Methods > Communicate > Bring the Bling - Creating Awesome Slides!

Bring the Bling – Creating Awesome Slides!

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Contributed by Greg McVerry

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Learn how to create beautiful presentations by creating the slides for an ignite deck.

Participants in this module will will plan an ignite slide deck, 20 slides that auto advance in 20 seconds, in order to practice the visual medium. We will take you from storyboarding your slides, to searching images, and finally to creating the deck.

Learning Objectives

  • Story board a presentation
  • Use copy, design, and layout that enhance your message.


Activity – Ignite Talks

An ‘Ignite’ talk is a series of events where speakers have 5 minutes to talk on a subject accompanied by 20 slides, for 15 seconds each, automatically advanced.  It’s a great challenge in not only public speaking, but in creating effective slides that allow you to speak to a subject represented in slides, without reading and without a lot of additional context needed.

Watch – Great Designers Steal


Lead a discussion on what people observed.  Where possible, navigate to a frame on the video that supports, or reflects the question being asked.

  1. What was the speaker’s essential message?
  2. What was the purpose of telling the story of Cargo Cults?
  3. Is the this message inclusive for all?
  4. How do we consider empathy in design?
  5. When did the speaker chose to use texts?  What was the effect of text on the speaker’s story?
  6. Did the slides use a lot of different fonts and colors?

Ensure these, and any of your own take-away are covered:

  1. Metaphors and connections strengthen our stories.
  2. Great slides use text sparingly – if I can print out your slides and follow along, your design has too much text.
  3. Slideshows die with the first bullet point. (or minimalism of bullet points is essential).
  4. Consistent font and color choices are key.
  5. use text fonts as ‘signals’ for the audience. IN the video for example, the speakers used the same fonts and colors for key terminology and a different font choice for quotes.


Watch ‘Why and How to Give an Ignore Talk’


  1. Review the key elements of this genre of speaking: 20 slides, visually driven medium.
  2. Ask what they did not like about this speaker or his talk.
  3. How can this method of speaking help us create better slides, and better talks?

Activity – Creating your Ignite Talk

Make a copy, or print this graphic organizer and this Storyboard.

Select one of these, or your own topic for an ignite talk:

  1. Contributing to Mozilla.
  2. What is Open Source, and why does it matter?
  3. 15 ways to re-purpose recyclable materials in your home and workplace.
  4. Why an ‘Open’ web matters.
  5. Dogs are the best animals.

Show this example of the graphic organizer  – focused on the talk ‘Cats are the best animals’ .

  1. Setting the Scene – what story you will use to draw in the audience.
  2. Position Statement – Explicitly define the key issue.
  3. Claims and Evidence – What arguments (claims) can you use to support your position? What evidence do you have to back up your claims?  SLIDES are important here.(you don’t have to use every box)
  4. Call to Action – How do you want to mobilize your audience – what is one step you would like them to take?

Show this example of the storyboard (which is starting point to 20 slides, not finished)

  1. Have people copy the file or provide paper versions.
  2. Initially just describe the photos – searching can be done later.
  3. The goal is to translate the message into 20 slides.
  4. Remind people that there are no steadfast rules.  You can repeat slides, ‘setting the scene’ does not require more slides

At wrap – have people present their storyboards to the group, and share a bit about how the process felt for them.  If you have time to let people create their slides, try to have a single place of sharing so others can see the completed versions at any time.

Photo by Airflore BY-NC-ND