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Librarian Design Share

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Librarian Design Share Goes to Houston

Next week April and I are returning to Houston (a city we both love and called home for many years) next week to present at the Texas Library Association 2016 Annual Conference. We’ll be discussing ways in which libraries can adopt better visual design practices to improve communication with library users, and of course, doing a brief plug for Librarian Design Share. If you are planning on attending, or just find yourself in Houston, we’d love to see you. If you can’t make it, we’re sharing our presentation slides below.

Texas Library Association 2016 Annual Conference
Improving Communication through Visual Design
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
3:00 – 3:50 pm

Every time a librarian crafts an event poster, develops signage, creates instructional handouts, or drafts Web advertisements, a design decision is made. The co-creators of Librarian Design Share will empower attendees with the basic principles, processes, and tools necessary to develop visual materials that enhance relationships with users. April Aultman Becker, Sul Ross State University; and Veronica Arellano Douglas, St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

 

 

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No Original Ideas

I’m pretty sure that there are no original ideas out there anymore.  I regularly apply this philosophy to designs I create.  When I start a new project, I find something that is inspiring, and then try to adapt the design (maybe just the colors, or shapes, or fonts) to my needs.  For example, I recently ran across the Scopus blog while preparing a presentation about the H-Index.

01-scopus-blog

I found the header of the blog to be modern and beautiful, and I wanted to try to recreate it.  However, with limited time, I couldn’t pull it off (you know, I had to focus on the content more than the design). Instead, I used my Colorzilla tool to capture the colors and I used the idea of the circles and connecting lines to illustrate the concept of “H-Index and Beyond,” as you can see below.  To further the modern feel of the presentation, I used the font, Multicolore, which you can download here (and here’s a little trick that Veronica just taught me about SlideShare: to avoid losing your non-standard fonts, save your document as a PDF before uploading to the site!).

I wouldn’t say that this is the best presentation I’ve ever created, and I still regret not being able to create the window-paned orbits like Scopus made, but I feel like it borrows from the original design without plagiarizing it.

You can find the original file here to download on the Librarian Design Share Google Drive Folder.  Feel free to modify the PowerPoint for your own use, and if you create something cool, let us know!  We love to feature updates of designs here on the blog.

For the Love of Icons

Last month April and I presented at the 2014 Library Instruction West Conference in amazing Portland, Oregon. Our session was on effective methods for teaching “experienced researchers” (faculty, professionals, grad students, thesis writers, etc.), but our slide deck was ALL ABOUT THE ICONS (as you can see). We drew heavily from public domain and CC-licensed icons available from The Noun Project, a fantastic repository of “the world’s visual language” in symbols and icons.

You can access this presentation on Librarian Design Share’s Google Drive, or better yet, take a look at The Noun Project today! Trust me: You will find the icon you need.

Good Design Doesn’t Happen Alone

 

On Saturday I gave a short talk at the ACRL Marketing Discussion Forum at ALA Midwinter. The whole presentation, as you can tell from the title slide, was about using the people and communities around you to help you create better, more engaging visual materials for library marketing and outreach efforts. It may have been cold enough in Philly to make me wish I was in Texas in July, but the conversation at our discussion was lively and warm! I had a blast. Big thanks to Katy Kelly and Jessica Hagman for inviting me to participate, and I hope y’all enjoy the slides.

This presentation was created using Photoshop. Images were saved as PNG files and layered onto a Google Slideshow. For any of the original Photoshop files, email me, Veronica.

DIY or Prefab it?

It’s a question we’ve all asked ourselves at one point or another. We might be under a tight deadline to create a presentation for a class or a series or brochures for an event. We weigh out our time constraints against the creativity raging inside our brains, our proficiency with design tools, and our desire to work on a particular design piece. Then we come back to our question: Do I DIY it or Prefab it?

At Librarian Design Share, April and I have made it a point to share original designs created by library-related folks for library-related purposes. Your designs are AH-MAZING (and of course we want to encourage you to keep ’em coming). We would of course, be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge the role that prefab designs play in our work. In fact, one could argue that, since all designs on Librarian Design Share are available for adaptation and resuse, this blog is in fact a sort of prefab design site.

