3 Tips to Designing an Impressive DECA Presentation Board

I’m convinced that every year the presentation boards at DECA’s International Career Development Conference are more and more impressive, and #DECAICDC 2014 was no exception.

After walking around the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, I noticed a few trends that helped make everyday presentation boards stand out.

1. Use a strong font and color scheme for maximum impact.

Lauren Fisher, Paige Ahmed and Sophie Eaton of Robinson Secondary DECA (Va.) used a sleek and consistent design to make their content truly stand out. Gold glitter brings emphasis to their headers and focuses the viewer’s attention, while the lowercase white lettering creates a fashionable flair. The standard body font is simple enough that it doesn’t distract from the content either.

With clear linear organization, the design is sleek and impressive, and doesn't distract from their message, which is clearly conveyed in photographs and a few words. With this consistent and contrasting design, Lauren, Paige and Sophie’s board draws the viewer’s attention exactly where it needs to be.

2. Create your board in a design program and have it printed by a professional service.

If you have strong graphic design skills like Nastacia Marks and Julianna Matthews from New York DECA, definitely consider having your board professionally printed. Although this photo doesn’t do their work justice, there is a consistent color and font scheme, appealing layout, and enticing photos. This board explains how advertising affects female body image immediately engages the viewer with its design elements. Many companies today are designing their presentation boards the same way, using industry-standard design software like Adobe Illustrator and Adobe InDesign, but this could also be accomplished in Microsoft Publisher.

While printed boards can certainly be impressive, they can also be riskier because they require a greater familiarity with design software and key layout principles. Usually a judge will see your boards before you even begin your presentation, and a poorly-designed presentation board could make a picky judge less receptive to your message. That being said, it’s still encouraged to print a board, but get some feedback from artsy friends or advisors before you invest in printing!

3. Break out of two dimensions.

Ebone Smith, Charlie Curtis and Matthew Mologne of Potomac Falls DECA (Va.) used three dimensional scrapbooking stickers to give their presentation board an extra pop. Strategically place to enhance, but not overwhelm, the stickers add character and make the board more engaging without taking up large amounts of space.

Be sure to consider these design tips when creating your boards next year!

Follow Jasmine on Twitter @jheyward1.

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