Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Presentation Summit —WOW—Part II

Because the Presentation Summit was so spectacular, I needed another blog just to highlight a few more amazing resources.

One of the things I liked best about the conference was how most attendees agreed with me!

Okay ... that sounds like I'm patting myself on the back a little too hard, but let me explain. There was a consensus among the speaker and the attendees that great visuals matter in presentations. Rick Altman and all the keynotes expounded it. There were many workshop speakers like Connie Malamed, who wrote Visual Language for Designers: Principles for Creating Graphics that People Understand and who has a blog devoted to understanding graphics. She applies cognitive science to explain how best to use visual design. In her presentation, she spoke about "primitive features"–those features like color, size orientation, movement, shape and depth—that the brain notices first. You can use these "primitive features" to emphasize key concepts and benefits. Knowing how the brain processes visuals is a great way to learn how to create visuals that will positively affect your audience and make your presentation a success.

Wayne Michael, Director of Education and Marketing Operations for Novogaradac & Company LLC, gave an informed workshop on keeping presentations simple by using less text and using simple graphics to depict complex technical concepts. Carmen Taran, co-founder of Rexi Media, gave an eye popping presentation with interesting visuals about how to create webinars that hold your audience's attention. One of the easiest ways is to interact and ask questions of your audience, give them mints to keep them from yawning, and another way—keep your audience's attention with a mix of visuals from a video to a website and then to a graphic. You will keep your audience guessing and wondering what you will be doing next. Check out Rexi Media for workshops and just peruse their slide redesigns to get some fantastic ideas. Dave Paradi, author of The Visual Slide Revolution and 102 Tips to Communicate More Effectively Using PowerPoint, gave a great workshop on giving your presentation impact when it's not delivered in person. If you have to email your presentation to a potential client, it can lose the essence of your message. However, through designing the presentation with hyperlinks, you can make it easier for the viewer to navigate and allow content like multimedia files to be displayed. Or better yet, create a movie of your slide and post it to a website or send as a video slide. Dave recommended a free software called Audacity to edit your audio. Also, PowerPoint 2010 has a wonderful new feature: you can export slides directly to video. Amazing! You can learn more about Dave's presentation knowledge and ideas at his website, Think Outside the Slide.

As you can see, I just touched the tip of iceberg that was the Presentation Summit. Below is an overview of some websites with great resources and product offerings that I found at the Presentation Summit. Check them out and bookmark them, and then you'll be well on your way to being a presentation and graphics expert!
  • Presentation Summit: Official website of the conference and information on Rick Altman's consulting services and book.
  • Rexi Media: Carman Taran's company that offers workshops, products, and consulting on creating better presentations.
  • Dave Paradi's PowerPoint Blog: Ideas on creating better PowerPoint presentations and tips on using various PowerPoint features.
  • Understanding Graphics: Connie Malamed's blog on understanding visual communication through knowledge of the human mind.
  • Nigel Holmes: Learn from the best in explanation graphics. Wonderful examples from an amazing graphic artist.
  • Nancy Duarte: Extraordinary insight and tips on what makes better presentations.
  • Terberg Design: Julie Terberg is a Microsoft MVP and knows the package inside and out.
  • Workforce Echoes: Consulting firm specializing in "People Ecosystems."
  • Missing Link: South African design company that is pushing the "slide" with innovative design and doing a fantastic job.
Here are some other great resources and innovative products:
  • Indezine: Geetesh Bjaj is a Microsoft MVP who created a website built around his wealth of knowledge that is now the go-to-source of all things related to PowerPoint presentations—including graphics.
  • NXPowerLite: Software that radically reduces the file size of Microsoft PowerPoint presentations with no discernible loss of quality.
  • Slide Executive: Helps you to organize your slides and search and retrieve information from your library of slides to create new presentations, saving you time.
  • Slidetown: Solutions for your presentations.
  • SOAP: State of the Art Presentations works with Carmen Taran on her truly memorable visuals.
  • VisualBee: A PowerPoint plugin that automatically designs presentations based on your text and brand. Great resource for a small business!
  • Smart Draw: Start with one of their 70 graphic templates and you are on your way to creating graphics from scratch using their simple commands to add shapes to build your visuals.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Presentation Summit —WOW—Part I

From October 17-20, we attended the Presentation Summit at beautiful Mission Beach in San Deigo, though we didn't get to see too much of area because Rick Altman and his team running the conference kept us very busy with amazing speakers and networking events and an array of learning opportunities.

