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Slide Notes

Haiku Deck is a free app for iPad and the Web that will completely transform the way you think about presentations.

You can learn more at http://haikudeck.com, download the free iPad app at http://bit.ly/ScJc5m, or request a new platform here: http://bit.ly/12SRHal.

This is a perfect introduction to Haiku Deck and the ideas that inspired it, but these tips will help you tell your story more effectively no matter what tool you're using.
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Visual Storytelling with Haiku Deck

Published on Nov 06, 2015

An introduction to Haiku Deck, our design philosophy, and techniques for effective visual storytelling -- created for the Poynter Institute, June 2014.


Visual Storytelling with Haiku Deck

A Digital Tools Tutorial
Haiku Deck is a free app for iPad and the Web that will completely transform the way you think about presentations.

You can learn more at http://haikudeck.com, download the free iPad app at http://bit.ly/ScJc5m, or request a new platform here: http://bit.ly/12SRHal.

This is a perfect introduction to Haiku Deck and the ideas that inspired it, but these tips will help you tell your story more effectively no matter what tool you're using.
Photo by Marie in NC

Welcome to the Webinar!

This event is from
Poynter's News University, journalism's e-learning leader.

Host: Vicki Krueger,
Director of Interactive Learning

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Follow along on Twitter: #nuwebinar

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  • Harnisch Foundation (Webinar equipment)
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Today's presenter:

Catherine Carr

VP Marketing &
Chief Inspiration Officer,
Haiku Deck

Here's Catherine's story in Haiku Deck form:

Feel free to connect with her on Twitter:

and LinkedIn:


  • Brief intro to Haiku Deck (our why) 
  • Presentation design principles
  • 5 visual storytelling strategies
  • Examples & how-to
A quick overview of what we'll cover today.
Photo by Claudio.Ar

Why We're Here

First, a little bit about what Haiku Deck is all about.

Presentations should be captivating

We believe that presentations should be captivating.

After all, what are presentations but stories?

They should capture our attention and speak to our emotions.

They should stir our imaginations.

They should make time stand still.
Photo by Joe Parks

Too often, they're not

Yet, too often, it's time standing still in the not-so-inspiring way.

We fall into the header-and-bullets formula.

We turn our slides into slideuments. We pack them with tiny text and read them out loud, word for word.

Does the world need more flying bullet points and lame clip art? We say no.

Does it need more beautiful stories and ideas? More simplicity, more fun?

That is why we're here.
Photo by fixedgear

Poll: What's your go-to tool?

  • PowerPoint
  • Keynote
  • Prezi
  • Other
  • I rarely make presentations
Quick poll: I'd love to know what your go-to tool is if you have a to make a presentation.

Why This Matters

We think this is important because presentations are increasingly ubiquitous in our business and education culture.


There's a presentation expert, Dave Paradi, who publishes a fascinating "Annoying PowerPoint Survey" every 2 years. (He is using PowerPoint interchangeably with presentation, as many people do.)

In the most recent one, he found that more than a quarter of the hundreds of people he surveyed see one or more PPT a day, and more than half said that more than half of those are "annoying."

Here's a link to the full recap of Dave Paradi's Annoying PowerPoint Survey:


  • Boring
  • Long
  • Much/many
  • Read/text
Here are the top words that the respondents associated with PowerPoint....
Photo by thisisbossi


  • Boring
  • Long
  • Much/many
  • Read/text
Photo by thisisbossi

Poll: Which is the most annoying?

  • Text too small to read
  • Overly complex diagrams
  • Reading slide text out loud 
  • No clear purpose
  • Unappealing design
Another quick poll: Which of these do you think topped the list for the most annoying thing about PowerPoints?


The common theme throughout the survey findings? Information overload.
Photo by Pulpolux !!!

Better Presentations = Better RESULTS

(and Better Stories)
Dave stresses that better presentations lead to better results, in the form of more sales, increased efficiency, and faster decision-making.

And, for you, I'd stress that better presentations, grounded in the principles we're going to cover today, also equal better stories -- more powerful, memorable, and shareable stories.

Design Principles

We have studied the advice of many presentation experts, and we have specifically designed Haiku Deck to make it easy to follow their recommendations.

Here are few tips that are especially good to keep in mind, no matter what presentation tool you're using.



Keep it Simple

We believe that constraints lead to creativity (the haiku, which inspired our name, illustrates this perfectly).

Many presentation tools operate under the assumption that more is better--more options, more choices, more gimmicks.

In our view, less is more.
Photo by Alicia Lynn

Build around one big idea

Craft your presentation -- or your story -- around one big, memorable idea.

In this deck, our big idea is that although many of us are used to creating our presentations in a certain way, it's not too hard to transform the process.

It's also worth it.

One idea at a time

We deliberately limit the amount of text you can put on a slide to encourage this.

