December 17, 2014

Take me to the Lake House

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Have any holiday destinations lined up for the festive season? The Lake House hotel situated at the heart of Lake Placid, New York has some serious aesthetic appeal which might make you reconsider your travel arrangements. After sitting vacant for a number of years, the Tag Collective teamed up with architecture firm Mapos to give this charming hotel a glorious revamp whilst keeping the buildings heritage intact. With a charming new brand identity and inviting architectural spaces, what more does a traveller need?

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Everyone can benefit from a well crafted brand. Take a look at how Nicework approaches the branding process to make sure it hits the nail on the head.





 

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December 15, 2014

Looking Back on 2014

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Happy Monday, everyone! It’s our last working day of 2014, and it’s about that time when all the big networks release their 2014 recap content. From silly to cheesy to thought-provoking, we love ‘em all. Here are a few favourites!

Facebook:

Predictably cheesy and #inspirational, in a lovable sort of way.

 

Twitter:

Twitter built a page of interactive “bubbles” grouped around the year’s most popular topics and influencers.

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YouTube:

As they did last year and the year before, YouTube got together the faces of some of their most watched channels to create a video tribute to the year’s most viral content.

Tumblr:

The folks at Tumblr generated a beautiful landing page populated with the most popular tags and posts of 2014.

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Spotify:

Check out their interactive guide to 2014 in popular music.

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[Bonus] DJ Earworm:

DJ Earworm supplied the track for the YouTube Rewind embedded above – he also creates insanely catchy mashups for his YouTube channel. His annual “United States of Pop” mashup is a guilty pleasure of mine… check out this year’s one below.

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December 8, 2014

Danh Hien Jewelers

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Happy Monday everyone! Who doesn’t like a freaking beautiful brand? If you know that person, send them my way. It’s educatin’ time.

I love this brand put together by Vietnamese branding firm Bratus for Danh Heinh Jewelers. It’s always great to see designers using paper stocks and special finishes to really enhance the brand’s identity, not just for pretty. Check out the subtle use of copper papers and foiling – it really sets the brand apart. I also love the use of negative space in their simple, geometric logo.

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Are you one of those people who DOES love a freaking beautiful brand? Of course you are. Take a look at our white paper on how brands live in the real world.





 

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December 3, 2014

Chris Carboni: Cruisr “All Over”

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Blink and you may have missed it. After watching Chris Carboni’s music video for Cruisr‘s “All Over” I had no choice but to hit the replay button. This animated treat not only appeals to one’s audiovisual senses but also takes you on a trip to the sweet sentimental corners of your mind. I hope you enjoy this cleverly woven and magnificently crafted animation as much as I did! (via Indiewire)

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Cruisr / All Over from Chris Carboni on Vimeo.


Any story can be told through animation, want to know more about how we do it?


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December 2, 2014

Put it on paper

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We all need a handy notebook from time to time, a place to collect all your drawings and countless lists. What’s better than one that’s nice to look at and fun to play with. Lately, designed notebooks seem to be a big trend, and I can see why. Here are a few of my favourites that can get you thinking about fun alternatives for gifts this holiday. Let your crafty inner-demon free!

1. Tropical Notebooks

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2. The Shoe Alternative

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3. & London 3-in-1

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4. Punktum

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5. Incognito

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Note only are notebooks nice for personal use, they make great client gifts if branded accordingly. It’s just another chance for you to show your clients a brighter side of the work you do, and keep you in there thoughts. Have a look a our white paper on how great brands are communicated to keep your company in the loop.





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December 1, 2014

All I Want for Christmas

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It’s totally not weird for a fully grown adult to crave children’s books, right? Because I stumbled across Grain Edit’s book gift guide and stumbled across some picture books that are giving me ALL the emotions. Here are some of their top picks, and a few additions of my own.

Everything Eventually Connects

A book about which highlights the relationships and connections of creatives in the California modernist movement. Sound a little dry? Look at the illustrations!

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Worse Things Happen at Sea

A concertina-folded book inspired by tales of mythical sea creatures and “the tall stories of doomed voyages passed down from sailor to son”. Reminds me a little of the Tale of How, another favourite.

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Alphabetics

A delightfully quirky alliterative alphabet book.

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Duck, Death and the Tulip

A beautifully written and tastefully illustrated book, that explains death to young children without fear or drama. It’s also been adapted into a short animated film… in German.