I was blown away by the lineup of experts speaking at the conference and how these experts touted again and again the importance of visual communication. Nigel Holmes kicked off the keynotes with a presentation on the art of visual communication. His unique take on how to visually communicate has changed the way graphic designers create information graphics (e.g., replace bars in a graph with toothpaste when comparing about the amount of toothpaste by various demographics—that's a Nigel Holmes' graphic!). Check out his website to get inspiration and learn more about his way of visual thinking, which can hopefully change the way you view graphics. One of my takeaways from his session is to eliminate the unnecessary so the necessary can speak. Brilliant!

The conference continued to provide expert after expert teaching us PowerPoint tips, presentation advice, and making better PowerPoint presentations through better graphics. I highly recommend checking out Julie Terberg. She is a Microsoft MVP and gave an informative workshop on designing presentations for large corporations. Some of her advice included
  • Design your presentation's background color to your speaking environment. For example, a big, bright room will compete with a white background on your slides and make it harder to see.
  • Set defaults in your PowerPoint file for lines and shapes. For example, draw a line and determine the width, color, and style. Right click on the line and set as "default." Whenever you draw a line in that PowerPoint file, it will now use your preset line style to save you time in formatting and keep your lines consistent.
  • Include your longer bullets or speaking points in the notes and not on the slide.
  • "Control drag" to place 8 horizontal and 8 vertical guides to ensure your information is aligned from slide to slide.
Nancy Duarte, author of Slide:ology and Resonate, gave a keynote on connecting with your audience to inspire support for your vision. She analyzed popular speeches and stories and found patterns in the most remembered expositions that can be translated to effective presentations. In keeping with the story theme, she viewed a presenter as a mentor and the audience as the hero. Just like in the great novels, you expect the hero to change and grow throughout the plot. That is the same when giving a presentation or exposing your audience to your ideas/concepts. Before you design your presentation, you need to understand who the audience is in the beginning and who you want them to be by the end of your presentation. How do you want to change the way they think, view your product/service, understand the world around them through the information you are presenting to them. It is a powerful concept and she goes into further detail in her latest book, Resonate. I'm adding that book to my Christmas list!

I had hope to write everything about the conference in one blog. However, I'm going to split this blog topic into a few more entries ... I've gotten a little excited about this topic and there was just so much to learn and see! I want to write more about people we met and the helpful products we encountered (like Neuxpower, file optimization software that allows you to compress files without losing quality—revolutionary for anyone who deals with huge files!). I will also be posting interviews in the coming year with several of the experts we had met at the conference.

Check back often. Part II to come shortly ...

Friday, October 29, 2010

Expert Interview by an Expert Interviewer

Recently, I was interviewed by Michael Searles of Michael Searles Media for his blog series, Interviews with Experts. I was honored that he considered doing an interview with me and excited that he wanted me to impart my knowledge of visual communication with his audience. You can listen to the full interview (and also get a peak at the first chapter of Billion Dollar Business Graphics) at his blog by clicking here.

I also recommend bookmarking his site and checking back often. If you are in sales or marketing or an entrepreneur looking to improve your business in various ways, Michael Searles has an expert interview to help guide you on the right path with some brilliant ideas and insight. Past interviews and blogs include social media tips, building successful email lists (including an interesting blog about Martin Lewis who has 5,000,000 people on his mailing list), writing techniques, and motivational stories—to name a few.

Thank you, Michael, for compiling a great site for so much helpful information for anyone who wants to improve their life and business. And thank you, again, for an amazing interview.

Now check it out!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

How to Make Your Benefits and Discriminators Standout

Potential clients have fractured attention spans. Your target audience wants to quickly understand your solution and know why they should use your product or buy into your solution. Your goal is to make it as easy as possible for your audience to choose you and your company. (I’m sure you can see the advantages of making your audience happy, right?)

An easy, effective trick to highlight your benefits and discriminators AND advertise your service/product as the best, smartest, and easiest choice is to use icons and symbols.

Icons and symbols break up the monotony of page after page of text in a proposal, quickly highlights your features in a PowerPoint presentation, and can make your benefits standout in marketing pieces.

