My eyes are opened I need illustrations
July 29, 2009 1:59 PM   Subscribe

I just read Slideology which has really helped me improve my presentations, but I need some help in creating rich illustrations on my own.

I just read slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations which has really helped me improve my presentations.
I love all the rich illustrations she uses in her book. Not being a graphical artist or designer, and not usually having the budget to hire one to help with presentations, I need some help creating nice illustrations.
For some diagrams Visio is great. (Even though I must run it in Fusion on my Mac). If Visio provided more stencils of objects for the type of diagrams the book decpicts I would be happy with it. I have tried Omni Graffle for the Mac, and I like it, again I just wish it had more pre built objects.
I guess if I could find a vector based clip art library with objects that aligns with the different diagram types in the book that would be great. With the popularity of the book I was wondering if someone knew of a source for such clip art or just a better software to create the diagram with.
Illustrator seems to be the preferred choice for professionals who know what they are doing, and would allow me to build all the objects I need, but I am not having a lot of luck creating the shapes from scratch on my own.
posted by digividal to Computers & Internet (2 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Why do you want shapes? Are you looking to create art, or fancy bubble charts? And who is your audience for these slides? What are you trying to do with/for them?

If you're trying to market your ideas to potential buyers, I could see reasons to really wow them over, but most other audiences might appreciate simplicty, as they're there for the information and not fireworks. (Of course, fireworks can keep people awake and engaged through dull details.)
posted by filthy light thief at 2:53 PM on July 29, 2009

If you are considering Illustrator (wayyyy too hard core for the newbie, in my opinion), and you have access to Omnigraffle for the Mac, then you have all the vector tools you need.

Omnigraffle has a nice set of standard stencils, but there is also a great resource of stencils at Graffletopia.

Once you have any stencil, you can edit or tweak it, or use it as the basis for something else. The tools to create shapes are pretty powerful and not as complex as Illustrator. I've created whole web site mock-ups that look exactly as desired in half a day using Omnigraffle, but nicely there are stencils out there where someone else has done most of the heavy lifting already. You can also copy shapes from Omnigraffle and past into programs like PowerPoint or Keynote, but you can just make PDF slides directly from Omnigraffle. (I'm assuming you can do most, if not all of this to some degree in Visio on the PC, although I've never tried).

You can also use google image search to find clip art. Just use the "Any type" drop down to choose "clip art".

Personally, I've found that I can also create pretty much any shape or image I need in PowerPoint (less easy) and Keynote (rocks!). Take your time to learn these programs and you create most illustrations you'll need, or be able to tweak any art you import.
posted by qwip at 10:41 AM on July 30, 2009

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