Mark Hill is a Colorado-based cartoonist & illustrator, and he began drawing when he was old enough to hold a crayon without also eating it. His work has appeared in over 200 publications, including The Atlantic, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal. He has also illustrated over 30 books, (ranging from children’s to business books). His corporate clients include Bayer, Boeing, Cisco Systems, GM, Google, Intel Corp., Merck, Northwestern Mutual, Pepsi & Time Warner. Mark’s website is at Hilltoons.
In this conversation, Mark discusses the use of cartoons in presentations, such as PowerPoint slides.
Geetesh: Mark, cartoons are certainly different than other visuals such as photographs. What in your opinion are reasons to choose one over the other – and when are cartoons better?
Mark: Photographs and various types of graphics are certainly very useful in presentations, to Illustrate ideas, points or information.
Cartoons have some added benefits. The most obvious aspect is humor— and everyone likes to laugh.
Additionally, a funny cartoon can be a great icebreaker, putting everyone at ease, and helping to endear your presentation to your audience.
Cartoons are also helpful in re-establishing focus and interest in the middle of a lengthy presentation. Even the most attentive listeners can begin to drift and lose focus after a while. A good laugh from a cartoon can bring everyone right back from their fog, post-lunch drowsiness or smartphones…to listen to you.
Geetesh: Can you share a story about a client using your cartoons in a presentation slide?
Mark: I was hired by a prominent financial services company to create some cartoons for a presentation being given to their upper management. The subject matter of the presentation dealt with how their financial advisors can convince clients to trust them—and to believe in their expertise.
So, in writing the humor, I went right to the crux of the issue, something that people wonder about many fields—what makes you an expert and better than the other guy? (Here is the cartoon):
It apparently got a big reaction from the audience, with lots of laughter…leading into the presenter’s subject.
In that case, I wrote humor to fit specific subject matter. But often I have clients who are in need of something fast, so I refer them to my collection of existing cartoons for various subjects.