An icon is defined as a representational graphic element that is visually analogous with an action, concept, or entity. A symbol is a representational graphic element that has a learned meaning or accepted connotation for an action, concept, or entity.
You can use any image to represent any action, concept, or entity as long as it is logically relevant. Use your insight into your target audience to establish relevancy. (Stylistically, you can make your icons and symbols as high-end or simple as needed for your audience.)

With this in mind, be sure to choose imagery that is logically relevant to “benefits” and “discriminators” while being congruent with your company, your client, or the subject matter. (For example, use a lock for IT security and a safe for financial security. Whatever you choose, make sure your icons and symbols remain consistent throughout your proposal, presentation, and marketing materials [i.e., website, brochures, advertisements].)

I highly recommend labeling your icons and symbols directly to avoid confusion (as shown in the symbols to the left). Labeling ensures clarity and clarity helps ensure success.

If you are page constrained for a proposal or slide limited for a presentation, another approach is to eliminate labeling and simply use legends early in your proposal or presentation—in context—to communicate whether your content is a benefit or discriminator. The following is an example of a discriminator symbol used without a legend.

In the end, it is your decision whether or not to use labels or legends; however, apply your understanding of your future client to determine the right approach. Your goal is to make it as easy as possible for your target audience to choose you.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Graphic Cheat Sheet (and How to Use It)

Check out our new graphic cheat sheet:

Okay, so it's a little hard to make out all the details on the blog, but you can download a free pdf copy at http://www.billiondollargraphics.com/BizGraphicsOnDemand.html. Just scroll down to the end of the page and click on the image of the graphic cheat sheet and the pdf will download to your desktop. We'll also be giving out printed copies during our session at The Presentation Summit in October, so stop by our booth to say "hi!"

The graphic cheat sheet offers you suggestions for graphic types that best convey various concepts in simple, complex, and quantitative ways. For example, if you want to show Synergy, scroll down the far left column to the row labeled Synergy. Under the Simple column (for information not too intricate), you will see suggestions like a building block graphic, chain graphic, or pyramid graphic. For more robust concepts of Synergy, you can look under the Complex column and find suggestions like a funnel graphic, vee diagram, collage, or a stacked graphic. For numeric concepts of Synergy, look under the Quantitative column to find a pie chart and dashboard graphic.

Whenever you're stuck with how to visually communicate your ideas, break out this cheat sheet!

I created the sheet to give you new ideas for graphics and force you to consider different ways to show your information. Maybe for Hierarchy, you always used a pyramid graphic. However, in reviewing the sheet, you notice that a stair graphic or a temple graphic might work better and offer another way to visually communicate your information and keep your presentations and marketing materials fresh.

Hope this sheet helps you find better and more creative ways to communicate your ideas. As always, you can email me at info@BillionDollarGraphics.com with any suggestions for articles or other helpful resources or graphic questions.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

10 Rules of Presentation Graphics

If you're reading this blog, hopefully that means you are a believer in the power of visuals. And I'm not talking about adding pretty pictures because you want to keep your audience awake. Graphics need to be polished and professional in appearance and need to follow certain rules to be effective—and keep your audience's attention.

Below are ten rules to ensure that you design a winning presentation.

1. Use graphics to highlight your features, benefits, and discriminators (that may otherwise be lost in a sea of words). Remember to answer your audience’s questions. Use your graphic to highlight the most salient, audience-focused points. Make it obvious why the information communicated is important and valuable to them. Point out features, benefits, and discriminators when applicable.


2. Make all graphics customer focused. For example, which slide would be more communicative to the United States Army (A or B)?


Slide A focuses on the target audience and uses terms and imagery that they can understand and relate to. It addresses issues the Army cares about. The likelihood that the slide will clearly communicate the intended messages significantly increases. Slide B is focused on the presenter and what they want to say about themselves without regard to their audience. The presenter of slide B failed to learn more about the target audience (and the slide reflects that fact). They present slide B as if they were presenting to another business within their industry instead of catering to the potential client.

3. Keep it clean and simple. Unnecessary visual clutter and too much data interfere with audience understanding. Focus on the most important questions your audience has. You cannot achieve the primary objective if your target audience cannot quickly digest your visual or is confused by the graphic. If your graphic is too verbose or complex, suggest using another standalone graphic to communicate what could not be included in one visual. Avoid using too many different images, lines, shapes, patterns, textures, and colors. Doing so helps eliminate unnecessary visual noise that interferes with your graphic’s primary objective. The following are examples of unnecessarily cluttered visuals.


