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Grids, The Rule of Thirds, and Rethinking Slide Presentations
Merlin Mann | Dec 31 2007
I received my contributor copy of Garr Reynolds's Presentation Zen book last week and proceeded to devour it over the weekend. A fuller review is coming to this space soon, because this is the book about presentations that's needed to be written for years, and it's just fantastic. Best of all it's not another recipe book about "how to make slides" -- this is about re-imagining how your entire presentation will work together as a persuasive and integrated show, from conception through delivery. Awesome.
Anyhow, with my inaugural Macworld talk looming on the horizon (T-minus 16 days, thanks), I've been inspired by Garr's book (and the top-notch site on which it's based) to, among other things, try revamping the approach to how slides fit in to my overall show. As I said on the Twitter, that starts with shit-canning the PowerPoint-y Keynote templates I've previously torn up and pasted together for stuff like Inbox Zero (here's the slides for that one, which Garr was kind enough to feature in his book).
But, now, rather than strictly trying to reinvent the wheel, I have a quest. A quest for a crazy-simple, design-centric Keynote template that's more about composition than gradients and 3-D bullet points. Ever heard of The Rule of Thirds?
Yeah, you probably have. Like the wikipedia article says:
And the one-third grid works. So much so that in apps like iPhoto '08, the
The Rule of Thirds (and the related Golden Ratio) have come up on Garr's site before, and on page 151 of his book, he talks about how a grid like this can provide a level of light constraint that makes your layout easier and more harmonious:
And, how. So, I want this for Keynote.
I've begun lightly noodling with a new set of Masters that's built around a Rule of Thirds grid (trashing the whole Center MacCentercenter approach), but before I get ahead of myself, I figure why not cast my line towards the more gifted waters of the LazyWeb first...
The Question to You
Have you tried using grids like the Rule of Thirds in your own slide decks? Got a favorite layout or inspiring grid structure that works well for a slide’s aspect ratio? Got great advice on getting out of the stock slide template look? Links to graphical examples welcomed. Winning high-five goes to folks who are willing to share the actual Keynote template they've used.
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