So you’re not a graphic designer? Don’t worry, neither am I! Honestly, you don’t have to be in order to create and incorporate basic graphic elements into your marketing activities. Working for a very busy non-profit, I have to wear many hats in my role – one of which is graphic design. Since these activities can sometimes be infrequent, it’s hard to justify the cost of graphic design software. And as I am sure you can relate, it seems impossible that I could have any extra time to learn how to use the software. Instead, I have become very resourceful!
My favourite tool has saved me time and money, and there is a good chance you have even used it before – PowerPoint! Yes, Microsoft’s PowerPoint has enabled me to create numerous advertisements, brochures, Christmas cards, business cards and even a roll-up banner. That’s just for Bioenterprise and our clients! In my spare time, I have used PowerPoint to create the graphic elements of countless gifts, signs and favours for my wedding, and floor plan mock-ups for my home renovations.
Here are some features that help me get the most out of PowerPoint.
You can format and edit images in several ways, from removing the background of an image, cropping out what you don’t need, to brightening or sharpening the image, and other great effects.
The feature I circled is one of my favourites because the shadow it adds makes images look like they’re floating.
Your work can maintain a high-resolution when you save it as a PDF (assuming the images within your work are high-resolution and match the scale). You can save the entire slide as a PDF or you can select the specific elements and save those only. You can save your work in other image formats, but the format should be chosen based on where your work will be used (ex. prints vs. online).
If you have some basic marketing materials, hopefully, your marketing firm provided you with a branding guide. You can closely render your brand colours for both text and objects. When you select the “More Colours” option and the ‘slider’ image, you can add your brand’s colours in CMYK, RGB or HSB. Once you have made the colour formula, you can then save the sample in the empty boxes and your brand colours will be easily accessed for new projects.
When I am creating just about anything, there is usually a lot going on. One of the “Arrange” features allows you to reorder the objects you are working with as it converts into a visual stack of objects. By bringing the item forward, it allows you to tweak specific items without moving something you have already placed perfectly!
Now you may already be familiar with some of these Office features, especially if you’re a Microsoft Publisher fan, but one thing I like about PowerPoint is the ability to set a custom size for your work. I often have to remake the same advertisement, but to different specs over and over again. Publisher will only let you chose between formal paper sizes. In PowerPoint, you can modify the size from as small as 1”x1” up to 55” x 55”. With that kind of range, you really have the opportunity to make a lot of different kinds of projects.
If you have never thought to make anything on your own, consider starting with something small. Recently, I had the pleasure of working with one of our clients to help improve their digital newsletter. With a lot of important information to convey every quarter, it was essential to ensure the visual elements supported their content. I created these headers simply by:
So far, I have found no limit to what I can create in PowerPoint. Don’t get me wrong, I still have to outsource the big projects – but the amount of money I have saved, just being able to do my own design projects every year, is easily in the tens of thousands!