Thursday, May 26, 2016

Slide dissection: What Teachers make by ethos3

Let's analyse three slides from Ethos3's presentation What Teachers Make

We'll be looking at slide 1, 57 and 76.

Slide 1

The font is Georgia Bold. The contrast ration of the font size is about 1:3
Consider this comparison between a Georgia bold M of size 36pt and one of size 108pt. The M on the right much bigger than the one on the left.  What you are looking at is not length but area, so the actual contrast ration you are looking at is 1:9.

Let do its wireframe and overlay a Rule of Three Grid

The text is centered, vertically centered that is. Look at 4 intersection points of the grid, The focus point 'Make' lays precisely on the bottom two. Not much to analyse there. Let's make a big jump

Slide 57

   The font is Gill Sans and Gill Sans bold. We see at least 4 different font sizes. Let's make a wireframe again.  
This is one single object that occupies the entire slide. Although the object is tilted, text-heavy and asymmetric the slide feels balanced. The slide obeys the Rule of Three with a twist. But wait, there is more! Do you also feel the text moving from the lower right conner to the upper right. We can feel this orientation by looking at the wireframe. The dominant orientation is given not only by the shape but by its color. The tilt gives a sense of unease which goes very well of the topic at hand: a teacher calling a parent. What would we feel if we rotate the text back?

Slide 76

I love this one. This is the gravity slide. This is how you create movement in a slide.
Why? Why do I feel like words are falling and breaking as they fall down, forming a pile of…letters, I guess? You know what's coming…

That's right, wireframe! In a pile there is more on the bottom than in the top. We see that the font size used on the bottom text (no pun intended)  is bigger than on text at the top. Therefore the bottom has more area than the top. But also the middle layer has more area than the top layer…

So what?…

I hope you see that all these slides are text-based, and nonetheless we have look at them as objects, shapes of color.  So this is an invitation, an invitation to see your slides as objects to be position on a canvas. An invitation to analyse your own slides. The more you exercise your eye to see slides this way, the more likely you will produce better slides, and hey why not, prevent your audience from falling asleep while you present. 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

sketch, sketch, sketch

I know, it's been a while. Last semester, the students did great podcasts. That is, great for their skill and prep time. So I'm dropping the idea of doing a podcast theme.

This week, I had the biggest breakout in slide design for a scientific talk.  I included sketches for abstract diagrams, instead of drawing them using vector graphics. I love the result, and so did my client and the audience. It made the slides for personal, it freed me the slideware technology, and opened a whole new world of possibilities.

What also  surprised me was how I could use vector graphics and sketches in the same slide. Here is another example:
The incredible thing is I don't know how to sketch! All I did was boxes, lines, triangles and circles. But now, I what to learn more about sketching!

Now I didn't sketch all of the diagrams. I downloaded some vector graphics, and use  line style that emulates a brush or a fountain pen:
Icons from the noun project. Creative commons.
Now, let me stop here for a moment and compare this slide with this one:
Not only less is more, but using outlines instead for color-filling, I got a more consistent style across my visuals. The former slide uses less ink. Lets break it down:

  • The calendar icons are gone.
  • The icons are only outlined.
  • Horizontal lines are gone.
  • The font style changed from bold to regular.
Now that we are comparing, let's compare one more. This time the very first slide with its all-svg counter-part: