The Mysteries of the PowerPoint Slide Master and How It’s Used


Slide Master is a tool used in Microsoft PowerPoint to create slide templates. Slide Master can save slide layouts, including the background, color, fonts, effects, positioning, etc. One benefit to using Slide Master is that you can make universal changes to every current and future slide within your presentation by only adjusting the Slide Master. You can also embed images and other graphics you don’t want touched into slides associated with a Slide Master. This keeps them in the background and out of the way when you are editing slide content.

Every version of PowerPoint is slightly different, but access to the Slide Master can generally be found in the same way. In this particular version (PowerPoint 2011), Slide Master can be accessed by navigating to View > Master > Slide Master.




Once in Slide Master, you can create and edit slide layouts just as you would edit any other PowerPoint slide. Remember, this acts as a template, so you only want to put content into the slide that will be universal for every slide. You can create as many Slide Masters as you would like, with each one acting as its own template.




Once you are done creating your Slide Master layouts, click “Close Master”.


Close Master


Now, you can apply these masters to your actual presentation. Go to your Home tab and click Layout to see a menu of all of the layouts associated with the Slide Masters you have created. Click the one you want to apply to the slide – and the rest is easy. Any time you want to change your slide layout, just go back to Home > Layout to see the menu of all your masters and select a new one.


Home - layout


Congratulations! You have unlocked the power of Microsoft PowerPoint’s Slide Master! You can now enjoy the advantages of having preloaded slides that will make building your presentation easier and more efficient. Have fun!

street art Atlanta

Grafitti or Street Art: How It Can Inspire Us All

When I first moved to Atlanta over two years ago the first place I went was Piedmont Park. I had literally just pulled up to my new apartment in Midtown, unpacked a few boxes out of my car and threw on my backpack to take off on foot to a new place. Being unfamiliar with the Beltline I walked on an unfinished path into a group of trees and found a very interested piece of street art. They were eyes. Just eyes.

street art Atlanta

Five billboard size canvases looked at me and reminded me of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg’s eyes in The Great Gatsby. I was taken aback because the eyes meant so much more to me than just black and white prints – my friends and family had been watching me, waiting to see where I would live, where I would work, and what I would do after graduation. This one experience began a hunt to find art all over Atlanta.

Turns out there is a lot. In 2015, The Huffington Post ranked Atlanta the 8th best city in the United States to see street art. One year later, I can attest that Atlanta has continued to expand in both Street Art coverage and creativity.

With so much art to be seen, from Living Walls ATL to Tiny Doors ATL, many Atlantans may wonder what makes great street art? Here are some questions to ask yourself while when observing:

Is it disruptive?

Being disruptive can been seen as a positive or a negative – depends on the area, who you are talking to, and if that individual has had coffee. (We love our coffee here in Atlanta.) To be disruptive, at least one person must break away from the norm. Whether it is the artist or the viewer, the mural should be different from the person’s definition of truth and norm.

street art Atlanta

What questions – intended or unintended – does it inspire?

Some art is politically driven or seeks to defy authority. Question the message and the emotion behind the street art. You may see it as a political message that questions society, but the artist may be just conveying a personal story. The idea is for every set of eyes to read the art differently. Question everything: the color, the type, the illustrations - and think for yourself.

street art Atlanta

Why is this art in this place at this time?

Some of the most powerful street art murals are intentionally designed for the place and takes into consideration the neighborhood, the people, and the time. If you are seeing a mural that isn’t common to where you live, think about the audience that the mural was intended for. Context is everything.

street art Atlanta

Who is the Artist?

Street art typically defies authority and makes a provocative statement. Even when artists are hired or given permission – which is common for art on the Atlanta Beltline – the artist had to start somewhere, and that involves risking their safety, freedom, and finances. They go out late at night to purse a passion. Amateur or professional street artists deserve at least a few seconds of attention and a spark of emotion.

street art Atlanta

I do not encourage vandalism – but I do ask you to stop and consider when you see a message on a wall that you can’t read, or an illustration you don’t understand, or even a mural that makes you angry. Again, think for yourself and hopefully there will be some street art that speaks to you. Happy street art hunting!

Editing a PDF

Editing a PDF

A PDF captures all elements of a printed document in the form of an electronic image. It can be navigated, printed, or forwarded to others. Correctly marking up (or redlining) a PDF is important because it helps provide clear directions on what changes need to be made. Ryan, our Design Manager, provides a detailed video on the correct software, tools, and methods to make the process the utmost efficient.


