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Pre­sen­ta­tion Tem­plates = Ready-to-Wear?

Oct 7, 2022 | Presentation Design

Ready-to-wear or french prêt-à-porter is a term for fac­tory-made clothing that comes with fixed sizing, as opposed to made-to-mea­sure or bespoke clothing. In the visual design world, this is rep­re­sented by so-called tem­plates. In this blog post, we explore the poten­tial ben­e­fits and dan­gers of using templates.

Design for non-designers?

Pre­sen­ta­tion tools like Pow­er­Point or Prezi try to be more acces­sible to a broader audi­ence by offering the user so-called tem­plates. An audi­ence that does not nec­es­sarily know how to make beau­tiful com­po­si­tions from scratch but can judge one, when they see it. Tem­plates allow nearly every­body to clothe their infor­ma­tion in pre­made designs, with the option to do minor cus­tomiza­tions them­selves. These tem­plates define a colour scheme, shape lan­guage, type­faces and overall composition.

Tem­plates offer an excel­lent starting point for inex­pe­ri­enced users because they come with widely accepted graphic design prin­ci­ples. Among these are bal­ance, prox­imity, align­ment, visual hier­archy, con­trast, rep­e­ti­tion, unity, and typog­raphy. Some of these prin­ci­ples are rooted deeply in our bio­log­ical evo­lu­tion, espe­cially hier­archy and con­trast. Others are more attrib­uted to our cul­tural devel­op­ment. So what tem­plates do is that they please a purely aes­thetic need. But beauty itself, as we know, is often in the eye of the beholder.

Design != Design

When we are going to buy new clothes, two main fac­tors influ­ence our shop­ping behav­iour. First, internal needs, like whether they feel com­fort­able or reflect our per­son­ality, and second, external fac­tors, like whether they are appro­priate for the occa­sion. So clothes are typ­i­cally a means to an end, a tool to help us achieve the desired future goal.

Working for a large com­pany, we fre­quently have to make deci­sions for other people. When we have to choose a uni­fying clothing style, we cannot base the deci­sion on per­sonal taste but instead, have to please the com­pa­nies over­ar­ching aims. What are these aims or goals?

When we think like a tra­di­tional designer, we start making even the tiniest deci­sions with the big idea in mind. We think about the poten­tial effects of each ele­ment in the com­po­si­tion and the tran­si­tions between them. What type­face might best evoke the desired feeling, and how does it play together with the sur­rounding ele­ments? Making these elab­o­rate thoughts on every­thing does not mean that we def­i­nitely reach our goals. But chances increase dra­mat­i­cally than when we would simply roll dice.

Are you ready to measure?

With this mindset, we begin to see tem­plates as a starting-off point. They should inspire us to go in a par­tic­ular direc­tion, but not make us too rigid in our deci­sion-making. When we feel one aspect of the tem­plate does not bring the desired effect, we should look for alter­na­tives. That could also mean taking dif­ferent ele­ments from var­ious tem­plates and weaving them together in a bespoke design.

Do not squeeze your project into a fixed tem­plate, but adapt the tem­plate to your project’s needs.

Bottom line

Pre­sen­ta­tion tools target a broader audi­ence by pro­viding numerous easy-to-use tem­plates. Instead of requiring the user to start with a blank canvas, one can choose a pre­made visual design to get a beau­tiful result. These tem­plates ensure a gen­eral aes­thetic quality since they are mostly in line with widely accepted graphic design prin­ci­ples. How­ever, they yield a poten­tial danger by blur­ring the real aspect of design – form fol­lows func­tion. When we adopt the per­spec­tive of a tra­di­tional designer, we start making deci­sions not solely based on taste, but rather on whether the ele­ments are causing the desired effect. With this aware­ness, tem­plates become more like inspi­ra­tion, to fur­ther sculpt them according to the project’s requirements.

Thank you for reading.

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