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Swipe File Friday — Renovate Communication Design, LLC

Swipe File Friday: Evernote

Bad artists copy, great artists steal - Picasso - slide designed by Michael Gowin, Renovate Communication Design, LCC

Welcome to Swipe File Friday.

In this series so far, we’ve pointed to some sites that provide visual inspiration (Serifs&Sans, Art of the Menu, SwissMiss), a tool for annotating screen captures (Skitch), a site that offers free fonts (Font Squirrel), a site that lets you view and upload slide decks (Slideshare), a source for quotes (Observation Paper), sites that help you find images for your presentations (Flickr + Compfight), and a site that lets you watch some really cool presentations (TED).

Some of these are easily bookmarked for quick reference. In other cases, though, you may want to save a specific post, image, or quote for later use. Bookmarking the page isn’t the best way to do that.

Fortunately, there is a tool that’s perfect for this.


Evernote is an application for Mac, Windows, and mobile devices that helps you “remember everything.” Evernote lets you organize your data in notebooks and notes. A notebook can be a collection of related notes, similar to a folder that you might use to organize files on your computer, while a note contains the data (text, images, audio, etc.) you want to save.

Swipe File Friday: Evernote at Renovate Communication Design, LLC

When you want to save something for later, simply create a new note and add a tag or two if you want (the tags are used to help you search or group notes).

For example, you might start saving quotes that you could use in your presentations. Create a new note (maybe title it presentation quotes) and then copy and paste or type the quotes into your note. When you come across a new quote, simply add it to that note. Alternatively, you could create a notebook called presentation quotes and save each quote as a new note within that notebook. Either method will work and this is one of the strengths of Evernote: you’re not forced into a specific way of organizing your data.

Evernote features a powerful search function which makes it easy to find your stuff. All of the text in your notes is searchable so there’s no need to invest a lot of time creating an elaborate system of notebooks.

If you spend a lot of time in your browser (I do) and find lots of things online that you like to save (I do), Evernote’s handy Web Clipper make adding notes to your notebooks a breeze. You’ll find extensions for Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer that enable you to clip an entire web page, part of the page, or just the URL.

I use Evernote to save all kinds of things: articles that I want to read later or have for reference, quotes (I’ve got a thing for quotes evidently), pictures and graphics for design inspiration, email templates for form letters, meeting notes, agendas, and sometimes blog posts or ideas that I want to develop. Since I also use the Evernote apps on my iPhone and iPad, I have access to my Evernote data almost anywhere, anytime.

Evernote is available as an ad-supported free download. A premium version ($45/year) eliminates the ads and offers more storage space, a good option for heavy users.

If you want to learn how to get the most from Evernote, check out Brett Kelly’s Evernote Essentials guide. Also see Michael Hyatt’s “A Handy Index to All My Evernote Posts” to learn how he uses Evernote to organize his life.

Start using Evernote today to organize your swipe and the things you want to remember.

Swipe File Friday: swissmiss

Bad artists copy, great artists steal - Picasso - slide designed by Michael Gowin, Renovate Communication Design, LCC

Welcome to Swipe File Friday.

Inspiration for graphic design can come in many forms.

Fortunately, there’s a blog for that.


No, not the hot cocoa mix. But there’s no doubt that hot cocoa can be inspiring.

swissmiss is a “design blog / studio run by Tina Roth Eisenberg.” In a word, the site is a curated collection of all things design.

swissmiss on Swipe File Friday, Renovate Communication Design, LLC

swissmiss features multiple posts every day, each showing some interesting aspect of design. Posts in the last few days have included posters, tote bags, children’s toys, quotes, furniture, video interviews, and photography.

An eclectic mix, to be sure.

But that’s the strength of swissmiss. Good design (and good inspiration) can draw from multiple wells. When you’re creating a presentation, it’s obivous to look at other presentations as sources for inspiration.

It’s not obvious, though, to look at, say, the interface of an iPhone weather app and create a presentation around its style.

But I really want to. And  you might, too.

Add swissmiss to your frequently browsed sites and get inspired for your next presentation.

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Swipe File Friday: Flickr + Compfight

Bad artists copy, great artists steal - Picasso - slide designed by Michael Gowin, Renovate Communication Design, LCC

Welcome to Swipe File Friday.

You’re aware that your audience will remember six times more about your talk when you add pictures.

And we’re not talking about clip art. That’s so 1980’s.

So where do you find some good pictures to add to your presentation?

Flickr + Compfight

Flickr on Swipe File Friday, Renovate Communication Design, LLC

Flickr is a social photo-sharing web site. Flickr users take and upload all manner of images, tag them, and sometimes make them available for use by others with a Creative Commons license. Some Creative Commons licenses are “attribution-only;” that is, you simply need to acknowledge the creator of the work in order to use it. You can do this by adding a slide at the end of your presentation that indicates the creators of those images. In other cases, the Flickr photographers may allow only non-commercial uses of their images. Whichever license is used, it’s always a good idea to respect the copyright.