Word template

Create a Word template in 5 easy steps

Microsoft Word is a beautiful design tool. There! Now it’s on the internet, so it must be true, right? But actually, it can be.

Yes, the Microsoft Office Suite has its limitations, but a user-friendly Word template can be formatted to look good. Limited capabilities and strong design don’t have to be mutually exclusive. And great work is often inspired by limitations. So, I maintain that it’s true: You can design a beautiful, compelling, easy-to-use template in five steps. And I’m going to show you how right here.

Step 1: Set up a color palette. This is important for a lot of reasons – my previous posts about color discuss some of them. Regardless, if you’re following a brand standard, you’ll want to set up those colors in your template. If you’re not following a specific brand standard, you still need a cohesive palette of colors that will work well together to tell your story.

Theme colors PPTOn a Mac, set up theme colors in Powerpoint

Theme colors WordOn a PC, set up theme colors in Word.

To set up a palette on a Mac, you actually need to do the first part of this step in Powerpoint. Go figure. (On a PC, you can follow these same steps in Word.) Under the Themes (Page Layout) tab, choose Colors > Create (New) Theme Colors. Change each color to suit the look of your document by double-clicking on swatches (or using the drop-down menu and selecting More Colors). At the bottom of the dialog box, name your theme. Click Apply to All (Save) to close the box. On a Mac, under the Themes tab, click Save Theme and store it in the Office Themes folder, on your desktop, or in the job folder for the template. Then open a Word document.

On both the PC and the Mac versions of Word, click the Home tab, then select Themes. If you saved the theme in your Office Themes folder it will appear as a Custom Theme. If you saved the theme somewhere else, select “Browse Themes”, find it on your computer and select it. Your palette now appears in your formatting tabs, where you can access them quickly and easily.

Step 2: Create background images. You’ll use these in the header and footer. They can be full backgrounds that are the size of your document, or they can be individual elements, like a logo or a graphic that appears in one corner. Using image editing software (e.g., Adobe Photoshop, Pixlr, Acorn, etc.) create your images and save them as .JPG or .PNG files at 150ppi minimum, 300ppi if the document will be printed professionally.

Step 3: Format The Background. Think of this step as designing the “stationery” on which your content will appear. You’re going to create this background in the Header and Footer area of the page. Don’t be thrown by the idea of an actual header or footer – you actually can place header and footer images anywhere on the page. But because it’s technically part of the header or footer, it will be difficult for users to accidentally edit, move or delete those images when they’re adjusting text in the document.

Format Picture Mac

Format Picture PCSetting up the background or "stationery" for your document

Start by double clicking the header area of your document. Then, under the Home (Insert) tab, you can add and format the images that you created in Step 2, which you’ll select as “Pictures,” “Text” or “Shapes.” After placing each image, make sure it’s selected, then click the Format Picture (Format) tab. Select Wrap Text > Behind Text. This will allow you to move and resize the image as desired, without impacting any text on the page. Shapes can be formatted and used in the background, in the same way, as sidebars or other graphic elements. Add any background text and adjust the font size, margins, etc. however you want. If you want page numbers to appear on every page, you can do this from the Document Elements (Insert) tab, as well.

Step 4: Format Text Styles.


Format-Styles-PCChange font and paragraph styles

Start typing in your document – it doesn’t have to be real text, but you want to set up headlines, subheads, body copy, footnotes, and any other styles of text you’ll be likely to use. Format the font, size and color that you want to use for each. Now, open the Styles window in the Home tab by clicking Styles, selecting the icon with the ¶ symbol (or the expand arrow) to open the Styles window. Highlight the headline in your document and click on the dropdown menu next to Heading 1 in the Styles window. Select Update (Heading 1) to Match Selection. Use the same drop-down and select Modify Style. A new dialog box will open where you can change the style’s name and other attributes. Use the Format button in the lower left corner to adjust paragraph settings such as indentation, line spacing, paragraph spacing, tabs and many other options. Repeat this process for other text styles.

Step 5: Adjust the Layout. Under the Home tab in the Paragraph section, you can choose the number of columns on a page. Use the rulers at the sides and top to set up margins and insets from those margins.

Save your file as a Word template (.dotx). Now, every page using this template will have consistent design elements, which can be used over and over again.

Appendix: More Advanced Options. There are many more ways in which you can customize your template.

