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This post was written by
Scott Schwertly

Scott is the Founder and CEO of Ethos3.

Smartling has made quite an attractive presentation with its recent SlideShare deck “Be an Agile Global Marketer.” The first thing that popped out to us is the deck’s color palette. It’s inviting and playful, clean and warm. It serves as a wonderful example of the innate impression colors leave on a person. Don’t underestimate the power of the color scheme you choose for your presentation; it can (and should) evoke certain moods, emotions and feelings. Smartling’s deck certainly proves that point, as its color scheme leaves us with a fun, fresh feeling.

Which brings us to the next thing we love about this deck– the illustrations. They’re very well done, and dramatically increase our visual interest in the deck. Also, they work well in conjunction with the clean blue, and then orange, backgrounds, as the simplicity of the backgrounds emphasizes the important, illustrated material. We also like how Smartling didn’t simply default to using big graphics, but rather kept the layouts diverse and used various design elements (i.e. banners, infographics, builds) to keep the slides visually interesting throughout.

Our only qualm with Smartling’s deck is that the slides become very busy toward the end of the deck. Whereas the beginning of the deck (slides 1-21) is simple, clean and to the point, the latter half of the deck (slides 22-32) is very text heavy, causing the design to lose some of its initial appeal. With that said, we do like how Smartling used the infographic originally featured on slide 13 to break out the 5 steps of the process (slides 22-26), but it becomes distractingly text heavy. Perhaps it would have looked cleaner if those 5 steps had been broken out into two slides rather than one, or if Smartling had pared down the content a little more.

Regardless of that criticism, we really like the clean, playful look and feel of Smartling’s presentation. The diverse and interesting design elements throughout keep the audience interested, and we especially love the tongue-in-cheek conclusion (Cough, Cough) slide inciting the audience to go and check out Smartling– an excellent, call to action ending in an fun, effective deck. 

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  • Mike

    Good post. The "most common denominator" principle is a good. 4:3 is safe and established.

    We're rolling out more and more presentations in 16:10 which is a happy medium. Also known as 8:5 or 4:2.5 and means that the "black bars" either side aren't as prominent on widescreen TVs and other 16:9 screens. Also, its the aspect ratio found on a large number of screens such as Apple Macbook pro, Google Nexus, Kindle Fire and Galaxy tab.

    The one thing to be aware of for anyone looking to change an existing 4:3 presentation to widescreen is that Powerpoint squashes the page instead of widening it. So watch out for squished graphics.

    Finally, here's a really great resource for screen sizes. http://screensiz.es/