? I'd like to use visuals which include words and pictures, in my presentation. How do I go about making them?
? When I’m preparing the artwork for my slides, how will I know they’ll be legible when projected?
? At what point in my presentation should I introduce graphics?
? What should my graphics look like?

I'd like to use visuals which include words and pictures, in my presentation. How do I go about making them?

First decide how many title and illustration visuals or slides you'd like to include, and think about the sort of words and images which will convey your message most effectively.

Even if you've never drawn a straight line in your life, you can produce professional-quality titles, photographic slides and illustrations if you don't attempt anything too elaborate and you're willing to spend some time doing the job. On the other hand, you may decide, like many professional presenters, to allocate some or all aspects of the job to a specialist.

Many illustration and titles slides start as a piece of artwork on a board, which will later be photographed on a 'copy table' to create a slide. The artwork should be prepared in the same ratio as the finished slide. A 35mm slide has a ratio of 2:3. On a 16cm x 24cm board you should create a center working area of about 12cm x 18cm, with a further 2cm border around this to ensure your entire message or graphic will be seen.

Increasingly electronic imaging is being used to create presentation artwork. This is a flexible medium which makes it easy to update images and text. If you prefer and old-fashioned approach, artwork can also be hand drawn, or by using rub-down lettering or virtually any other kind of text-based or visual media.

It is then a simple matter of photographing the artwork using slide film (or writing on a film recorder -- a laser printer which prints on film -- if you're using a computer) and you'll have slides for your presentation. If you don't have a 'copy stand' which enables you to photocopy artwork, most professional photo labs do, and these labs offer a service which will turn your artwork into mounted slides.

When I'm preparing the artwork for my slides, how will I know they'll be legible when projected?

In ideal viewing situations, the furthest row of viewers should be no farther from the screen than eight times the height of the projected image. This distances (expressed as 8H) can be used to determine the minimum size for significant details in titles and illustrations. The 8H guidelines assume that viewers have 20/40 eyesight, which is slightly poorer than average.

To judge whether material to be copied will be legible, look at it from a distance of eight times its height. For example, if a printed graph is 10cm high, it should be viewed from eight times that height (80cm) to see if it is readable.

It is a mistake to believe that enlarging the physical dimensions of a transparency will improve legibility. Transparency size is not a determining factor; it is the size of the detail on the screen that is significant.

At what point in my presentation should I introduce graphics?

This will depend greatly on the content of your presentation, however it is customary to use title slides at the beginning of a show to introduce it and at the end of the show to credit people who produced it. Title slides (which mostly employ a text message) are also used to bridge sections, summarise content, and emphasize important points.

What should my graphics look like?

A simple and general rule to remember when designing title slides is:

Stick to one concept per title slide
Use no more than six lines of text
Use no more than six words per line

This formula is the result of extensive audiovisual research and is known in the industry as the One-Six-Six Rule, and it is designed to minimize unnecessary information and result in maximum audience comprehension and retention.

Keep in mind that this is a MAXIMUM for word usage. Title slides are an area where 'less is more', and many successful presentations feature titles of just one or two key words each, for example 'FIRE!' or 'GETTING RESULTS!'.

The typeface chosen for titles and the style of any illustrations used should be consistent with the other slides in the show, and all of the elements should stand out clearly. They should be large enough to be seen easily by viewers in the last row of the largest audience.

Illustrations and photographs can be used to show subject matter which would be otherwise difficult or impossible to explain.

Maps, blueprints, diagrams, cartoons and sketches are all examples of illustrations commonly used in presentations and slide shows.

If possible, give your show a short opening title that your audience will be able to remember. Try to choose a name that communicates something about the subject matter. If that’s not possible, consider following the opening title with a longer one that explains more about the subject matter. The name/logo of any sponsoring organization may also appear at the beginning of the show.