4. Adhere to the “rules of engagement” to ensure compliance and maximum consideration, if your presentation responds to an formal RFP (Request for Proposal). Presentations have been thrown out because of noncompliance. It would be a waste of money, time, and energy to lose because your team failed to follow the formatting requirements.

5. Use a template
with graphic and text style guides, palette, and sample imagery. The more detail, the better. Templates help guarantee consistency and consistency breeds trust. Choose colors and imagery that reflect your client. If you want to be safe, choose analogous (colors that appear next to one another on the color wheel).


6. Label elements directly to avoid confusion. When depicting steps in a process, label them as such. The clearer your labels the more effective your clarification and/or explanation. As a result your graphic is more likely to be successful. Avoid legends. Legends add visual clutter and force the audience to waste valuable time deciphering your message. Plus, your audience will not have time to properly read the legend if the graphic appears on a slide.

7. Use recognizable images or quickly identify and explain any unknown imagery. If an image of a new concept, entity, or action is introduced that is not recognized, understood, or quickly defined, the intended messages will be clouded or lost. If a new element is introduced, define it. Share its relevance with your audience.

8. All visual elements should have a specific role in the explanation and a reason for being chosen and incorporated. This rule includes, but is not limited to, images, icons, symbols, shapes, colors, fonts, line weight, placement, and size. All aesthetic decisions should have a reason for being used that contributes to your graphic’s primary objective.

9. Avoid clip art. Canned, unprofessional art tells the audience that they were not important enough to take the time to develop a professional presentation. Support your claim that you offer the best solution with professionally rendered, clear, communicative, compelling graphics. Be sure to verify that your design resource is a professionally trained designer and experienced in the software required to complete the task. A professional graphic designer understands how to engage an audience, communicate a concept, and generate a positive emotional state through the use of appealing aesthetics.


10. Properly plan. Staff and schedule to allow an average of one to four hours per graphic—depending upon image complexity (includes edits); one graphic per slide (best case scenario); and one page per minute for full color printing (accounts for printing challenges such as power failures, breakdowns, etc.).


Apply these 10 rules the next time you are designing your presentation. They can also apply to any materials where you use graphics to communicate your concepts to reach your audience and keep their attention.

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Want to learn more rules and helpful lessons for better presentations? Why not attend The Presentation Summit? You'll be treated workshops that cover presentation design, PowerPoint tips, and many other workshops to improve the way you do presentations. Plus, it's in beautiful San Diego ... need I say more?

Monday, June 28, 2010

Visual Metaphors

I blogged about visual metaphors in an earlier post, "Think Outside the Pie Chart," but I believe there is more to be said about the power of visual metaphors. Most importantly, how you can find the right visual metaphor for your solution, process, idea, tool, or whatever information you're attempting to impart on your audience.

Visual metaphors, similes, and analogies can help communicate information that may otherwise be more confusing or time consuming to present as is. As I've touted before, visuals are digested far faster than text alone and are more memorable. Distilling a complex solution into a simple, yet effective, graphic is one way to successfully communicate an important concept to your audience—and reach your goals.

Often the key to what metaphor to use can be found in how you describe your solution to others. You'd be surprised how often metaphors, similes, and analogies pop up in our daily conversations and how they work their way into our solution descriptions. Below are are a few descriptions of solutions and the visual metaphor used to illuminate each concept. Can you tell what visual metaphor will work best for each solution just from the description?

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Solution: Our system gathers large volumes of information and automatically funnels out irrelevant data. All relevant data is funneled into an intuitive graphic user interface so the end user can easily review relevant actionable information.

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Solution: We have a four-step approach (analyze, plan, test, and deploy) to transitioning the old system to the new system. Our approach will safely bridge the gap between the old and new systems and overcome the risky waters of transition.

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Solution: Each piece of our five-part training program fits together to form a winning team.
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Solution: Our database storage system outweighs the competition in capacity, speed, and dependability.
_______________________

Solution: From the ground up, we are transitioning our branch offices to be more green.


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Now try this exercise with your own ideas and concepts. Look for clues in your descriptions that can point you toward the correct visual metaphor that will help you successfully reach your audience.

