Presentations are a powerful communication medium and I was inspired to create this visual resume after I came across some quite basic presentations on this theme when researching digital storytelling.
I recently spent some time adding in the more important career details to my visual resume to fill out the final presentation, but in the process of doing this, I’ve decided to revamp the whole thing.
I started a Pinterest board to collect resources and this has been invaluable. This visual resume is very much a work in progress and I’ve had a lot of fun looking at various types of presentation styles and generally playing with a range of ideas.
This is what the updated version of my visual resume looks like.
The Design and the Process
I chose to use PowerPoint to create this presentation to take advantage of some of the amazing transitions and animations this tool offers that help with creating an engaging story to capture the attention of the audience from beginning to end. The final presentation was produced by exporting the slides to a video format, which is very easy to do in PowerPoint.
Some of the features and functionality of PowerPoint that I used include working with the images by removing the background, grouping and recolouring, adding shadow and reflection effects, adding entrance and exit animations to the images and text and adding transition effects between slides.
The development of this presentation has been an opportunity for me to experiment with and learn more about the capabilities of PowerPoint and will be a work in progress as I discover new ways to make the presentation more engaging.
I started my design by selecting the background images and designs and creating these in Slide master. I then simply applied a layout to each slide as I worked through the project. This makes it so much quicker and easier and creates a consistent effect, especially if you use a particular layout more than once throughout the project.
Working with images
I used minimal image effects, but one of the effects I used was to combine a photo with a frame image. I started by adding an “Inside Centre” shadow to the photo.
I then grouped the two images and added an outside shadow – this gave a more 3-dimensional effect to the final image.
Removing the background from an image is a feature in PowerPoint that I use a lot. In this project I used this to remove the background from the image of Max. From the contextual format tab, choose “Remove Background”. When you’ve marked the areas you want to keep or remove using the options in the contextual Background Removal tab, click on Keep Changes, then save the picture by right-clicking and choosing Save as Picture, or you could also simply “cut” the picture, then paste it back as an image if you don’t want or need to save a copy. I then added a shadow to give the final image some depth so as it stands out against the background of the slide.
The other image effect I used was the semi-transparent overlay with the word London over the background image of a London scene. To create this effect, I started with grey text with a slightly darker grey outline inside a white-filled background. I then made the background 47% transparent. The next step is vital – you need to cut (or copy) this text box and paste it back as a picture. Then I used the “Set Transparent Colour” feature from the contextual Format tab – clicking on the grey text section of the image. This changes all parts of the image with that colour to transparent.
The last step is to add a shadow to the image – I added an offset diagonal bottom right shadow with a 6pt distance, leaving all other settings for the shadow at the default. This makes the effect look much more like a stencil.
This is the fun part and one of the main reasons I wanted to create this project in PowerPoint. I really liked the effect of typing or writing the text onto the screen, but if this is overdone it can become a little annoying! The animation effect I used for this was “Appear”, with text animated “By letter” – usually with a 0.1 or 0.2 second delay between letters. I also added a sound effect called “type” which sounds like a typewriter.
Other animations I used include Fade In/Out, Fly In/Out, Float In/Out and the Emphasis animation “Wave”. It pays to have a good look at what animations are available, but I think that overdoing these can also be detrimental to the overall effect. Getting the timing right on these takes a bit of work as well as you don’t want the effect to start too soon, or too late, or take too long. As this final presentation is not going to be interactive, all animations and transitions I set were automatic, that is they were set to happen “After Previous” or “With Previous”.
I did add one Motion Path effect to move an image from one side of the screen to the other, but I have yet to investigate these effects in more depth.
My favourite transition used in this project is probably the Curtains one that I used for the transition from the opening slide to the first slide with content on it. Once I added the red curtain image I felt this effect really made an impact as an opening slide.
Other transitions I used include Cube, Switch, Flip, Push and Gallery. I chose to be strategic about which transitions I applied, using the Cube transition to move from one theme, topic or section to another, with transitions amongst slides of related content either switching, flipping or having a Gallery effect. Checking out the effect “options” is a good idea – for example, the Push effect doesn’t just push up as the icon indicates, it also pushes in other directions which can be quite effective.
I was torn between using a number of different fonts for this project and this was something I revisited a few times. In the end I stuck with the more bold type fonts – Bernard MT Condensed, Segoe Condensed, Swagger – and then Lucky Typewriter for the typing font. I chose to keep the colours for fonts to black or white, but did add a 47% transparent fill background to the text box for some of the text to add another element and make the text stand out from the background. I also added an “offset centre” shadow to the text box for the final effect.
I added background audio to the first slide. From the Audio Playback contextual tab, I chose the “Play in Background” style to start automatically and play across slides. I also set a Fade In and Fade Out option at 3:00 seconds for each.
Save as a Video
The final presentation was created by saving the PowerPoint file as a video using the Export > Create a Video setting. I chose the Internet & DVD option and I set the slides to transition after 15 seconds. This setting covered the length of the longest slide, and works with the individual transition timings for each slide, so if a slide is set to transition to the next slide after say 3 seconds, this will override the 15 second setting.
The Original Design
My motivation to create something a bit more involved and visually engaging led me to revisiting the Duarte website for inspiration. Duarte have been developing visual stories for the world’s leading corporate brands for 20 years – and they have some amazing pieces in their portfolio.
I thought it might be interesting to try to create this using flat design as well. I’m going to find it hard to give up my shadows and detail, but I’m inspired by this video I found on YouTube.