Flickr has a search tool on the site but Compfight is a far better search tool–and it’s built especially for finding photos on Flickr.

Let’s say you wanted to find a picture of a dog for your presentation. You start at Compfight and type “dog” in the search box. On the results page that opens up, you’ll find a sidebar to the left that lets you filter the results by license type. Just click “Creative commons” and Compfight shows you only those photographs that are available under the Creative Commons license.

Searching for “dog” images that were Creative Commons licensed returned almost 715,000 pictures when I wrote this post. Surely there’s one in there that will work for your presentation.

Compfight on Swipe File Friday, Renovate Communication Design, LLC

There are lots of other choices for good presentation images as well. We’ll profile some of those options in upcoming Swipe File Friday posts.

Drop the clip art from your slides and add impact with real photographs from Flickr and Compfight.

Swipe File Friday: TED

Bad artists copy, great artists steal - Picasso - slide designed by Michael Gowin, Renovate Communication Design, LCC

Welcome to Swipe File Friday.

Preparing a talk is no easy thing.

You need an audience and you need to know who’s in it so you know what they need, what they hope and fear, how they might want their lives to be different.

You need a topic that will interest your audience and you need to prepare your message that resonates with them–you don’t want to be “that boring speaker.”

You need slides that look good, something better than standard PowerPoint templates.

And you need a delivery style that’s consistent with who you are (and not some other famous speaker who you’re trying to imitate).

That’s a tall order.

Wouldn’t it be helpful if you could see how other speakers put this all together when they present?


TED began in 1984 “as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design.” In short, big wigs from these three industries got together to give talks and presentations about the cool things they were doing.

TED on Swipe File Friday, Renovate Communication Design, LLC

The first TED events were annual conferences in Long Beach, California, and in the UK. Since then, the vision of TED has expanded. You’ll now find smaller TED events in cities all over the world and many of the talks are archived on the TED website.

So who speaks at TED conferences? People who are doing interesting things in technology, entertainment, and design, of course, but also people in government, education, business, and the non-profit sector. Speakers have included well-recognized folks like Microsoft founder Bill Gates, chef Jamie Oliver, anthropologist Jane Goodall, and Al Gore. You’ll also find inspiring, insightful, and entertaining talks by people you’ve never heard of.

The talks range in length from as short as three minutes to about eighteen minutes and the site has a clever filter feature that let’s you find talks by length, topic, popularity, or rating. If you’re looking for some quick inspiration, you can find it on the TED site.

Just like SlideShare, you can create a free account on TED and save your favorite talks and add comments below the talks.

To get you started, here are three talks in my list of favorites:

You’ll find more of my favorites here.

Visit TED today and find yourself some speaking inspiration.

Swipe File Friday: Art of the Menu

Bad artists copy, great artists steal - Picasso - slide designed by Michael Gowin, Renovate Communication Design, LCC

Welcome to Swipe File Friday.

Chef Thomas Keller has said that, “Food should be fun.” And why not?

(And yet I’m frequently chastening my children for playing with their dinner.)

Just yesterday my wife and I enjoyed a wonderful lunch at a Persian restaurant in St. Louis. We sat outdoors in the warmth of the sun in wrought-iron chairs at a wrought-iron patio table. Grape vines with full, green leaves grew along the fence that separated the cafe dining area from the surrounding sidewalk and clay pots with mint and basil plants stood at the entrance.

Suzanne ordered jerk-seasoned tilapia that arrived with basmati rice and a fresh, green salad. I had a saffron-marinated chicken kabob pita filled with crisp lettuce, onions, cucumbers, and a delightfully rich sauce. The flavors and textures were wonderful and, yes, fun.

So if the meal itself is inspired, why shouldn’t the experience of the menu be inspired as well? And if the menu looks great, perhaps that could be a source of presentation design inspiration as well?

Art of the Menu

You saw where this was going, right?

Art of the Menu is a site that features interesting designs from restaurant menus around the world.

Art of the Menu on Swipe File Friday at Renovate Communication Design, LLC

These are not just your standard four-page, flip-it-over supper club menus.

No, there’s some amazing creativity at work in these designs. The colors, fonts, layouts, formats, and writing are all worthy of a look.

But there’s also incredible variety in the featured menus. For example, the menu from Fat Cow in Singapore is characterized by its clean, upscale and elegant feel while Jack’s Wife Freda in New York is highlighted with simple line drawings that  convey the sense of a hip yet homey café.

While you’re waiting for your next meal out, consider stealing borrowing an idea from the menu. Or browse through the menus at Art of the Menu and swipe away.