Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Thinking Design - Looking Professional

Some might consider it superfluous, or just for professionals. Others could say it is essential, but not for them. In fact, design is for all. The way we present, the choice of images, the displaying of graphic elements, the word we use. Everything counts and matters. Design tells much of who we are. Consider your presentations and digital resources, what are they saying about you? What stories are you telling? How professional do you look?


  1. There is no question in my mind about the importance of choosing the right images to accompany a presentation... or even the layout, colour scheme (backgrounds, fonts, margins etc) and logos that appear on slides (depending on whether or not one is representing an institution). On the surface, that would seem to be where brand identity begins and ends, but in reality it goes so much deeper than that.

    The image of ourselves that we project into the cybersphere and F2F (or via e-mail, telephone etc), including the values and beliefs to which we appear to subcribe, are all interpreted as part and parcel of our professional image.

    That's not to say that being professional means being overly formal or commercial, like 24/7 sales staff!!... but rather it means that we should ensure that we are comfortable in the knowledge that whatever we produce or publish or SHARE (particularly via social media and on blogs, chats, webinars etc) is contributing to how people see us as professionals.

    Of course, some people are happy to be themselves (whatever that means!!) and show even their character flaws, unpopular beliefs or tastes, even their own prejudices... but they must also be aware of the potential negative consequences for them as professionals, in so doing.

    Personally, I'm pretty much myself online.. what you see is what you get! But occasionally, I do think twice before posting a comment or a pic... and more often than not.. change my mind about it precisely because of potentially negative impact for the organisation that pays my bills!

    In an ideal world, we would all accept each other 'warts and all'... with all our qualities and defects, not to mention separating people's personal lives from their professional activities, but as we know, there is a long and winding road to be followed before humans reach that stage of civilised society!

    1. Dear Graeme, I totally agree with you that looking professional goes way beyond the design part I'm talking about here. However, I feel that many educators know how to deal with the image issues you're talking about - the way they share things online, their choice for publishing or not certain things, their sharing of their own views and beliefs, etc... However, what I've been noticing lately is that they might sin in very small details, like the design of their presentation PPTs, for example. Then, in this case, design might get on the way of their professional perception others have about them. :-) A well-balanced perspective of what you mentioned plus a careful approach to the way we design what we present might be an excellent way to brand ourselves as full-fledged professionals, don't you think?


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