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Chart of the Month – December 2012 – Design within a Design

The title of this Chart of the Month is "Design within a Design." This is because you're going to create a design with graphic objects (in this case hexagons) and then import photographs to complete the overall design. You might even want to create a "Design within a Design within a Design" by importing a photograph into a small hexagon and placing it over the large photograph that is imported into a group of hexagons. If you have a dead area in the photograph, you can elect to either not import the large photograph into that space or import a photograph into a small hexagon and place it over the dead area.

This type of design chart can be used for a lot of different purposes. It can be a section break, a slide that delivers an impactful visual message with a minimum amount of text, a slide to show onscreen before and/or after a presentation, and so on. These types of slides are important to develop and keep at the ready. They are not that time consuming to produce, but you want to allow yourself enough time to get them right.

Using PowerPoint 2007 and 2010, they are very easy to format.

  1. Create your design first. In this case, we used hexagons
  2. The hexagons were laid out with the Snap to other objects tool on so that they were perfectly aligned
  3. We grouped the layout, duplicated the group, and placed the duplicate group directly over the original group.
  4. The duplicate group of hexagons was then ungrouped
  5. While the ungrouped hexagons were still "selected," we rescaled all of the hexagons down (rescale by resizing while holding the shift key down)
  6. Select the original group and ungroup the hexagons
  7. Choose a photograph that will work well with a group of hexagons in the design – make sure that the important parts of the photograph are visible after it is imported into a group of hexagons
  8. Place the photograph behind the hexagons so you can see how it will look once it is imported into a group of hexagons
  9. Adjust placement of the photograph and crop where necessary
  10. Select the hexagons that you want to use as the "holder" of the photograph and group them
  11. Cut the photograph so that it is in your clipboard
  12. Right click on the group of hexagons and select "Format shape"
  13. Make sure "Fill" is selected in the left-hand list and then select "Picture or texture fill"
  14. Click on "Clipboard" and the photograph will be imported into the group of hexagons.

You can then select complementary photographs to place in the small hexagons to complete the design. Leave some of the hexagons empty to add design interest. Add a small amount of text and you're done!

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