  • If you want a cover page, you can create a cover that differs from the interior pages (it’s a header/footer option –Different First Page).
  • If you want 2-page spreads, you can create facing pages that differ from eachother (another header/footer option - Different Odd & Even Pages).
  • If there are defined parts of your document, you can establish individual sections (Insert > Break > Section Break) and give each section a Different First Page.

As with the rest of the template, design your cover and interior pages creating text boxes for the document title, section title, footer information, page numbers, etc. The goal is to standardize any content that will appear in all documents created with this template.


Page-layouts-PCSet up a cover or section pages, and facing pages


Section-breaks-PCCreate a new section of the template

Word is not as precise, efficient or powerful as professional publishing applications. But when you need to create a document that non-designers can update regularly and easily, Word templates can give you a surprisingly effective way to do it.








color consistency

Consistent Color Across Different Media

Think of some well-known brands. Which ones come to mind when I say red? How about brown? Are there any in orange? When we see them, we know them, whether they’re printed using the Pantone Matching System (PMS) or 4-color process (CMYK), or if they’re reproduced on a screen in RGB. We recognize not just the color, but the shade of that color, in any medium where it is used. How do designers, web developers and printers do that?

To begin with, computer monitors vary in their color interpretation, based on their age, model, and individual user settings. And, a good monitor can represent many colors that basic 4-color printing cannot.

Then there’s the inkjet or laserjet printer in your office. Color printers vary widely based on types of inks, number of ink colors, settings, and the paper used. The same document will look different on different printers. It will even look different when you change your print settings.

Professionally printed colors are the easiest to match consistently from one job to the next, and from one printing house to another. Using PMS colors as a benchmark for color matching, a printing house can closely match these colors using the CMYK equivalent provided by the designer. PMS colors may also be used individually as the only color, printed as a 2- or 3-color job, or, if the budget has room, as an addition to the 4-color process, adding the extra dimension that recognizably brands the piece.

So let’s check in with the design team, looking for colors that evoke a mood and making sure they work across all media. They may start assigning PMS colors because PMS is one of a few systems recognized worldwide for color consistency. They choose different groupings of PMS colors as options to reflect a brand’s image.

Then – and this is what separates the great designers from the good ones – they anticipate how those colors may shift when reproduced in RGB or CMYK. Working with a high quality monitor and printer, they adjust the PMS color combinations to reproduce well in any color space. It’s a time consuming process, but it’s the difference between consistent, recognizable colors and a giant range of shades.

The process of refining a brand’s colors can take weeks or even months. In the end, the client gets brand consistency, necessary for recognition in any medium. And when someone says, “What brand is red?” you know what they’re talking about.

Read part 1 of blog here!

Read part 2 of blog here!

Read part 3 of blog here!

printing in color

Printing in Color

Picture a designer spending hours translating evocative colors, drawn from her or his research and surroundings, into a combination that works for a client’s brand. This fantastic journey often begins with photos, a color swatch book and a computer monitor, and can include on-site visits, use of the company’s products and research into customer perceptions.

Assembling colors in pairs and trios to form a cohesive color palette, the quest for the right combination is an adventure that can take many days. Discordant colors and groups are eliminated and subtle corrections are made to concordant ones. Finally, the designer releases the best ideas through the gates of the inkjet printer onto real paper and…

They look awful. The colors are dull - not what they were on the monitor. They feel dry. They don’t represent the brand as well in print as they did on screen. But hope – and work – is not lost.

While our eyes are capable of detecting trillions of individual colors, our technology only provides three common ways to represent these colors. Computer monitors and TV screens can show us millions of colors by breaking them down into 256 shades of red, green and blue (RGB). Systems like the Pantone Matching System (PMS) provide a range of printed colors that cannot be reproduced in other ways. Finally, basic printed materials are limited by the number of inks used.

Most office printers combine the colors cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CMYK) to create a basic range of hues. Others use 6-10 shades of these colors to print photos that are richer and truer to the scene or event captured with the camera. And some combine inks with specially coated papers to build rich colors that rival a professional press.

Professional presses rely on CMYK printing as well, but they can also add spot colors or print exclusively in spot colors, mixed to order using a system like PMS. In this way, a professional printer can create pieces that are consistently true to the brand.

So, is there a place for that basic office printer? Of course there is. Assessing a layout’s composition or printing internal memos are both good uses. When your brand has an external face, though, consistency is paramount, and professional printing is the best way to achieve consistency. This is the goal of the marketing team, and with the help of a good printing house, the designer’s journey is complete.

Read part 1 of blog here!

Read part 2 of blog here!

Read part 4 of blog here!