In this conversation, Miguel talks about PowerPoint design, and niche areas that TRIBE Presentations works with.
Geetesh: Tell us more about how you got started working with PowerPoint, and what sets the presentation design work in a league that’s different from other types of graphic design.
Miguel: I have worked with presentation design since the early 80’s, while still working as an art director in advertising agencies.
When I created my first design studio in 1987, clients often requested us to develop visual aids for their presentations, from overhead transparencies to 35 mm slides. I believe we were making a difference, adding value with the design approach we used to create those pieces because, from the beginning, I always looked at presentations as one of the many branches of the larger design tree.
1988 was a huge jump in our presentations design service, from hand made materials to computer graphics. With the purchase of a Commodore Amiga 2000 and some peripherals, we started designing and printing our own computer transparencies and 35mm slides and… developing computer based dynamic multimedia presentations (I believe we may have been pioneers).
As presentations grew to became our major income source, in 1991 we jumped to a higher professional environment with a Truevision Vista based network, which we used until 1997 when the first reliable PowerPoint version came into the market.
We looked at PowerPoint as a natural tool within an ongoing evolution, with a great advantage over our previous systems. It’s friendly interface also endeared clients since rough presentation content would now come already in the PowerPoint format, avoiding the retyping of the usual huge amount of handwritten sheets of paper, and finished presentations could be delivered by the clients themselves with their own computers. But, at that point, clients started suggesting that our presentations business was finished as they now had the tool in their own hands! My answer used to be “Just let the dust settle… it is not about the tool, it is about what you can do with it!” which came to be the birth of a concept that I use until today.
We assumed that PowerPoint was not a threat but a challenge, so we “dived” into it with all the skills we had: design, image processing, step by step animation, audio and video production and in a couple of weeks we made PowerPoint create what we wanted it to and not simply what it offered as the defaults. We went back to clients with samples of presentations leveraged and delivered with PowerPoint and comments shifted from “you’re finished…” to “oh, we can’t do that…”.
We’re still in business until today with many of those same clients, and PowerPoint became, since then, our main delivery tool.
From a more personal point of view, today PowerPoint is not only a day-to-day tool but also a tool I use for private “hobby” projects.
Geetesh: Your portfolio includes many advertisement type presentations that could typically be used for digital signage -– is this a significant trend in Portugal, or is this a niche that your company addresses?
Miguel: TRIBE Presentations began in April 2009 as my first presentations design core business assumed project, with a small team which has been working together for the last 12 year. Its portfolio is a selection of works designed through this time span.
The presentations market in Portugal covers all the conventional themes, corporate, services, projects, products, etc. We have our share of presentations in all those areas but the fact that our professional roots come from advertising and product design, led us to work a lot with marketing and sales departments and it is somehow reflected in our portfolio, leading to the “advertising type” look you commented.
Clearly assuming our line of work to be a little into animation, as long as animation adds to convey the message and not exists just “because” it is some fancy thing. Having said that, consumer products by their very characteristics usually allow us to develop more dynamic presentations.
Our portfolio was selected choosing presentations or segments of presentations, which reflected that preference line, our path since 1997 and – even if designed for a presenter – which could also work as stand-alone presentations (presentations without a presenter).
Meanwhile our client list has continued to grow to include Boheringer Ingelheim, Citroen, Colgate Palmolive, Danone, Dyrup, FNAC, Fromageries Bel, Garnier, GM/Opel, Hasbro, Henkel, Kraftfoods, L’Oreal, Mars, MG Rover, NipponExpress, Procter & Gamble, Reckitt Benckiser, Renault, Unilever, Vichy, VW/Audi, Wella, Yoplait, Centralcer, Compal, Sumolis, Cemusa, Exame, Expresso, Novis/Optimus, CGD, Somague, Robbialac, etc.