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Best Practice

Develop Proprietary Graphics

More and more companies are striving to make their presentations more visually stimulating – a very good thing; audiences appreciate this. One of the ways to do this is to add icons for the main/strategic points in a presentation. The photo services are getting a pretty broad selection of ready-made icons, and they can be downloaded as vectors so the colors can be adjusted to match presentation color palettes. More often then not, however, additional icons are needed that are not in the style of the icons previously purchased. So the new icons either need to be developed in-house or purchased in a different style. This is a problem: using dissimilar icons is a definite presentation style killer.

Companies should consider working with a graphic artist to develop a proprietary set of graphics. Company icons, graphics for company schematics (that actually look like the equipment the company uses), product sketches, etc., can all be drawn to specification. This is a comprehensive and forward-looking solution that the company will be able to leverage for many years and in many formats. Custom graphics can be saved as an EMF file, which is like vector clipart. Vectors are very versatile because they don't lose crispness when resized. They can be used in any application, even those that require high-res content.

The graphic artist should turn all graphics and development files over the the company upon completion of a phase or the project. This is important – make sure that this is understood at the onset of the project. Prices for graphic work like this varies, depending who you contact. Remember that you will need to perpetuate your chosen graphic style each time new icon or graphic is added to your growing library, so choose your resource(s) carefully. A large firm with many graphic artists charges more but can usually provide faster turnaround and maintain the company style, regardless which artist does the work. Individual graphic artists don't have as much availability bandwidth and may become unavailable, but they are usually less expensive. Choose your resource carefully; it should viewed as a long-term relationship.

Building and drawing from a cohesive and well-planned library of proprietary graphics for presentations and other marketing collateral elevates the perceived value of a company/product.