Keep Your Eye On Design

flickr photo courtesy #5081021538

Design Renaissance

Have you noticed an upswing in the focus on design over the last few years? We are experiencing a design renaissance. From retail spaces to websites to presentations, we are evolving beyond basic delivery. It’s not enough just to deliver information or a service. There must be an experience. It is the gestalt of design.

What does this mean to you as a presenter? It means your presentation must be remarkable. It means you must consider all of the parts, and then create the unified whole (the gestalt experience).

From A (Apple) to T (Ted)

Influences from Apple to TED are showing us what is possible, and we like it! Incorporating all of our senses as much as possible. Exciting our imaginations. Pulling us into the infinite possibilities offered. That is the remarkable experience you must work toward with each presentation.

The Elements


It’s not enough just to provide the information requested in your presentation. Providing information and basic functionality are yesterday’s standard. Everyone can do this easily with the core technology of the internet. The expectation is that we can and should have access to any information we desire. If your presentation only provides information, it may be considered a failure – even though the information is valuable.


Adding the element of well thought out design is the next level of expectation. The user experience (UX) is now part of the expectation – even in presentations. Events such as TED or with products such as Apple’s iPad are setting expectations. Your presentation must show that you put thought into the design and the experience from the participants’ point of view – not just as a vehicle to transfer information.

Is your presentation visually compelling? Have you considered all of the senses? Have you some how touched your audience emotionally? Though it does not need to be a hollywood production, you must bring elements of the human experience into your design.


The final element includes the expectation of interactivity. Everything is social in technology these days. But that is not new. We are social beings. We learn and discover and make decisions through experience. Your audience needs to be able to personalize your information within the design presented.

Can your audience some how contribute to the presentation? Are they being lectured to or is there a conversation happening? Are you open to comments and discussion? Can they receive your take away information in different formats (mp3, pdf document, web URL, etc)?

Together: Information – Art / Design – Interactivity

How we experience all three: information, art / design, and interaction is the focus of many creatives. There is even a conference to help move us all forward in our evolution – The EYEO Festival –  and it’s growing in popularity.

A design studio in the UK, Burning Red Studio sponsors an even called ‘DesignWars‘ that brings together the creative and uses a bit of competition to inspire innovation.

Do One Thing

This is a renaissance: experimenting with new ways of doing things and exploring how we express our ideas. Consider yourself a renaissance presenter. What one thing can you do differently to bring design and experience into your next presentation? How can you improve your user’s (audience’s) experience? What one thing will you do to make your presentation remarkable?