We’re all designers

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We’re all designers
Posted on July 26, 2016 by Simon Dunn

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These days, in MRX we’re all designers. We may not consider it but every day we use a design software that is comparable to Adobe InDesign, yet we don’t look at it with the same mindset. Yes, I am talking about PowerPoint. PowerPoint gets a bad press, but it’s not the software’s fault that when we start work we are given a computer with the Microsoft Office suite and no instructions. Rarely does anyone tell us how to use it or how to ‘design’ with it. We just bumble on learning as we go and picking up tips and techniques from colleagues in a haphazard manner.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could understand how design works? If we could learn what makes a design look good, or understand the subtle, underlying things that make a design look bad.  If you are a designer you would have learnt design principles at University and spent years honing your approach and applying them. These guiding principles (not rules) are what all designers follow to ensure the work they produce looks great.

That is how our one day training with the BT business and EE insights teams started – looking at the fundamentals of design. As the day continued we built on our knowledge to cover a range of design issues pertinent to researchers – such as how to judge the quality of stock photography and iconography, learn PowerPoint tips and tricks to make your use of it more efficient, and tidying and refining slides to make them clearer, simpler and more visually appealing.

We finished the day by creating an infographic using PowerPoint. Though we had little time at this point in the day I was amazed by the fantastic job everyone did, coming up with some wonderful and hugely varied designs. Credit to the BT and EE teams’ creativity- with proof that you can indeed teach people to design better.

So at the end of the day everyone returned home, weary, but hopefully inspired to apply their new found skills. We have certainly had some great feedback on the training:

“I found out lots of useful things to help make my presentations a bit sharper, succinct and perhaps a little more memorable!”

“I’ve already used some of the design principles in a short report, and I’m working hard on improving my PowerPoint skills with the advice and tips you provided throughout the day.”

“The design principles will be an essential toolkit for this, so they are slowly getting ingrained in my thinking.”

We feel the training could benefit anyone working with data, research and insight – both client and agency side.

If you would like to learn more please email Simon who designed and ran the training.