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 I Want My Hat Back

A sweet, repetitive tale with just a twist of violence.

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December 1, 2014

A session with the Cycologist

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While you are reading this, the ticket for our CreativeMornings Cycologist are selling out. 2 groups of 10 people get to experience a session with the Cycologist Vincent Truter right after our talk just go here and grab your ticket before it is too late.

The speaker for December’s CreativeMornings is Vincent Truter, a Jo’burg multidisciplinary creative  and “cycologist”.

Vincent Truter is a Cycologyst From brand strategy to creative direction Vincent Truter is a cross disciplinary creative mind with a passion for sustainability and a penchant for subversion. Building on his awarded career in the creative and branding industries Vincent is now taking a two-weeled journey with his electric bicycle and green mobility company called Cycology and his Green Mobility awareness campaign called #DECONGEST. Join him as he takes you on a two-wheeled journey that connects people, places and passions that gets SA thinking and moving differently.

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December 1, 2014

Presentation Design Masterclass: The end, for now

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Hello there! Welcome to the 9th (and final) module of our presentation design masterclass. To see what we’ve covered so far, you can click through to our shiny new consolidated homepage.

This module is a look back on all the key takeaways from the masterclass so far – a good one to bookmark! (Wink wink, nudge nudge). When you’re done reading the post take a look at our most exciting free offer so far – a presentation design consultation with the Nicework team. Enjoy!

Are you ready? Let’s begin.

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Every slide must further your big idea

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We said it at the beginning, and we’ll say it again – if there’s a slide in your deck that doesn’t directly drive you toward your big idea, it has no business being in your presentation. A presentation is a story, and your audience is relying on you’ their narrator, to take them through it in a concise manner with purpose and direction. You want them to come out of your presentation with a very specific conclusion, and the only way they’re going to get there is if you lead them there.

As you move forward into structuring your slide deck and notes, think long and hard about every single thing you want to include, and whether each piece of content drives your big idea home in some way. Less is more!

Context and audience is paramount

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The more you try to address in your presentation, the more you dilute its impact. If you’re presenting to a diverse audience, pick the people who are most crucial to your goal, and speak to them. The hardest part of the preparation process is accepting that you can’t please everyone

Who are these people?

Your audience is incredibly important when it comes to your presentation as they determine your tone, execution and overall delivery. An important beginning step to delivering a powerful, engaging presentation is to define your audience – who are they and what do they need? This insight can help us determine the required level of detail and visual tone.

How informed are they about your subject matter?

This is a factor that will greatly influence the subject matter of your presentation. If your audience already has some context on your content, you can avoid a lot of unnecessary explanation and focus on selling your big idea. If they’re coming in cold and have no clue chat you’re talking about, we may need to dedicate more time (and slides!) to unpack your content.

Are they inside or outside your organization?

This can make a huge difference in your presentation. If you are presenting to an audience within your organization, they will probably be familiar with all kinds of jargon that you may use on a daily basis without a second thought – a helpful piece of information to know!

This can also define the entire tone of your presentation and the types of imagery you want to include, depending on your company, this is where you can have fun and potentially take a much more friendly approach.

What kind of tone and imagery will they likely respond to?

Imagery is a great way to bring your presentation to life. It supplies visual cues that guide the audience on a journey throughout the presentation. However, different kinds of people are likely to respond differently to different kinds of imagery? Are they very literal-minded, or will they understand and appreciate more conceptual images? Will they prefer very colourful slides, or something more somber and refined?

Why your visuals matter

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The combination of your font selection, colour application, and use of images will speak volumes about the tone of your presentation and the personality of your brand.

Each font has its own set of visual personality traits, which can add to or detract from the narrative of your presentation. When selecting fonts, ask yourself : will this add value to your narrative? Even to the untrained eye, fonts have personalities that should be used in an informed, considered way that works with your brand character and story.

When making your colour selections, also keep in mind the meanings and emotional connotations of each colour you consider. The psychology of colour may seem a little “frilly” and irrelevant in the business world, but the emotive power of colour really can have a meaningful impact on the success of your presentation. All colours have inherent meanings, which can directly impact the way your brand, in this case your presentation, will be perceived by your audience.

