Overcoming PowerPoint

Pat Benatar was full of crap when she said “Love is a Battlefield”. What that song should have been called is “Corporate America is a Battlefield”. Being a creative in Corporate America is a struggle. It has its ups and downs. While there are so many perks, there are so many cubicle walls you see that you want to just hit your head up against in frustration. The ultimate symbol of my frustration that explodes from Corporate America is PowerPoint. Why such an ass-backwards application has infested windowless offices and gray cubicles the world over, I will never understand.clippy

The word PowerPoint is synonymous with other words that strike a sincere sense of danger in my brain. Similar to an alarm going off, or someone screaming “fire” or “Comic Sans“… it all scares the hell out of me. It is not even the idea that PowerPoint is so often associated with bad design. Even though it is, I am well aware that a good designer can use any tool to crank out a tasty piece of eye candy. It is the fact that i think it was put on this earth just to make people’s lives harder. And like watching a pack of lemurs go over a cliff, if you are pitching me on something no matter how awesome your presentation is, you have a hard time thinking outside the box.

I managed in college to dodge the PowerPoint curse. My coworkers don’t believe me.. it does seem near impossible to get a Virginia State College education without it. I always managed some JPEGs, a quicktime video on the web or a bag full of crazy antics to distract my professors from the fact that I refused to use the devil application. If my presentation wasn’t eye popping enough to make you think about what I was saying without the slides, I deserved the lower grade. I managed to pull it off.

But now I am in Corporate America with Bill Gates’ spawn looking me square in the eye. All of these well dressed lemurs begging, pushing me and prodding me over the edge. What is there really for me to do but fall gracefully off the edge while adjusting a few disheveled suite ties on my way down.

I look to David Byrne for inspiration. His ironic twist on the use of PowerPoint as an artistic medium, molding shapes and gradients originally in a satirical effort to poke fun. Holding his fist in the air shouting “we will overcome” refusing to let such an awkward application get him down. Laughing in the face of conformity.

While I respect Byrne’s enthusiasm I still think his work in PowerPoint is pretty freaking hideous. And thats what it really comes down to for me… design. While the application is a tool, it makes it less friendly to create good design; it takes a lot of work. PowerPoint directly contributes to bad design overwhelming the planet and boring presentations plaguing powerless audiences. Don’t rely on PowerPoint as your ordinary presentational crutch. Stand out, Stand up, and give a meaningful presentation. If what you have to say isn’t interesting enough for you to convey without PowerPoint’s catchy clipart and transitions, you may need to rethink what you have to say.

[techtags: PowerPoint, Design, Presentation Software, David Byrne, PowerPoint Art]