After all, one idea per slide is really all your audience can absorb.

"But," you say, "that will mean I'll have too many slides."

Trust us--it's not the number of slides that matters; it's how clearly those slides communicate your message.
Photo by garryknight


Not too many words

Some experts have rules about how many words to include on a slide. The general consensus is the fewer, the better.

I like to think of words like oysters. About a half-dozen is perfect. Too many more than that is probably overdoing it.

Remember, the point of your slides is not to duplicate exactly what you're going to say. It's to reinforce, illustrate, and deepen your message.
Photo by cizauskas

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Here's a fairly typical presentation slide I clipped from Slideshare.

It's great content, don't get me wrong, but when this is the 2nd slide you see, it might be tough to get past. Or at minimum you'd probably want to skip over it pretty quickly. Is there a different way to communicate this?

How To

Slide types; charts and graphs
Photo by Mélisande*

Selecting a slide layout

Adding a chart or graph


Image isn't everything, but let's face it--it matters. Even the most compelling story can fall flat if it unfolds in an unappealing presentation filled with 8-point text.

We believe that beautiful, image-rich slides should be easy for anyone to create.
Photo by Egg Dance

Pictures tell stories

Pictures, above all, grab our attention and connect with our emotions, making ideas vivid and memorable.

The key is to use your images for true storytelling power, not just as embellishment.
Photo by Great Beyond

Clean, consistent formatting

Did you notice how in this deck, each tip appears in the same place on the slide? And how I used solid-color slides to introduce sections?

Think about how your formatting can create a sense of hierarchy and rhythm to aid comprehension.

{And don't forget to keep it simple.}
Photo by geishaboy500

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How To

Image search; solid backgrounds; layouts
Photo by Mélisande*

Creative Commons image search

Selecting a solid color background

Selecting a layout

3. FUN

"Fun" is not a word that most of us associate with either creating or listening to presentations. But we don't see why these things shouldn't be fun!

More about our story and our philosophy here:
Photo by lasmit42

Focus on the story

Keep your focus on what really matters: your story.

When you're working on a presentation, it's easy to get caught up in time-consuming things like building animations, text formatting, and fancy transitions. But these aren't the things that make your message memorable--it's the story.

Give yourself time to explore and create.

Sometimes a little metaphorical thinking can help you discover your big idea, and everything just flows from there.

We have tried to make Haiku Deck incredibly simple to use so you can concentrate on your message. And we often find that the very process of exploring pictures and words with Haiku Deck's built-in image search unlocks ideas and opens up new creative possibilities.
Photo by courosa

Be yourself

When it comes to presentation design, we often favor consistency over individual style. We grab the corporate template, or we stick with a set combination of fonts, layouts, and colors.

I believe every story deserves to be told in its own unique way, and that injecting your own personality is going to make your communication more effective.

This approach will also help you establish a real connection with your audience.

{This is also a lot more fun for everybody.}
Photo by djwudi

How To

Themes; notes
Photo by Mélisande*

Untitled Slide

Adding notes

Poll: What's your presentation pain point?

  • They take too long to put together
  • Tools too complex or difficult to use
  • I don't like the way my slides look
  • None: I love making presentations
I'd love to hear about your pain points when you're creating presentations.

Visual Storytelling

Now that you have some grounding in our overall approach, let's cover some specific techniques for visual storytelling, which as you have already seen is central to Haiku Deck.
Photo by djwudi

1. Evocative imagery

The first type of visual storytelling we'll cover is the use of evocative imagery -- well-chosen images that evoke a powerful sensory or emotional response.
Photo by freebird4

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This opening slide to a Haiku Deck on (appropriately enough) visual storytelling, by Ken Shelton, is one of my favorite examples of evocative imagery.


(Creative Commons licensed photo by @Doug88888)

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Here are a couple more examples from "Positive User Experience," a presentation Michele Mizejewski gave at WordCamp SF last summer.


(Creative Commons licensed photo by Documentally)

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(Creative Commons licensed photo by markhillary)

2. Symbolic imagery

Another type of visual storytelling is the use of symbolic imagery -- like my "words like oysters" example I showed you earlier.

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One of my favorite examples of this is from a talk given by the CTO of Australia, who used an accordion to illustrate the idea of expanding and contracting government budgets and priorities, in an attention-grabbing way.


{Creative Commons licensed photo by (R)Prutser.}

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In this education manifesto, college instructor Tanya Sasser uses splattered paint to symbolize her point of view about how a classroom should operate.


(Creative Commons licensed photo by Aran Chandran.)

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She also uses this great photo of deep space to represent the idea that chaotic learning is powerful.

(Creative Commons licensed photo by zAmb0ni.)

