Contributed by Garrett Skupinski | Austin Community College DECA, TX
Top-tier DECA competitors know to hit all the competition event indicators, but it’s those little touches that elevate a well-prepared presentation to a DECA glass-winning presentation. Color, typography, layout and that perfect personal touch are your secret weapons. Inspire the judges to know who you are, and what you are offering while keeping your presentation memorable after you walk out the door.
Always double-check your color combos on different technology along with print. Your presentations with digital elements on an iPad, phone or laptop can be affected by light levels and different light or dark modes. No matter if you hit all the indicators, drastic color choices may be fun but can make it harder for the judges to read or interact with your material. Having people review your manual or presentation during different parts of the day can give you better feedback from tired or fresh eyes. Use your color with the finest touch from your actual presentation to the slightest details in what you wear.
2. Typography and Layout
Look at the specifics of your event's spacing, font size and any other required layout specifics. Whether you have a poster, pamphlet or digital element, compositional movement keeps the eye flowing between each element. Be aware of the placement and size of text for emphasis, as well as your imagery for your compositional movement. If you ever question your font choice remember the rule of typography that states, only use three font types in your design that highlight your titles, sub-headers and body of the text. Imagery and infographics such as charts should go seamlessly with your text and reinforce your indicators or branding.
3. Your Personal Touch
Upon triple checking your presentation or manual, where do you see your personal expression and touch? Logos and branding are the easiest way to distinguish yourself from the many other competitors in your event. How you layer your colors or use shapes in your layout on your project's pages can add interest and also highlight areas as the judge is reading or processing. Your choice of paper type, presentation orientation and out-of-the-box materials can also give you the leg up on your fellow competitors. Taking it to the next step and presenting a physical representation of your product, company or event elements will produce the highest impact. Giving a physical product or element gives the judges something to interact with, stimulating the interaction no matter how many hours they have been judging or how many presentations they have seen. This will have the judge personally invested in you and your presentation making you more captivating.
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