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I had a lot of fun shooting the first episode of the Office Show. I never thought that while being a designer at Microsoft I'd end up playing with a blow-torch, but I'm not complaining.
In the show we talked about some of the great design features in PowerPoint. There's a host of powerful tools built into PowerPoint 2010 that make it really easy to create great looking presentations. Of course we wanted to stretch PowerPoint to show it off. In my segment of the show we worked with traditional animation techniques - called cel animation - that have been used by Disney and other hand drawn animation houses for nearly a hundred years. That allowed us to reuse background elements from frame to frame while redrawing elements in the foreground - woohoo for copy and paste!
A very talented colleague of mine - Ally Hood - hand drew every line of every shape inside PowerPoint using the built-in drawing tools. From there she animated certain foreground elements within some slides, while setting the transition (a cut) between slides to less than 1/5th of a second. At that speed still images start to blur together and give the illusion of movement - just like that stick figure you drew in the corner of your high school math book - it's Ok, we all did it
The result of about 40 hours work was 150 custom created slides that took us through all four seasons in just 30 seconds. If you haven't seen it yet, you really should check the show out!
While you might not have time to do your own hand-drawn animation, there are a number of great, easy ways to add motion to PowerPoint. Here's more info on a few of them:
Use animations, SmartArt and transitions in PowerPoint 2010
Use the animation painter to apply effects with one click
Get a free, professionally designed template with animated text effects
Animation help on Office.com
The underlying design principles we used certainly are applicable to what you want to do in PowerPoint, or any design tool for that matter. There are some basic rules of how we see the world and what we find pleasing to the eye. Knowing these rules and applying them makes the difference between something that looks uncomfortable, sloppy and unprofessional and something that makes the viewer perk up and take notice.
As you may have seen in the video we focused on 3 principles (there are others) that are both important and easy to work with. The illustrations below come from the very cool Chad Engle, editor over at fuelyourcreativity.com, thanks Chad!
1) Balance. Imagine there's a scale in the middle of your screen. Make sure the objects on one side add up to the same visual weight as the other. That'll make your layout look comfortable and stable.
2) Directional forces. Try arranging elements so they guide your eye in a specific direction across the layout of your design. This gives your design a sense of purpose and lets the viewer know where to look.
3) Proportion. Here's a design trick invented by the ancient Greeks: When you're scaling your shapes, start with the smallest, and make all the subsequent shapes 1.6 times bigger than the last. That's the Golden Ratio, and it's like a shortcut for calculating the right proportions. You see it reproduced everywhere in nature and architecture.
If you keep those principles in mind you'll have gone a long way to making your design stand out from the rest and putting yourself on the road to design mastery. If you haven't already check out the Office Show for a few laughs and some great tips on using the new Office 2010.
-- March Rogers
For daily design tips and inspiration follow March Rogers on Twitter.
That was so boring I fell asleep in your presentation.
I understand the principles of using golden ratio for proportion, but I can't work out how the third slide shown above illustrates this at all. Am I missing something?
The image shows a golden rectangle, which has one side that's 1.6 times greater than the other. When you a remove the red square, the remaining rectangle is also a golden rectangle. More info on the golden rectangle here:
And more about the illustration series, "The Lost Principles of Design," can be found here:
I know what a golden rectangle is (and that 1.6 is a very poor approximation for the value, but what the hey). I can see that you have drawn one and it looks very pretty, although you emphasise the base square more than either rectangle.
But I don't understand what the slide is supposed to be showing us about how to use a golden rectangle or golden ratios in designing attractive slides.
What are the three circles?
How are they arranged in relation to a golden rectangle?
Are their sizes supposed to be in golden ratio to each other? (they actually look like about 4:5:10 in radius ratios)
It just seems like a picture of a rectangle, not an example of how to use the ratios as part of a design layout, unlike this useful article: www.smashingmagazine.com/.../applying-mathematics-to-web-design