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Another clever example from Reg Braithwaite's "I Have a Good Feeling About This", which we'll look at more in a bit:

How To

Creative image searching
Photo by Mélisande*

3. Contrasting imagery

Another powerful technique is to use evocative or symbolic imagery to express contrast. Contrast -- for example, comparing what is to what could be, or how your approach stands out from the norm -- is an effective storytelling technique that ties in beautifully to a visual approach.
Photo by kevin dooley

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In this set of slides, for a talk I gave on innovation, I used pairs of contrasting photos throughout to express visually how we break free from the confines of convention — for example, tiny, closed windows to illustrate a conventional attitude toward customer feedback...


(Creative Commons licensed photo by nic0)

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....contrasted with bright, open, colorful windows.

The point here is that I believe you can learn a lot from criticism, and that it can be an awesome source of innovation.

I like to keep our windows pretty wide open -- after all, every piece of criticism you get is an opportunity to learn and improve.

(Creative Commons licensed photo by tranchis)

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Similarly, to illuminate our unique approach to brand ambassadors, I contrasted a photograph of uniform, monochrome lights....

(Creative Commons photo by RobertFrancis)

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...with an artful image of one-of-a-kind lanterns.

(Creative Commons licensed image by benfff85)

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Michele Mizejewski, who I mentioned earlier, uses this technique as well in her talk, comparing the idealized, rainbow-hued vision of collaborative blogging....

(Creative Commons licensed photo by Pink Sherbet Photography)

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...to the reality, more like a muddy mess.

(Creative Commons licensed photo by Martin Cathrae)

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Here's an image I pulled recently for a company whose fundamental value proposition is around data transparency -- with pictures, you can really show the difference between opacity....
Photo by garryknight

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or distortion...

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and transparency, clarity.
Photo by kevin dooley

4. Thematic imagery

The most satisfying presentations have a powerful central idea, and visuals can be an ideal way to bring that unifying theme to life vividly.
Photo by vl8189

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For example, when we launched our Web App, the central idea was that we were bringing Haiku Deck to the cloud. In our Haiku Deck press release, I used images of clouds and water in various forms throughout to reinforce the message.


(Creative Commons licensed photo by 0+ Imaging)

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(Creative Commons licensed photo by Snap Man.)

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(Creative Commons licensed photo by QUOI Media)

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(Creative Commons licensed photo by TimothyJ)

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OK, back to "I Have a Good Feeling About This" by Reg Braithwaite. Reg is a very clever visual storyteller, and he uses stylized vintage photography as a unifying visual theme to recount the evolution of software.


(Creative Commons licensed photo by Ken Whytock)

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(Creative Commons licensed photo by Basilisk Sam)

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(Creative Commons licensed photo by distar97)

How To

Building an image collection
Photo by Mélisande*

5. Personal imagery

Incorporating personal photos can be a beautiful way to add meaning and depth to your story. You could include photos you have taken, photos of people you know that illustrate your points well, or even photos others have taken of objects or places that have personal significance to you.

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Back to Reg Braithwaite -- who references a favorite movie and hobby in the title and anchoring image for his epic software survey.

(Creative Commons licensed photo by kurafire.)

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This one, by Paula Ginto, is an artistic example of telling a story -- in this case, a personal manifesto about creativity -- through the story, and beautifully composed photographs, of her own tattoos.


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If you’re giving your presentation live, this is a great way to weave in personal anecdotes that can help you relax and connect with your audience more authentically. But even if you aren’t, incorporating these personal touches adds a layer of depth to your presentation that clip art and stock photography can never achieve.

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Here's a creative project by a pair of young Seattle artists, who used Haiku Deck instead of video as a low-cost way to drive support for their Kickstarter project. They took photos of women around Seattle holding hand-lettered signs.


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The cumulative impact is really powerful and evocative.

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In case you were wondering, they blew their Kickstarter goal out of the water.

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Here's a Haiku Deck portfolio of sorts, created from artfully composed Instagram photos.


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I love how they use such a strong visual motif and consistent composition -- I'm only showing a few slides, but it's very lovely.

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Talk about a great example of evocative imagery....

Poll: Which would you like to see more of?

  • Ken Shelton: Why Visuals Matter
  • John Sheridan: The Accordion Effect
  • Reg Brathwaite: I Have a Good Feeling About This
  • Paula Ginto: Ink
  • Other
I'll include links to all of these Haiku Decks in the follow-up materials, but I'd love to hear which of the decks I've showcased you'd like to see more of.

How To

Uploading images and sharing
Photo by Mélisande*

Uploading images

Uploading images

Sharing your story


  • Simple
  • Beautiful
  • Fun
And, whether you use Haiku Deck or not, I hope you'll remember the Haiku Deck way:

Keep it Simple
Make it Beautiful
Have Fun
Photo by harold.lloyd

Set Your Story Free

See more examples of visual storytelling and create your own: http://www.haikudeck.com

Thank you, Catherine!

We'll go to questions shortly.

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