Mark Heaps is a passionate and enthusiastic design thinker. He has been designing for large and small clients alike for over two decades providing solutions in content strategy, creative direction, and visual execution. He brands himself as a Professional Creative due to the nature of his work, and relationships with clients like Google, LinkedIn, Capital One, Dell, and Adobe.
In addition, he’s also an active musician, author, photographer, adventurer, and most importantly father to two great kids in Austin, Texas. He has won the Adobe MAX Masters award multiple times and been a speaker at other events like SXSW and CreativePro Week.
In this conversation, Mark talks about Click: The Presentation Design Conference being held virtually this year, as part of CreativePro Week 2020.
Indezine is a media partner for this event.
Geetesh: Mark, you are doing 4 sessions at this year’s Click conference: Building PowerPoint Templates for Your Team and Clients, Adobe Tools for Presentations, Beautiful Presentation Typography, and Click: Three Minutes Max. Can you tell us more about each of these sessions, and what will be takeaways for attendees?
Mark: Click is a really exciting event for me because it spans all parts of the design and communication world that I work in every day. We are finding our community through Click and hearing examples about how presentations are getting utilized in the real world. Our attendees tell us about the work they do for the government, private sector Fortune 500 corporations, education, small businesses, consultants, and more. I love that because it’s proving that this is a real need and focus for many people in the world.
Much of our industry focuses on being a great storyteller or presenter, but the truth is that there is a high-level of engineering blended with great design, to build an effective template. It can be a real shift in presentation culture when you build a toolkit for employees of an organization that helps improve their design language across an org. Our small agency has done this for years with companies like Capital One, Texas Waste Disposal, Google, and more. We’ve seen what it’s like when a presentation culture is empowered by an effective system so in this session I’ll be covering what we’ve learned as best practices about building a template while also showing in the program where you can do many of those things.
In my other session, I’ll be teaching about some of the improved integration between Adobe tools like Photoshop, Illustrator, and PowerPoint. From new tools that Adobe has built specifically for PowerPoint and how some old hurdles have now been removed thanks to updates on the Adobe-side. In this session, I’ll specifically breakdown some workflow techniques our team uses. Because we’re all remote, or when we work live at an event, we have to be as flexible as possible while also not dropping the ball on our efficiency and quality.
The typography session is a class that I had taught previously and it was very well received. Basically one of the top complaints we hear about presentations from clients is that they are usually “boring” or don’t look very beautiful. Much of the time we see an effort to improve presentations by using photos, icons, and other stock assets. However, a core facet of great graphic design is understanding the impact of typography as a visual element. In this session, I walk through how to integrate different approaches to type with very typical slide content. From dense copy formatting all the way up to graphical looking text elements. The main goal is to produce that level of design standard with typographic focus while also maintaining editing capabilities in the presentation. So in this session, I don’t go out to Photoshop or Illustrator, it’s 100% inside of PowerPoint. But the techniques can also work in many other programs, it’s a really fun session.
3 Minutes Max is a really fun part of the event. It’s where we gather all of our instructors and ask them to show a tip or trick. Each instructor is only given 3 minutes to share their technique and then it’s voted on by the attendees to decide who has the most impactful or impressive tip. Many of our attendees say it’s their favorite part of the event because it’s a way to learn a lot of really helpful tricks very fast. One lady told me last year that if they had only seen 3 Minutes Max it would have been worth the trip.
Geetesh: What sets a professional PowerPoint template apart from millions of other templates, which in many cases, are just a background picture, a logo, and some color choices?
Mark: So what sets apart a great presentation template is the one thing that can’t be known by all the millions of templates online and that’s tailoring. Think of it like buying a great suit, or a dress. If it was made for you, it’s going to make you look better than anything else you could have bought off the shelf. It’s made for how you want to wear it, what you are going to do in it.
To bring that down a level, we’ve seen this level of thinking in user-experience and user-interaction design for years now. What is the experience like, of someone building a presentation? What is the culture of the company and how familiar are they with presentation best practices? How important are certain brand standards and design principles? I built presentations for Apple, I’ve built them for Google and Facebook. Each of those organizations has a very different level of proficiency in design thinking, but even more different is how people work and the sorts of content they present. A professional-grade template takes this level of thinking into consideration and tries to lean into a business culture supporting not only their needs but also their wants.
Here’s a video from 2018, in which David Blatner, the CEO of the CreativePro Network talks with Mark Heaps about a variety of topics including presentation design.
What are Click and CreativePro Week?
Click is a conference about presentation design. It is a subset of the larger CreativePro Week conference held annually.
Indezine is a media partner for this event.
Date: June 3 to 5, 2020
Location: Virtual Event
The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer, or company.