on 11 October 2011
I primarily bought it for presentation "design"/aesthetics. Some useful basic design tips, helped me to put into words why something looks pleasing to the eye or not. Most of the book however is about how to have slides to help give a verbal presentation, ensuring clarity, less is more etc. I would have likes more on aesthetics but perhaps that was covered more in the non designers design book.
on 18 December 2009
Let me start this review with my opinion about previous Robin Williams books: I love both "The Non-Designers Design Book" and "The Non-Designers Type Book". They are well-written and very entartaining and include advices that I have used several times.
But this new book lacks of the quality of the others. It seems that Robin has tried to apply her knowledge on presentations and I don't agree with some of the slides she shows. Anyway, the book has some interesting chapters as the ones about knowing your software, animations or breaking some rules. As her previous books, the style is entertaining and very clear, but the content is not as good as I expected.
It you want to do great presentations, I think "Slide:ology", "Presentation:Zen" or "Beyond Bullet Points" are better options.
on 5 November 2009
I have two of Robin's other books, which have been influential in my amateur efforts at work designing flyers, proposals and presentations.
My presentations have evolved considerably since discovering Garr Reynolds work (Presentation Zen), which is superb, and I was looking forward to this title from Robin to provide me with new ideas and more options beyond Reynolds' 'zen' approach.
Robin's conversational and lighthearted writing style makes this an easy read, and she also packs the book with great content. It's full colour throughout, which was pretty much essential given the subject matter.
As with her other titles, she gives loads of before and after examples, and the book closes with a quiz chapter asking the reader to identify what's right or wrong with various slide decks, which really hones the eye and forces an understanding of the core principles.
In this book, she applies the four principles from 'The Non-Designers Design Book' (Contrast, Repitition, Alignment and Proximity) in the context of presentation design. If you already have that book, this will be a great refresher and deepen your understanding of the application of these principles to slide design. If you haven't read that book, this will be a great introduction to the principles and will provide you with a fantastic toolkit to instantly improve your slide design (you should also get her Non-Designers Design Book for a great primer on typography).
Where the book really stands out though is Robin's inclusion of chapters on preparation, clarity of message, plot/storytelling and great insights into better use of the software (screenshots and instructions for PowerPoint and Keynote). This book is the full package - great graphic design advice, tips to help you control your software (rather than it controlling you with auto templates, etc) and help with planning and delivering your overall message.
I enjoyed the section on 'Ignore These Rules' where Robin has a friendly dig at the presentation gurus who command us to "Never use animation" or "No more than six words on a slide". She's realistic and down-to-earth enough to realise that, sometimes, a little animation is good or that you can read aloud the text on a slide - as long as everything you're doing is HELPING to get the message across.
Nice chapter on handouts and a 15% discount voucher from istockphoto.com at the back.
All in all, great stuff. Buy it and make your presentations stand out!