You can also browse sites like BizGraphics On Demand to get more ideas when trying to visually communicate your complex ideas. Type in keyword and phrases from your descriptions into the search function and see what pops up.

Good luck!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Is PowerPoint the Enemy?

Recently, The New York Times ran an article entitled, “We Have Met the Enemy and He Is PowerPoint” by Elisabeth Bumiller. The article focused on how PowerPoint is now the military standard in briefings much to the chagrin of many who see creating PowerPoint presentations as a time waster—and the enemy to actual "discussion, critical thinking, and thoughtful decision-making." Some junior officers spend the majority of their time creating PowerPoint slides for briefings that storyboard "just about anything that happens," according to Lt. Sam Nuxull, an Army platoon leader in Iraq.

Of course, this contentious article might never have been written if not for the following slide that received much attention:


Part of a presentation to Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal and other officials, this graphic depicts the complexity of the American military strategy in Afghanistan. However, if the author of the slide intended to show how the strategy is convoluted and confusing, he succeeded, because no one in the room could follow it. After viewing this PowerPoint slide, the general commented, "When we understand that slide, we’ll have won the war."

Graphics like this one and many other convoluted presentations give PowerPoint a bad rep. But PowerPoint is not the enemy. People not being properly trained in how to create graphics and good presentations are the enemy to ... well ... PowerPoint and audiences everywhere that are held captive by these confusing and boring briefings. People assume that merely knowing how to use graphic software will automatically make their ideas and concepts understandable. They forget that PowerPoint is just one of many tools that they need to master to properly communicate their message and successfully reach their goals and reach their audience's limited attention spans.

The presenter spent a lot of time preparing the Afghanistan Stability/COIN Dynamics slide. Unfortunately, they didn't use the proper techniques to disseminate their information and clearly conceptualize the final product. What is the primary objective? Is it a process flow? If so, where is the beginning or the end? How does each element relate the other? Is there a hierarchy? If the author "chunked" the information—pulled out and arranged information in sections—then maybe the audience could have followed the slide. (Check out our latest E-Zine for ways to "chunk" information, so your graphics doesn't become the next example of "what not to do.")

However, there is one situation in which a graphic like this one could work. If it is shown as the current situation/process/tool with the following slide depicting a clean, easy-to-follow version of the new solution—one that your company or team is proposing. That setup would be a brilliant way to win your audience's attention and their gratitude for offering a better solution.

Now if only we can figure out the above slide and help the general win the war ...

Friday, March 19, 2010

2010 Presentation Summit

Anyone who does presentations for a living or who is just entering the presentation field or who is crazy about PowerPoint should check out The 2010 Presentation Summit.

Rick Altman, author of Why Most PowerPoint Presentations Suck & How You Can Make Them Even Better, and his team began this conference (formerly PowerPoint Live) in 2003. The original conference centered on the software with various tracks on using PowerPoint, designing slides, and a general knowledge track. The conference has grown each year, and their focus has grown to showing audiences how to design presentations that communicate their messages in engaging ways.

We thought this conference was right up our graphic alley. The main reason we created our Billion Dollar Graphics book and products was to educate business professionals on how to successfully show their ideas. We believe in the importance of visual communication, and so do the folks as Presentation Summit. And that is why we were so excited when Rick Altman gave us the green light to present:

Picture This! Are you overwhelmed by bullet slides? Play Presentation Pictionary and turn your ideas into powerful visuals.

Of course, there are many great presentations that are being offered. Not to mention excellent keynote speakers and Microsoft technicians on hand to answer your PowerPoint questions.

The Presentation Summit is being held in San Diego from October 17–20. Register now to save $100 off of the regular price of $995. Early bird pricing is only $895. Your registration fee includes the following:
  1. Access to all seminars and workshops from Monday–Wednesday. There are three tracks from which to choose a workshop: Tools and Techniques, Presentation Design, and Special Delivery (all the ways that you can reach the audience with your message).
  2. Unlimited access to the Help Center for any PowerPoint technical questions.
  3. A 125-page Conference Guide that provides resources, useful applications, and supplemental notes on the presentations.
  4. Eligibility to win one of the many prizes in a Prize Pool valued over $15,000.
  5. Continental breakfast each morning and a full sit-down lunch on Monday and Tuesday.

