Thursday, March 12, 2009

The PowerPoint Live Template Contest: American Idol Meets Slide Design

Brilliant artistry, crazed contestants, and
famous judges all on display in annual
competition to create conference template

For the fifth consecutive year, the PowerPoint Live User Conference is holding its Design-a-Template contest, with a free trip to the fall event being awarded to the person whose work is chosen to serve as the conference template.

The conference has received over 300 entries across the last four and a half years, spanning all software versions and many design motifs. The contest’s legacy includes brilliant work by exceptionally talented people, as well as a bit of comic relief by those who just wanted to be part of the experience...not unlike those who audition for American Idol.

“We have had our share of pranksters” notes conference host Rick Altman, “and that has prompted us to assign the roles of Randy, Paula, and Simon to our own judges. Mostly, though, we have seen truly incredible work submitted and even feel as if we have been responsible for watching a few stars be born.”

The judging panel is comprised of a select group of conference regulars, including Richard Bretschneider, Senior Program Manager for PowerPoint at Microsoft, slide:ology author Nancy Duarte, indezine editor Geetesh Bajaj, prominent slide designer Julie Terberg, and several other members of Microsoft's Most Valued Professional team of support specialsts. Evidently, the specific roles of Simon and Paula remain a closely-guarded secret.

“The challenge to this contest,” says Altman, “is the requirement that our slide design serve as the backdrop for all of the great ideas and visuals put forth by our presenters. In order to be a contender, a design needs to wear well for eight hours a day across three days. Contest participants want to be noticed, we get that, but their designs need to succeed in staying subtle and playing the supporting role. That's not so easy.”

Deadline for entries is Friday, June 5 and the contest is open to anyone.

Contest rules:

Gallery of past winners and entrants:

Conference website:

Online link to this article:

    Rick Altman
    Conference Host
    925.600.PRESENT (600.7737)

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