How I got to design Guy Kawasaki`s “Enchantment” Presentation
A few weeks ago, I made a short video presentation about the day when Chris Brogan and Guy Kawasaki both re-tweeted my blog post “Presenting your portfolio on the iPad“. That was indeed a very cool day, and it was my first contact with Guy Kawasaki. Not only he re-tweeted those two posts, but he also sent me a direct message saying “Maybe someday you can design a presentation for me.” Then, a second message: “What’s your email address? I’ll send you a presentation that I consider well done.” Obviously, I got very excited about the possibility of working for someone like Guy Kawasaki, but at the same time I was careful not to keep my expectations too high. He did send me an email right away with his last presentation, we exchanged a few emails that day but it was just that. It all happened in the same day that my blog was having an unusual huge traffic of new visitors, I was also getting lots of new twitter followers and hundreds of re-tweets about my “iPadfolio” post. Everything was so exciting and so surreal… it was almost too good to be true.
Not even a month later, for my surprise, Guy actually got in touch to ask if I could design the “Enchantment” presentation. I have to admit that I did hope he would hire my services in the future, but I definitely did not expect it would happen so soon. I was ecstatic! It was a rush job, it had to be completed in three days, and I had to start by reading his new book – “Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions” … from there, it only got better and better.
Many exciting things happened during those few days of intense work, I could probably write an entire book about this one design experience! Long story short, I’ll just list what I loved the most and what I didn’t love that much about this amazing project:
Things I loved about designing “Enchantment”:
1) The client!
-Yes, of course, I was designing a presentation for Guy Kawasaki, and I’ve been a big fan of his for a while, but I also want to mention that he was one of the best clients I’ve had. There is nothing better than a client that is responsive. Guy’s feedbacks were quick, and my emails were always answered right away. He also knows exactly what he wants – if he doesn’t like something he is very honest about it, and at the same time he contributes with new ideas.
2) I got to read an amazing book that is not even out yet!
-I read “Enchantment” in two days. One hundred pages in the first day and the remaining one hundred the next day. I have to say, I wasn’t even thinking about the project anymore… I just couldn’t put the book down. It is inspiring, fun to read, and Guy’s words are truly enchanting in this book.
3) Guy Kawasaki has his own fonts!
-As I said, it only got better and better. The initial directions were to use only standard fonts since the file will be projected from many different machines running a variety of systems and Powerpoint versions. After I sent Guy the first draft, he got back to me with two fonts that were custom made for him by Duarte Designs! :) I have to say, there is no better way to personalize a deck of slides than having your own fonts! After all, I am sure Guy can ask people to install his fonts if they want him to speak in their events, right!? ;)
4) This project required the best designing skills one can have!
-This was the first presentation design that required me to spend more hours working in Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop than in Powerpoint itself. The smallest details were crucial, the graphics had to be original, images sometimes had to be enhanced and/or corrected, and I had to learn and improve my skills as a designer along the way.
5) Trust and open-mindness!
-Although we’ve never met in person, Guy always trusted me from the very beginning. He believed in my skills and never questioned my work ethics. Guy never asked me to sign a contract or a non-disclosure agreement. He never even mentioned anything about it. In fact, he encouraged me to write up this blog post about how we met on Twitter and tell the whole story about working with him on this project. He also said I could even share the entire presentation if I wanted. That just shows me how truthful he is to the message of his book and how confident he is as a public speaker, and I admire him even more for that.
-I don’t understand why some designers got mad at Guy when he decided to launch a book cover design contest on CrowdSpring for the Enchantment book. I loved that he did it that way and I submitted my own design too. It’s the only way that the unknown designers will have a chance to do something so cool and for someone like Guy Kawasaki… My guess is that the “big” designers were so upset because they are actually afraid of the “nobodies”, but eventually they will realized it was silly to get mad. You have to be open-minded to create and participate in a design contest. With that same open-mindness, Guy gave me the chance of working on his presentation.
Note: In case you didn’t notice, the winner design of the book cover contest was the inspiration for the opening and closing slides of the presentation. My design did not win, but I had fun making it and participating in the contest (you can see the design I submitted in my Illustrator samples page).
