I made the following graphics by grouping together and altering the format of simple shapes in Microsoft PowerPoint (and I have no special graphic design talent):
Tips for Making Your Own PowerPoint Graphics
- Find inspiration from actual photos and see how you could break the images down into basic shapes. The stapler above is comprised entirely of manipulated circles, rectangles and triangles.
- Once you have a part of your graphic the way you like it, be sure to Group the pieces together. For more complex graphics it's very easy to "lose" little elements (for example those little circles on the stapler) if you don't group them to larger elements as you go.
- Don't try too hard to make your graphics super realistic. You might find you are being harder on yourself than your viewers will be. Take the people above. I slaved for hours on the mouths trying to make them look more human-like and just couldn't quite get them the way I wanted before I gave up and drastically simplified them. In the end, the viewers knew these were not actual photos of people and were not expecting them to look that way, the mere suggestion of a mouth was more than enough for the graphic to be successful.
- Don't sweat the small stuff. And by "small" I mean "difficult and time consuming to make yourself, and probably available on a stock photo site somewhere." I didn't make the headset or the phone with the man graphic above. Instead, I used stock images and incorporated them into the illustration.
- Set aside a good chunk of time to create your graphics. You might find that the process is actually quite fun (unless you're in a serious time crunch). That stapler took me a couple hours to create.
- Once you have created something, make sure all of the elements are grouped together. Then right-click the group and choose Save as Picture. This enables the image to be used outside of PowerPoint, and saves time if you want to use the same image in another PowerPoint presentation.
- If you are using the image outside of PowerPoint, don't just save the image itself; save the entire PowerPoint presentation. This way if you find that you want to change certain elements of the graphic (like, for example, making the shirt of the man above red instead of green), you will have the image and all of its grouped elements available in an easily manipulated form.
Click here for Part I of the Graphics Series, Dynamic or Static Images?
Click here for Part II of the Graphic Series, Using Static Images to Improve Learning.
Click here for Part III of the Graphics Series, Recommended Free Image Sites.
Click here for Part IV of the Graphics Series, Easy Image Manipulation.
About the author: AJ George is IconLogic's lead Technical Writer and author of both "PowerPoint 2007: The Essentials" and "PowerPoint 2008 for the Macintosh: The Essentials." You can follow AJ on Twitter at http://twitter.com/andrayajgeorge.