12 moving (typo-)messages of love

When pictures started moving and films came up in the 1880s it was only logical to incorporate text to substitute for spoken words — at least as long as films were silent. That kind of text was static and limited in the amount of words displayed. In order to display more text, frames had to be changed over time, or text had to be animated. The simplest form of animated text were rolling end titles. Only in the 1960s text started to be truly animated in film titles. Since then animated text has been widely used in film and television and became part of our visual culture. Continue reading...

Devdutt Pattanaik and Alexander the Great

The ever increasing speed of change and its totality that we are facing today leaves us in need of explanations — more than ever before. In order to keep pace we have to make sense of it all. We have to understand the own position in relation to the processes of globalization, climate change, and conflicts. It might well be a matter of survival — not only on an individual level and not only for people outside the western industrialized nations. Devdutt Pattanaik explains the basic differences between East and West by telling wonderful stories about mythical figures from both worlds. Continue reading...

Ken Robinson, creativity, and the Element

About three years ago, in February 2006, Sir Ken Robinson mesmerized the audience at the TED conference with his presentation, Do schools kill creativity? This was a defining moment for TED, making Ken Robinson somewhat of a figurehead for TED Talks. In his latest book, The Element — How finding your passion changes everything, he gives another inspiring insight into the field of human creativity and its limitless opportunities. He urges us to search for our very own Element, the point where natural talent meets personal passion. Continue reading...

Backup strategies

Often talked about and seldom done: backups … We all know that we should backup our files regularly. But, honestly, when did you last do a backup? When preparing for a presentation we should constantly backup the files we are working on. After finishing our precious visual aids we should consider different backup strategies — just to be on the safe side. Continue reading...

Fifty across — the optimal font size

As long as text remains the main component on presentation slides legibility will be one of the main factors to consider when it comes to designing our visuals. Since the invention of movable type printing, about 570 years ago, typographers, typesetters, and graphic designers had plenty of time to figure out how to improve the legibility of text. As a rule of thumb, the optimal legibility of printed continuous text lies between 60 and 80 characters per line. But, how about text projected on a screen? Continue reading...

The flip-chart trick

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Why are so many presentation slides cluttered and loaded with data, and why does it seem so difficult to create simple and meaningful visuals? What seems so hard to do on a computer looks far easier on a sheet of paper. Nobody would try to paint a complex mural on a flip-chart (without extensive prior practice anyway). On a flip-chart people allow themselves to be simpler, more visual, and even more playful than in front of their computers. So, why don’t we just pretend to prepare for a flip-chart presentation, and then transfer the results into our presentation software? Paddy Hirsch, Senior Editor of Marketplace, gives a beautiful flip-chart presentation that we would like to use as an example of how this can be done. Continue reading...

Dan Siegel’s Mindsight

In this Google TechTalk, psychologist Dan Siegel introduces his findings about the mind: 1. The mind is a process that regulates the flow of energy and information, it uses the brain to create itself. 2. The flow of energy and information incorporates three basic elements: brain (mechanism), mind (regulating), relationships (sharing). 3. A healthy mind emerges from integrated systems defined by nine functions: body regulation, atunement, balancing emotions, capacity to extinguish fear, ability to pause before acting, insight, empathy, morality, and intuition. Continue reading...

Seth Godin, now in German

We are proud to announce that Seth Godin’s “Really Bad PowerPoint” is now available in German. This little ebook is already a classic. If there is a point in time that marks the beginning of a higher awareness towards presentation techniques in the media age, that is it. Download it, read it, and pass it on. Get the original version here, and the new German version here. Thank you, Seth, for making it possible! More from Seth here. Watch one of Seth’s presentations.

Axel Wendelberger

Corporate design guidelines

Brands play an increasingly important role in business life today. Building, maintaining, and promoting brands has long become a business in itself. Big agencies create recognizable brands that set themselves apart from the competition. For that purpose companies have a corporate image, corporate design, and corporate design guidelines. Continue reading...

PPP#10 — Slide templates provided

Persistent Presentation Paradigm #10: “Our company provides us with slide templates, so we just have to fill them in. It doesn’t matter how they look as long as they follow the corporate design guidelines.” Continue reading...

Guy’s 10-20-30 Rule

Yesterday, Guy Kawasaki publicized his 10-20-30 rule for presentations on his weblog. There is much to say pro and contra that rule. But, first we have to understand who this piece of advise is aimed at. Guy is a venture capitalist, and feels extremely bothered by boring sales pitches of startups looking for investors. As an act of pure self-defense, he came up with a simple rule of thumb. Continue reading...

PPP#9 — Clip art enhances my slides

Persistent Presentation Paradigm #9: “Clip art makes my slides look more interesting and sophisticated. A Dilbert comic can say more than thousand words.” Continue reading...

PPP#8 — All my sources on the slide

Persistent Presentation Paradigm #8: “The source of every information needs to be put at the bottom of a slide. It would be unprofessional not to do it.” Continue reading...

PPP#7 — Send me your presentation

Persistent Presentation Paradigm #7: “Send me your presentation.” Continue reading...

PPP#6 — Numbered slides mandatory

Persistent Presentation Paradigm #6: “Slides need to be numbered to provide a reference for the listeners, so that they can refer to a specific slide later.” Continue reading...

PPP#5 — I can’t draw

Persistent Presentation Paradigm #5: “I can’t draw. Therefore I can not make my slides more interesting.” Continue reading...

PPP#4 — The more info the more credibility

Persistent Presentation Paradigm #4: “The best way to show competence in a presentation: put it all on the slides. Displaying all the detail and research proves that I know what I am talking about.” Continue reading...

PPP#3 — I don’t have time

Persistent Presentation Paradigm #3: “I don’t have time to make proper slides because I sometimes have only a few hours to prepare a presentation.” Continue reading...

Three “knows” to know

A successsul presentation should contain the three "knows": 1. need to know, 2. want to know, 3. nice to know. It goes without saying that there are things the audience needs to know — things that we believe are pertinent to our talk, and to the listeners. They need to know this in order to make a decision, to give you their support, to do the task, to be persuaded, won over, induced, motivated, or whatever it is we are attempting to achieve. Continue reading...

PPP#2 — Just to make sure

Persistent Presentation Paradigm #2: “I have to play it safe, can’t afford to be vulnerable. I rather put everything on a slide — just to make sure.” Continue reading...

PPP#1 — Documentation slides demanded

Persistent Presentation Paradiagm #1: “My company demands documentation slides, that’s just how things are being done here.” Continue reading...

PPP — Persistent Presentation Paradigms

Today we start a new series, called “Persistent Presentation Paradigms, or The True Reason Why I Bore My Listeners To Tears”. Given that most of the reasons of presentations going sour lie in wrong or outdated paradigms, we are in for some serious paradigm breaking here. Continue reading...

It’s a WE(e) blog!

It took us some time to get started, but now it’s here, our weblog! First question: How do you call a weblog about topics connected to creativity, presenting, design, and more? Some fancy name anyone? Well, it’s just a weblog after all — a Weblog, a WEBlog, a WE|Blog! WE as in WEndelberger, or just as in WE all make mistakes. Yes, that’s exactly what we want to write about: the problems we all face, the thoughts we have about all that, and solutions we have to offer. Continue reading...