As designers, we love finding solutions to problems and creating work that has an impact. However, to convince others, especially the clients, we must communicate our idea well. This is what I will be talking about in this post. Whether we are pitching to a client or showcasing our work online, we communicate our reasoning behind a solution through presentations. So, we might as well learn how to make one that will have the most impact on the audience.
Understanding which sections to include in our presentations and why to include them is necessary if we want to get our point across to others. So, we will begin by first understanding what sections you should include and what value they bring to your presentation.
It is very important to know the “why” behind a particular project. Whether it is to help a client solve a business problem or contributing to a cause you believe in, the purpose behind a project is what fuels the motivation to create it. Including it in your presentation gives a back story for the audience to relate to your proposed solution.
For example, this was the purpose behind a meditation app project I created for my graphic design specialization course from Coursera.
Another important factor is to set clear objectives and key results for the project. Often, when you are working with a client, you might be given a creative brief with all these included. Other times, you might have to set your deadlines, objectives, and key results. Having these in your presentation allows your audience to understand what you were trying to achieve. When you justify your creative decisions concerning the deadline and objectives, you get clarity on the thinking you implemented behind those decisions. This also makes it easier for others to give you constructive feedback.
For example, my capstone project was divided over 6 weeks and, each week, we had to complete a part of the project and submit it for review. There would be a brief to guide us through the assignments which helped us to get a clear idea of what is expected and what is to be delivered. The objectives in the brief were helpful for us in gauging if we had completed the assignment and for others as a framework to review our assignment.
Once you have decided the purpose behind your project, you sort of have an idea about the overall theme of the project. This is the time to take inspiration and research more about the topic. For my project, my theme was developing meditation as a habit. So, I went ahead and read more about the history of meditation, the tools that are out there now such as Calm or Headspace, and the ways to make a habit stick. I used the Calm app as a reference for developing the UI of my project.
In the course, we were asked to come up with three words to describe the feel of our brand. This was yet another research task where I went and researched the words most associated with meditation. Apart from that, I also tried to google words and synonyms for what I wanted the audience to feel about the brand.
Once we have our research with us, we can go on to ideation to come up with ideas for the project. There are many ideation techniques out there, but we will focus on the mind map for this blog. In a mind map, we start with the theme of the project or the name of the project and map out branches of all the terms associated with it. With each level of the mind map, we go further and further away from the core theme of the project. It allows us to look at every aspect of the background of the project as an individual element instead of one unit. This can lead to some innovative ideas which we may have otherwise overlooked.
This is the mind map I used to come up with the name as well as the entire branding idea of my capstone project.
Apart from this, you can also create a moodboard from the references you have collected in your research to draw inspiration and ideas from. These are the moodboards I made using my research for the project.
The goal of the ideation stage is to come up with three words that you can use to define the aesthetics and feel of the project. These are the words on which you will base your design decisions to achieve the result. These words will also help the audience to understand the criteria you used to filter out all non-serving design elements and see whether you did a good job of it.
So, for my project, I wanted my brand to feel – Immersive, Inspiring and Curative.
Once the ideation stage is done, we roll our sleeves up and get creating. Depending on the project you can have different deliverables such as logo, illustration, user interfaces, packaging and so on. After you have worked out all the different variations of your deliverables, you might make iterations of the one you have finalized upon. When it comes to presentation, it is neither feasible nor advisable to make your audience go through all of them. So, here comes the question - What are the three best options that you are willing to show your client? This question gets the ball rolling for you to make some tough decisions and eliminate all the iterations that do not make the mark. The mark being the design objectives you have decided upon in the earlier stages.
This stage is basically to showcase how well you have executed your objectives and what the design looks like. You can always go a step further and put the design on mockups to help your audience visualize the designs in the physical world.
Here are the deliverables I made for my capstone project –
Note: When presenting logo do include the sizes for all the various platforms it will be used in like mobile apps, websites, print, etc.
This is the mockup for a business card. It helps to understand how the logo might look on the card.
Since the theme of my app is about sounds generated from plant heartbeats, I have also made a mockup of a CD Album which could be the brand’s extended product.
Below is an advertisement banner mockup where we can see how the brand might communicate the experience of using the app through graphics.
3. User Interface
This is how the home page of the app looks like. Putting it on a mockup further clarifies the look and feel of the app.
Now that we have understood what parts we must include in our presentation, let us have a look at which ones to include for different purposes.
There are largely three categories where we use the presentation as a means of communication for showcasing our projects –
Pitching to a Supervisor or Client
When pitching to a supervisor or a client, you must document the entire process and reasoning that helped you to reach the final result. This includes the design brief (which is somewhat like the purpose section), research as well as ideation. You also must include the creation part but only include the three iterations of the final variation. You do not want to confuse the client too much by showing them all the other choices. If you have made any mockups, include them in the presentation. This helps the client understand how the design will look in a physical space.
Here are a few examples of good creative process presentations–
Online Portfolio Website
For online portfolio websites, it is advisable to focus on only the final resulting artwork. Often the process behind these designs can be quite lengthy and it is not a good experience to have to scroll through all that to get to the actual design. Also, the format of such websites is not suitable for showcasing the process as they focus more on graphics than text. You can display your final designs here with a brief introduction about the project, the color or typography that you have used and the mockups as well. If you want to point people towards the process behind the final design, you can include a link to a video or blog post where you can walk them through an in-depth explanation of your process and design choices.
For portfolio websites, you can showcase your creation section with brief snippets from the purpose and research sections.
You can check out my presentation of the capstone project I talked about over here
A platform like a blog is perfect for documenting the process that you underwent to get to the result. You can use this medium to post long-form content. Such a format can allow you to go into the details about all the sections we have discussed. Blogs are the perfect place for showcasing case studies as there is an emphasis on both texts as well as graphics.
Here are links to some awesome case studies:
Authored and Graphics Designed By- Sanika Sanaye
(Creative Design Director)
Authored and Graphics Designed By- Sanika Sanaye
(Creative Graphic Designer Trainee)
Peer Reviewed By- Jasjit Chopra
Peer Reviewed By- Jasjit Chopra