Claudine Rule, a Graduate Interior Architect in our Sydney studio, shares some easy steps to creating a successful design presentation.
Whether you’re preparing for your first or even your hundredth presentation, they can be pretty daunting – I can speak from experience!
But there’s no need to fret. Just remember that presentations are about harnessing the knowledge you’ve already acquired from completing the project and communicating that information to your audience.
Your toolkit is your inventory of communication devices. Your drawings, visualisations (either printed or digital), physical model, and speech should all work together to give your audience a holistic overview of your project.
It’s essential to consider the platform where you’re presenting. For example, using a 1920 x 1080 pixel canvas and scale bar may be most appropriate for a digital presentation.
It’s also important to ensure any text is concise. Let the hero be your visual work!
Structure & content
There’s no single approach to structuring a presentation. It depends on the designer, project, audience, and time allocated.
The following can be used to guide your approach:
- The brief – Let’s start at the beginning. What formed the basis of your project? Who’s your audience? Are they aware of the task?
- Precedents – What existing media/content did you draw inspiration from? Why? This can be a great opportunity for you to demonstrate your concept-building process. For example, I referenced Studio Ghibli’s animated film, Princess Mononoke, for one of my projects aiming to challenge stereotypical gender norms and domestic inequity.
- The context – Where is your site? Are there any historical connections or design constraints to consider?
- The client – Who are you designing for? What are their needs and wants, and how have you considered these?
- Your concept – How have you responded to the brief? What’s your aim? What’s your narrative?
- Design pillars – What design rules have you set yourself? Create short and punchy titles for them (e.g. form follows function).
- Design evolution – Briefly run through some iterations of your project, from the first draft to the final design. Include any feedback you received during the process and how you addressed it. This helps break down your thought process and problem solving.
- Final design – In detail, outline how you’ve addressed your concept through your final design. Ensure you use all relevant documentation and visualisations as evidence to support your presentation.
Final tips & tricks
Set aside time to run through and practice to ensure you’re within the time limit. Losing sleep the night before may be difficult to avoid, but rest is vital. You want to be alert when connecting with your audience.
Projecting your voice and maintaining eye contact create an engaging presentation. Using your body as an extension of your voice can also be helpful in demonstrating key points (e.g. pointing at drawings and holding/moving models).
Now that the difficult part is over, it may be easy to tune out, but try your best to stay engaged. Any advice or constructive feedback from the panel or audience may be valuable for future projects.
Along with following the points above, don’t forget that plenty of practice is the key to developing your presentation skills – and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Good luck!