Not to mention the talented experts presenting this year including Rick Altman (host and author), Nancy Duarte (author of slide:ology), Julie Terberg (the official "makeover maven"), Nigel Holmes (former executive art director of Time magazine), Richard Bretschneider (senior program manager for PowerPoint), and Garr Reynolds (author of Presentation Zen).

Hope to see you there!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Reuse and Recycle: Get the Most Out of Your Graphics

You spend hours of your time creating the perfect graphic that depicts your company's core process. You spend money on conceptualization, rendering, and the final production of your perfect graphic.

Then what?

You might use the graphic once in a presentation, proposal, marketing piece, and then it is saved somewhere on the server or your desktop or a designer's hard drive. A year later, you want to communicate the same process or concept in a new presentation, but you can't find the original source files. You have to start from scratch.

I've seen this happen many times on so many different projects that companies end up spending thousands of dollars creating graphics they had already designed once. It saves time and money to have a designer work from a preexisting graphic file than begin with a blank page. Here are a few tips to reuse and recycle your valuable graphic assets:
  • Create a folder on your server labeled "Graphics" (or whatever is relevant for you) and only give permissions to necessary personnel. You don't want everyone to have access to your graphics, because this leaves room for file deletion, corruption, or even misuse of the graphics.
  • Within this folder, create an archive of the most used graphics in your organization. Label the folders so the graphics are easy to find, especially if you're under a deadline. You can label the folders with the project name in which the graphic was used (ABC Proposal, XYZ Presentation, etc.) or label it by graphic type (Process Graphics, Organizational Graphics, Network Diagrams, etc.).
  • Organize this folder with subfolders of High-res Company Logos, Partner Logos, Corporate Photos (e.g., head shots of executives or photographs of company offices), Word Templates, Newsletter Templates, and Stock Images. I would even break out the Stock Image folder into subsets of Generic Business People, Desktop Computers, Computer Components, Office Workers, and any other images that your company uses for its communication pieces.
  • Consider icons you use to represent databases, process flows, routers, switches, firewalls, laptops, customer service, etc. If you have a central folder where you can access the most frequently used icons, then you will maintain consistency throughout your marketing materials, web pages, proposals, and presentations.
  • Create a style guide, which details your company's colors, proper logo usage, font usage, and use of images in marketing pieces and on the web. You can even include samples of the proper icons that represent certain concepts or items used in corporate communications. A style guide will help keep your company's image clean, professional, and consistent. Keep this style guide within your graphics folder for your team to easily reference.
It will take time to set up the folder properly. But if you remember to diligently update and maintain a graphic library, you will get the most out of your graphics. No more wasting time and money to recreate graphics when you recycle and reuse!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Happy New Year! Here's Some Free Stuff...

We're a little late with the New Year's wishes, but we've been busy adding lots of new graphics over the last few months to BizGraphics On Demand. If you haven't been there in awhile click on the left drop down menu and highlight "What's New."

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In my web searches I have found several helpful websites that share free tools for designers. Below is a list (also found in our e-zine) of some great, FREE resources for designers.

Vector Art

Free Vector Art and Graphics: Browse this site to download free, high-end vector images that range from visuals of computer parts to creative backgrounds for marketing pieces. Some of the graphics cost money for commercial use, but many are free to download and use.

vector4free.com: This is a website dedicated to free vector graphics. The graphics are a combination of Adobe Illustrator AI, EPS, PDF, SVG, and Corel Draw CDR files. The site also has a search feature. If you use Illustrator, you can edit the graphics. Otherwise, you can download and place in presentations or any other multimedia package. Again, most allow for commercial use but some may require you to pay for use in advertising or promotional materials.

Icons

VisualPharm:
This site offers free icons for download for personal or commercial use. The only caveat is that you link to their site to download the free icons.

IconzWorld: Another site that offers free icons. However, these icons are formatted for the web only.

Stock Photos

stock.xchng: Download free images of print resolution stock photos for personal or commercial use. You can use these high-quality images on websites, printed materials, and presentations. It is an amazing deal for the quality you receive.

Microsoft Office Online: If you are an Office user than you're in luck! You can have access to free images, sounds, and animations from Microsoft's website, and they have partnered with some great names in art like iStockPhoto, Fotolia, and iCLIPART to bring you a varied selection of images.

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Hope these free resources can help you out. If you have any suggestions, let us know. We'll post them in our e-zine or in our next blog.