Join John McWade for an in-depth discussion in this video Dramatize information, part of Learning Graphic Design: Presentations.
- Data has no meaning without context. One of the coolest challenges in designing slides is to dramatize information to help your audience visualize it, understand it, and make it more meaningful. I have three examples. First is a chart that shows the population of the U.S. compared to seven countries. What does this mean? The data by itself is pretty lifeless. So, think why are we showing it? What's the point that we want people to remember? In this case, it's that the U.S. is not as big as it seems at least to us.
So let's dramatize that. How about with these slides? If Earth's population, 7.4 billion people were represented by a village of 100, four would live in the United States. That's dramatic. It was a challenge. It for sure takes more effort than a bar chart, but it's much more effective. Another example. This is an ordinary bar chart comparing the viscosity of three motor-oils.
Viscosity is the flowability of the oil. You might think of it as the gooeyness like honey versus water. If we take the easy way and show the bar chart, our audience might start thinking about that nap. So how about this? Picture viscosity like we'd experience it in real life. Glugging into puddles. The bigger the puddle, the higher the flow. It's dramatic, it's engaging. You understand it right away.
One more. Trying to show an increase in audio bass perhaps to sell our new line of speakers. Unless we're talking to audio engineers, this chart works just fine, and it's fun too. So to sum this up, always think what point do I want my viewer to take away? Then dramatize that point.
Good presentations take time and thought. Design is too important to leave to a computer! Use these techniques to make personalized, thoughtful presentations that both educate and inspire.
- Putting data in a story form
- Using a simple background
- Choosing the right typeface
- Incorporating charts, photos, and illustrations
- Connecting emotionally with your audience