episode 69: The Presentation Design Brief

Every new presentation design project begins with gathering details – the Presentation Design Brief. Troy, Sandra and Nolan talk about what format these each use for their Design Briefs, along with what information is captured for presentation makeover projects.


What do each of us call the pre-project information stage?

  • Troy: Nothing fancy, just “project setup”
  • Sandy: Discovery Phase in which the Presentation Brief is a part
  • Nolan: I don’t know if I have a formal name for it: client interview, research gathering…

Do you have a formal form or document that you use either for yourself or that you have a client fill out?

  • Troy: We have a standardized set of specification questions in OneNote
  • Sandy:  I use the presentation design brief, formally or informally, during a project kick off meeting
  • Nolan: I create an Evernote note for each new project where I gather information and notes

What are some basics that are generic to all projects that you capture?

  • Sandy: Project number, description and QuickBooks entry that includes the client P.O. number if needed
  • Troy: We assign a job name, job number and a 1 line description
  • Nolan: Client name, the project name and the client contact

For an example project, let’s say this is a repeat client, what do you add to the brief to direct the design needs?

  • Sandy: Target audience, Current and desired attitudes
  • Nolan: Audience, project timing, but also time of the presentation if it’s a presentation
  • Troy: technical specs (aspect ratio, what is running presentation) and notes about presenter likes (notes, animation, etc.)

With a new client where you do not know of their presentation style or preferences, what information do you capture?

  • Troy: Aspect ratio, Software, PPT Version, Platform, Type of presentation, Design Level, Animation Level, Image Attribution needed
  • Sandy: Pretty much everything Troy has listed, I also ask about a link to their asset library and include information on presentation Tone
  • Nolan: Actual brand guidelines if they have them and I always ask whether they want me to follow them or not

Other presentation delivery info?

  • Troy: audience size
  • Sandy: Objective, strategy / approach
  • Nolan: timing guidelines

Do you worry about version of PowerPoint being used?

  • Sandy: Yes. Especially if they have video. If I’m working with an agency, I’ll want to know both what the agency and their client is running
  • Nolan: If I ever anticipate wanting to use Morph, I’ll always confirm
  • Troy: We confirm version of PowerPoint (or Keynote) and where it is running (Windows, Mac, Web, Mobile)

What about capturing how the content to design is to be delivered?

  • Troy: We ask if the client will be sending a base set of slides to work from or a text outline
  • Sandy: This is something that is NOT on my brief, but I always ask the question

Do you ask anything about PowerPoint template?

  • Troy: no template, design a template as part of the project, use provided template/file
  • Sandy: I ask if a template exists. Then I evaluate it during the discovery phase to determine if it is functional

Presenter notes or handout formatting needs?

  • Troy: We do more Presenter Notes more than handouts, and they are a factor in the project scope, so it is something on our presentation project brief
  • Sandy: I discuss notes during every discover phase. We also discuss the need for speaker practice notes and handouts
  • Nolan: Usually not, but I do often bring up the conversation about handouts vs on-screen and the various strategies we have for that

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