An audience’s reaction to colour can seem subjective, due to factors like personal preference and current mood. However, there are still common emotional associations that can be exploited to add value to your message.

When it comes to presentations, imagery can forge a greater understanding of a complex topic, and bring clarity to even the most elaborate story. People also respond to imagery on an emotional level and connect more strongly to visual cues than they do to text. Consequently, images create a more memorable and impactful experience for your audience.

The bottom line – nothing in the design of your slides should be done “just because”. All these design elements can be used to great effect to drive your content home. It would be a great pity to waste them on window dressing with no meaning behind it.

Why you still want to work with an agency

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Although we have given you all the necessary tools to create a great presentation, it still takes a lot of time to craft it into something beautiful. If your presentation is due first thing Monday morning and you still have a huge pile of work waiting on your desk for you, your presentation might fall by the wayside and end up looking rushed. It’s times that these that you need to call in help from a design agency. Given a certain time frame, they will know exactly what they need to do to in order to make sure you deliver a well-crafted presentation in time for your meeting.

Sometimes, the people who are closest to a project are the most ill-equipped to create the all-important presentation. Why? Because being in love with a project means you can’t see for yourself which information is dispensable. We get it – you want your audience to know how hard you’ve worked! That said, an impartial (creative) observer could be just the help you need to distill our deck down for minimum waffle and maximum impact. Get your agency/a designer who can take a step away from the brand to work on it. They will have an unbiased perspective of the project and may come to a solution much quicker than you could.

Regardless of time crunches and content assistance, sometimes the thing holding you back from next level presentations is as simple as technical knowhow. PowerPoint is truly some great software when it comes to creating a presentation, but more often than not, designers work on other software such as the Adobe suite to generate what can’t be done in PowerPoint.

PowerPoint is easy to use and gives you all the basics for the simple relaying of information. But what about those fancy infographics and pretty icons? Those are often made in alternative software, and are a great asset to have if you’re wanting to stand out.


 

Whether you’re comfortable creating killer presentations on your own, or are happy to admit you need a little help on the big stuff from time to time, we hope you’ve found this class useful. We’ll see you at the next one!


Have the last few weeks of hints and tips been helpful for you? Would you like to delve deeper into how to make your presentations great? Book a free consultation with our team, for in-depth insight and advice.


That’s all, folks! If you’ve enjoyed the class and would like to share it, or even just bookmark it for future use, head to our handy homepage, where we’ve filed everything neatly in one place. If you’d like to find out more about the people behind the masterclass, head over to our website.

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November 27, 2014

CreativeMornings Johannesburg: Education | Vincent Truter

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Happy Thursday, everyone! It’s that time again, for us to introduce the speaker for the next CreativeMornings Johannesburg event – the last one of 2014. Speaking on the global theme of Education, it’s Vincent Truter!

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From brand strategy to creative direction Vincent Truter is a cross disciplinary creative mind with a passion for sustainability and a penchant for subversion. Truter holds multiple masters degrees obtained across the world – from Sweden to Japan in diverse disciplines ranging from dance to exhibition design. Building on his awarded career in the creative and branding industries Vincent is now taking a two-weeled journey with his electric bicycle and green mobility company called Cycology and his Green Mobility awareness campaign called #DECONGEST.

He is a gifted public speaker and facilitator that is passionate about making profit and purpose meet. Join him as he takes you on a two-wheeled journey that connects people, places and passions that gets SA thinking and moving differently.


If you’d like to stay in the loop about CreativeMornings Johannesburg, you can make use of these handy-dandy newfangled social mediaz:

CreativeMornings Johannesburg on Facebook
CreativeMornings Johannesburg on Twitter
CreativeMornings Johannesburg site
or just subscribe to our newsletter!

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November 27, 2014

Presentation Design Masterclass: Briefing your agency

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Hello! This is the eighth module of the Nicework Presentation Design Masterclass – the second-last one! Here are the things we’ve discussed so far: presentation planning, document setup, fonts, colour palettes, imagery, charts and graphs, and animation.

Today, we’ll be talking about how to brief an agency on creating a presentation for you. “What?” you ask, “Is this some kind of a scam? Why did you  spend all this time teaching me how to design my own presentations if you’re going to tell me to take them to an agency anyway?” If you’re confused, read on.

