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Hierarchy 027

Flow Hierarchy

Using the Flow Hierarchy

The frameworks in this series are very simple, but they convey a lot of information. The size of the bars suggests a pyramid, which is universally understood to convey hierarchies. The bars are connected in the center, which suggests connectivity and flow. The frameworks themselves imply a closed set of steps or activities. A semitransparent directional arrow can be added (as in the series example) to indicate whether the flow is bottom up or top down. You can also add numbers/letters to help identify the flow direction. If the frameworks are used to show a simple interconnectedness, omit the arrow.

The frameworks are only one field, which makes them very easy to format and use. There are two versions: v1 is full page and v2 is half page.

Customizing Flow Hierarchy

Adjust size

Since each framework is only one field, no grouping is necessary. You can resize at will. Hold the shift key down if you want to scale it while you are resizing.

Color variations

Each framework in this series is only one field. Therefore, it is very easy to apply color. You can select a color from your template's color palette to use as a fill color. Apply a line color if you wish.

3D variations

If you choose to use 3D with these frameworks, be sure that you select a depth that will not obscure the connections, etc. Usually a shallow depth is best.


A shadow – particularly the drop shadows in PowerPoint 2007 – will lift the framework off of the slide. A nice effect.

Gradients, patterns, and pictures

Since the frameworks are intended to hold text, be careful about what formatting you apply. Make sure that the gradients are subtle so that the overlaying text is clear and readable. If you import a picture, make sure that the picture does not obscure the text. Never apply design elements that negatively impact clarity.


Since these frameworks are only one field, sequenced reveals must be limited to either the overlaying text or the subordinate text next to each level of the framework. Use simple reveals on this simple framework.

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