How can I improve my presentation skills?


I need your help for improving my presentation skills. I could not find a book specialized in this topic. the books are mostly about sketching. they don’t explain how to communicate your designs effectively ( creating appealing page layouts, backgrounds, fonts…)

can you give me some tips ( for example, how to locate product sketches/ pictures on the paper, the picture number and flow…) or recommend related books?

thank you

My main advice is to keep it simple. Use one font, simple consistent page layout, and make sure you know what each board/slide is trying to communicate.

Just because you can use a “unique” font that doesn’t mean that it is more effective than something more traditional and approachable like helvetica. and even though photoshop and Illustrator are great tools, just because you can have a crazy gradient background, doesn’t mean you should.

As for learning how to do this well, it’s all trial and error, and noticing who does it well and why.

Look at other portfolios on Coroflot and other resources to find examples of who is doing it well.

I also like to look at magazines and websites to get inspiration about effective page layouts.

Most importantly remember you are trying to tell a story or convey an idea with your boards. Show the viewer what you want them to know, nothing more, nothing less.

two words.

helvetica bold.

ill get some pics up soon.


simple, clean, less than 10 words per “slide”, nice use of blank space, focus on each particular concept/idea/feature/function per page, two fonts maximum, keep to one color scheme (you learned this in your core classes/intro/etc)

don’t have one page that shows your robot design with 100 call out that fully explain its jet pack, sonar/radar system, laser cutter, and emotion detector. (just for example).

a bad presentation can be made good if your idea is well thought out, well designed, and you are confident.

the same can be said about a super slick presentation.

I’d put presentation ability in the top 3 necessary important skills as an IDer

perhaps you can post up some examples of your latest presentation, that would be easiest

thank you very much for your advice. I’ve been examining the presentations at with the points you told in my mind.

do you have any advice for the flow of presentation elements? I mean how can we attract the attention of the people longer on the slides/pages that we want to emphasize more.

one more question:)

I use photoshop cs3. shoud I use adobe illustrator too? I have no much information about differences between them :frowning:

Taylor, I hope to send my works soon.

I’ll agree with a lot of the point already made. Here are some others…

Every designer needs to be an excellent communicator, on paper and in person. The ability to sell our ideas to whomever we are presenting to is so fundamental as to what we do. As such, here are some thoughts and lessons I’ve learned through the years;

  • Keep it simple on the page. Too much of anything (text, imagery, ‘background’ graphics, etc. - noise) can kill the message. Show as many views as needed to explain the idea and stop there. Same for words. But, remember - no one is going to take the time to read copious amounts of text on a page.

  • Tell a story. That’s the single best way to visually or orally pitch an idea. Use imagery (or words) that help paint a picture of the issue and how the solution solves it. Your imagery on the page should be a storyboard of sorts - you’re giving the audience a bread-crumb trail to follow you as you weave them a yarn about your product.

  • Keep to one concept per page. This ties in to both the afore-mentioned items. Too many thoughts on a page is overwhelming. If you need more pages to get the idea across clearly or to make your storyboard work, do it.

  • Context is everything. If it’s a hand-held product, show images of it in the hand. If it’s body-worn, draw someone wearing it. If it’s an appliance, put it into the environment. Showing something in context is the way to connect your audience with your vision. If they understand how it would fit with/on them or in a space they can understand, you’ve moved that idea pretty far up the hill. Again, this is part of telling a story.

I’ll add more as it comes to me…

  • mid-westerner +

[quote=“matsiyah”]I use photoshop cs3. shoud I use adobe illustrator too? I have no much information about differences between them :(quote]


Photoshop is best used to prepare photographs of your projects while Illustrator is better for creating the type and graphical treatment that surrounds photographs of your work. You make a photograph nicer in Photoshop and then place it in Illustrator. Ideally, you would use InDesign to create your portfolio instead of Illustrator or Photoshop. Indesign allows you to lay out your portfolio page by page, while Illustrator would require you to save separate files for each page or separate layers in one file. InDesign can do any reasonable thing you would need to do in Illustrator for layouts and presentations while making the maintenance of it much easier.

Another important thing to note is that, if you create a layout in Photoshop and place the files into a pdf, the quality will be lower, while the size will be much larger. If you lay your portfolio out in Illustrator or InDesign, it will look much better while having a smaller file size (typically.) This is important to consider when emailing your portfolio.

Hope this didn’t make things more confusing.


I think Universe and Myriad Pro are “go to” as well. Along with Helvetica, they look good everywhere and don’t stick out like a sore thumb.