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When/why to go to an agency

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When you don’t have time

Although we have given you all the necessary tools to create a great presentation, it still takes a lot of time to craft it into something beautiful. If your presentation is due first thing Monday morning and you still have a huge pile of work waiting on your desk for you, your presentation might fall by the wayside and end up looking rushed. It’s times that these that you need to call in help from a design agency. Given a certain time frame, they will know exactly what they need to do to in order to make sure you deliver a well-crafted presentation in time for your meeting.

When you are too close to the project

Often if one is too close to the project/brand, it becomes difficult to streamline content and pick out the most important information, because EVERYTHING seems important. You might overthink the presentation, or get stuck on crafting one slide, rather than maintaining a steady flow. This level of dedication can be a positive thing, but it does become an issue when you need to get things done quickly.

If you anticipate this, get your agency/a designer who can take a step away from the brand to work on it. They will have an unbiased perspective of the project and may come to a solution much quicker than you could.

When you need more than the basics

PowerPoint is truly some great software when it comes to creating a presentation. However, more often than not, designers work on other software such as the Adobe suite to generate what can’t be done in PowerPoint.

PowerPoint is easy to use and gives you all the basics for the simple relaying of information. But what about those fancy infographics and pretty icons? Those are often made in alternative software, and are a great asset to have if you’re wanting to stand out.

Your big idea

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We need to know what you are trying to achieve

When it comes to marketing you product/service/company, you need to have a unique concept, ‘a big idea’, that sets you apart from the rest. What is that one thing you want your audience to take away from your presentation? In our first Masterclass, ‘Before you begin’ we have spoken about the ‘big idea’ and how to develop it. Even during crunch time, it’s still essential to set aside a little time to nail down your objects. Help us help you!

Your audience

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Who are these people?

Your audience is incredibly important when it comes to your presentation as they determine your tone, execution and overall delivery. An important beginning step to delivering a powerful, engaging presentation is to define your audience – who are they and what do they need? This insight can help us determine the required level of detail and visual tone.

How informed are they about your subject matter?

This is a factor that will greatly influence the subject matter of your presentation. If your audience already has some context on your content, you can avoid a lot of unnecessary explanation and focus on selling your big idea. If they’re coming in cold and have no clue chat you’re talking about, we may need to dedicate more time (and slides!) to unpack your content.

Are they inside or outside your organization?

This can make a huge difference in your presentation. If you are presenting to an audience within your organization, they will probably be familiar with all kinds of jargon that you may use on a daily basis without a second thought – a helpful piece of information to know!

This can also define the entire tone of your presentation and the types of imagery you want to include, depending on your company, this is where you can have fun and potentially take a much more friendly approach.

What kind of tone and imagery will they likely respond to?

Imagery is a great way to bring your presentation to life. It supplies visual cues that guide the audience on a journey throughout the presentation. However, different kinds of people are likely to respond differently to different kinds of imagery? Are they very literal-minded, or will they understand and appreciate more conceptual images? Will they prefer very colourful slides, or something more somber and refined?

Your brand

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What existing CI elements/imagery must be considered?

If you are creating a branded presentation for your company, you should ideally have an existing powerpoint template. If not, your brand guideline will give you a set of rules of what design elements you need to use throughout your presentation and the correct ways of using them. This includes the logo, colour palettes, existing imagery/style of imagery, fonts etc. Any information you can supply to your agency with regard to these things is much appreciated.

What is your brand’s personality?

Are you a quirky brand that likes to push the boundaries and take risks? Or are you a brand that likes to maintain a more professional voice? These things will affect not only the design of your slides, but also your script. If your brand was a person, who would it be?

How should this presentation inform your organization’s goals?

This goes back to the big idea behind your presentation. What is the goal? Make sure everything in your presentation ties back to what you are telling the audience so that your big idea is reinforced throughout your presentation. We need to know what you want to achieve and how you’re going to measure it, so we can be on your team and get you where you need to go.


Got a presentation that needs a designer’s magic touch? We’ve compiled these tips into a free worksheet to make your handover as seamless as possible.



Have you been enjoying the Presentation Design Masterclass? The bad news is, we’re only one instalment away from the end. Luckily for you, early next week we’ll be summing up everything that we’ve covered so far, and giving you our key tips and takeaways. We’ll also have one last, very special, free resource for you. See you then!

 

 

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