If you aren’t familiar with traditional prefab design sites, just think of Microsoft Publisher or PowerPoint Templates on steroids. Some of the more popular flyer and infographic creation sites out there are ones like:

They offer a variety of attractive templates that can be customized to varying degrees to meet your design needs. Many retain some kind of a branding presence on the end result (a logo, a link to their homepage, etc.), but it’s a small price to pay for a good-looking end result. Some of these sites allow for much more customization than others. Piktochart is definitely on the more customizable end of the spectrum.

Take for example, Sarah Visintini, System Administrator at the Social Media Lab at Dalhousie Unviersity in Halifax, Nova Scotia, who used Piktochart to it’s most creative effect. Here are two infographic presentations she created using a blank Piktochart template and all of the many elements available through this site:

social media in health

Social Media in Health Care: How social media can help you better connect to your patients and to your community.

Using and infographic to present is a visually engaging way to relay information that takes you outside of the normal PowerPoint / Prezi mold.

So when do you use prefab sites? Or do you always DIY?

Video Slidedeck Theme

Earlier this month I presented at the Brick & Click Academic Libraries Symposium on a student-led library video project I started at St. Mary’s. This post is not about that project. But it is about slidedecks and how, when given the opportunity to make things easy, I make things more difficult for myself. BECAUSE THAT’S THE KIND OF GAL I AM.

I wanted a fun video-related theme running through my presentation slides and decided to upcycle a poster I had originally created to publicize our library’s new Films on Demand subscription. I changed around some fonts (using Arvo and Sofia Pro Light), added some movie-related icons and other graphic elements through-out and BLAM-O, a new template was born. It was really more of a time-consuming why-did-I-decide-to-do-this creation rather than a spontaneous design, but I’m happy with the final project and hoping that by sharing it I can save some people some time.

I’ll end with a brief exchange I had with my husband about this slidedeck:

ME: Check out my presentation slides!!!!!
HIM: Cool. I didn’t know Powerpoint had that theme.
ME: It doesn’t. I made my own theme.
HIM: Of course you did. *head pat*

You can check out the embedded slidedeck through Slideshare, or email me, Veronica, for the original PP slides and Photoshop layout.

 

Designing a Presentation About Design

Yesterday April and I were fortunate enough to present at the Amigos Annual Member Conference. Their theme for this year was Ingenuity, Imagination, and Innovation: Using Creative Solutions in Today’s Library, which we thought was a great opportunity to share the creativity on display on Librarian Design Share.

Here are the slides from our presentation.

Look familiar? We tried to feature different designs you’ve shared with us as well as some of our own. I used Photoshop to create all of the slides (1024 px x 768 px), then inserted them as images into a Google Presentation that April and I worked on together. It was kind of a pain, but it was the only way to use the font selection from the Librarian Design Share logo in Google Presentations. Overall, I’m pretty happy with the results.

We had a great time presenting and learned a lot from the folks that came to hear us speak. Thanks, Amigos!

If you’d like to adapt or reuse any of the Photoshop slide files, send me an email.

A Presentation in Progress

I’m presenting at the 2013 Texas Library Association at the end of this month along with my colleague, Abe Korah . I’ve been excited about this presentation for months, but have only now started to work on our Powerpoint slides for the day of the event.

It’s been years (YEARS!!!) since I’ve created any kind of Powerpoint presentation. So much has been written about PP sins and presentation skills for librarians (if you don’t know Lee Hilyer’s blog and book, get to know ’em), which makes creating a bad slide deck and even greater offense than it once was.

My slides are super simple, and this presentation is still in draft format. I’ve tried to keep things consistent, relying mostly on a fun font and bold colors, and have only used images when they could make an impact. I’m open to all comments and suggestions.

A note about the presentation: Our session is taking on the format of a mock interview, where attendees learn how to develop the skills, experience, and critical thinking necessary to taking a more thoughtful, active approach to their job search and interviewing.

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