designs should be presented on digital devices. For example, if you've designed a website, it's best to show it on a laptop in the context of a browser.
And how the design adapts to a tablet and a smartphone. Sometimes designers present their research, their strategy, or their process. It's common to present this type of material either on separate mounted boards or in a multi-page PDF file, a Keynote or a PowerPoint presentation. To decide which is the best format, print or digital, you may want to consider whether or not it's important to reference back and compare different pages. This is very simple to do with a physical mock-up, but very difficult to do with a digital file.
More and more designers are asked to provide copies of digital presentations. A practice known as sharing the deck. This can get very tricky. These files often end up being used by others in unexpected and unfavorable ways. If someone asks for the deck, a discussion should take place, and an agreement needs to be made regarding any transfer or use of your presentation. If you use Keynote, know that it can only be opened by Apple computers and they are often font issues if you've used other than common system fonts.
A Keynote file can be exported as a PDF, which can be helpful to clients for remote presentations. And you can export it to HTML and make a mini website out of it. But both eliminate transitions or builds that you may have integrated into the file. Even though printing things out sounds a little old fashioned, I find it a good strategy, because I often write notes or make sketches of everyone's input during the presentation. I take the printouts with me when I leave so there's no chance for the work to be passed around or reviewed without me.
Smart designers create their presentations to fit the media of the final project. Use media that will showcase the design and provide a foundation for a lucrative agreement.
- Presenting one-on-one, to a team, or to a larger audience
- Choosing a presentation format
- Introducing your design and providing context
- Persuading your audience
- Developing visual aids
- Creating a great first impression
- Understanding verbal and nonverbal cues
- Getting approval
- Facilitating a Q&A session