The simple story of transformation
In a world where Martha Stewart reigns as “Queen of the Craft”, it dawned on me last night that during the Great Depression of the 1930’s making clothing, cooking, and even handwriting were practiced, utilitarian crafts in many if not most homes. Jump to 2008 and my focus on visualization skills of the typical, high-school educated to high-level professional, and I routinely see outright FEAR when I suggest laying out a story on index cards, post-it notes..anything non-digital. I love facility and ease of use, most certainly: InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, PowerPoint, Flash, Final Cut Pro…all are my great and good friends. However, the invitation to tell a story the PowerPoint way – “Insert your TITLE HERE”…”Add your text here”..or through Flash’s interface – “Start with a Keyframe on a layer” – “add your library elements” doesn’t address the question that drives the purpose of using these tools in the first place: What is the point of telling this story? These are great tools, but they create anarchy when they offer no guidance or pathway to the process. And, to make matters worse, much of the templating/chart building/clip art libraries obscure the message or are useless.
Specialization, as in inspired and gifted artwork and design, has its place, but it really heightens one’s own ability to take ownership with pride when you can craft it yourself. At the very least, understanding the process of having an idea, seeing it in your mind’s eye, showing some kind of representation of that to others and, lo and behold, making the communication happen, should be an essential craft in your arsenal. Learning by doing? I’m all for it. Here’s a simple exercise:
Draw a square on the left side of a post-it note. Draw a circle on the right side. Draw a 4-sided box with rounded corners in the middle. Draw an arrow between the square, and then one between the rounded-corner box and the circle. You have just told a story of transformation!
In summary, don’t be afraid to sketch it, doodle it, scribble. In fact, you SHOULD do that and more–a slick presentation is like packaged white bread: a pretty wrapper and a lot of air to puff up an anonymous product. Make it, own it, wear it.
Here’s T. Boone Pickens doing it, live, on a whiteboard: http://www.pickensplan.com/media/?bcpid=1640183817&bclid=1641831862&bctid=1650060434
Send me your scans/shots of your index cards, post-it notes, napkin sketches. Anyone have a good visual concept of “Status quo”?
Filed under: Diagrams, Presentation Skills, Visual Expression, Visual Problem-Solving, design, Flash, Powerpoint, sketching