‘No likey’ things about designing “Enchantment”:
-Using Powerpoint was a requirement due to the fact that Guy usually gives his speech on a thumbdrive to an AV person running Windows at conferences. I have to admit that there are a few things (very few!) that I like better in Powerpoint than in Keynote, but for the most part I really dislike this software. Since this is a big part of my work, I obviously had to learn how to live in peace with this failing tool, but sometimes Powerpoint really gets on my nerves. It just doesn’t know how to handle media! One high resolution image is already enough to slow down the loading time of the presentation. Imagine when you work with a deck of 50 slides that carries several high quality images and vector graphics! I was in the verge of a nervous breakdown, the presentation was literally taking minutes to load every time I simply changed the slides viewer mode! Add to that the fact that things did not look quite right in a couple of complex slides when Guy opened the file in his computer. That’s something that never – and I mean n.e.v.e.r. – happens with Keynote. Whatever the slide layout you have in your computer, it will be the same thing your client will see when he opens the file in his own computer, right!? That’s just a basic working feature and it shouldn’t be such an impossible science for Microsoft to figure out. Anyway… I don’t even want to get started on this topic here.
2) The pressure!
-Guy Kawasaki! Do I need to say anything else? Oh yeah… in fact I would have to add that he told Nancy Duarte that I was designing his new preso and she was very interested in the outcome. The good news is that he did send Nancy the final version and she told him that she really liked it! :) Duarte Designs made Guy’s last presentation and that’s one of the things I had to use as a starting point. My design had to be at least as good as the one from Duarte, which was really awesome!
-This presentation will be delivered many times and in many countries in the future. Thousands of people will see and criticize the design, and this is definitely an extra pressure, even though it is also a great motivation.
3) Working 17 hours on a Sunday!
-By the time I finished reading the book it was Saturday night. That’s when I built the skeleton of the presentation. That’s also when I saw myself exchanging emails with Guy Kawasaki at 1:15am and thought “Hm, maybe I should go to bed now!”. The next – or should I say same – day, Sunday, I woke up at 6:30am and worked non-stop until 11:30pm. I promised I would deliver the first draft on Sunday night (and I did!), the final version had to be delivered on Monday night.
4) Never getting to meet Guy Kawasaki in person!
-We did everything remotely, from meeting each other via Twitter to exchanging files via MobileMe and Dropbox. That’s actually how I like to work, but I still hope to meet Guy in person someday… and also work with him again in the future.
Anyway, I guess these are the main points I wanted to talk about in this blog post. It’s hard to tell the whole story in details here, but I hope this post is good enough to illustrate the best experience I’ve ever had as a Presentation Designer. It was very intense and overwhelming… but my effort was well worth it and I am sure there is still much more rewarding opportunities to come from this.
Guy Kawasaki delivered this presentation for the first time at Cisco Systems last week. I believe this will be the same deck of slides he will also use at the SXSW 2011 Festival and many other speaking events around the world. I am sharing only a few slides on my online portfolio, consider it a teaser! By the way, Guy also asked me to design some “Enchantment” wallpapers for him to give away, you can see some of them in my Illustrator samples page.
- Edward Tufte Notes
- Stretch your neck [infographic]
- Extreme Photo Cropping
- PowerPoint for Mac 2011 Export to PDF: Missing First Slide?
- Making my Visual Resume
- Sketching at Work – A Guide to Visual Problem Solving and Communication
- Keynote Basics: Setting Up Presenter Notes
- Leave room for improvisation
- The Art of Coloring and Slide Design
- 2011 Presentation Calendar Design
- Enchantment nominated for “Dramastic” Presentations of the Decade
- Make people and objects stand out on your slides
- Photoshop Retouching
- Infographic: Keynote vs. PowerPoint
- Using Instant Alpha in Keynote
- Using custom fonts on Keynote for iPad (and Slideshare)
- How I got to design Guy Kawasaki`s “Enchantment” Presentation
- Evolution of my new logo
- Presenting to “Aliens”