Free Resources For Great Presentations

Over the course of my career, I've been blessed with the opportunity to speak to a huge variety of audiences. I've learned over the years that a good presenter, a good salesmen and a good storyteller are all the same thing; each requires confidence, poise, creativity and passion. 

I was asked to speak to a group of Villanova (my beloved alma mater) students a few times on how to deliver great presentations. The latest iteration of the deck is available in my Slideshare, and is also embedded below. It covers most of what you'd need for presenting. 

As a supplement to the deck, below are a few resources & tips to personalize for the low low price of free-ninety-nine. Enjoy!

Stunning (free) image resources:

There are a TON of ways to get free photos that are widely available under creative commons. All you need to do is add a quick note of attribution on your deck, or a link on your site. In presentations, I sneak attribution in the bottom right. 

My good pal 20 Spot innovating golf cart usage. Notice the attribution box in the bottom right

Flickr: My personal favorite source for presentation images. There are a ton of images free for use under commercial commons license. In fact, most of the images on this site were soured from Flickr. 

Google Image Search: Less powerful than Flickr in my opinion, but still a viable source. When you're using Google, simply navigate to image search, and you'll find an option to view only those that can be attributed with creative commons. 

FreeImages.com: Not the most robust source, but a good collection of VERY high resolution stock photos, free for use. Some require attribution, some don't, but can be a great source for design.

New Old Stock: It's probably no secret I love things that are old and vintage-y. Hell, I named my consultancy after something you're never supposed to wash. New Old Stock is a curated collection of Flickr photos from public archives. You'll find some BEAUTIFUL stuff in there, and it also links to public archives for you to browse through. My 2013 eMetrics presentation was entirely created using New Old Stock. 

Stockvault: A high-inventory site where designers and photographers will share images for free. I admittedly tend not to make it quite this far as I can usually find what I need, but there's a ton of resources here as well if you're stuck.

Picjumbo: The site says it best - totally free photos for your commercial and personal works.

There's a myriad of others, and I'll tip you to a few other posts at the end. But frankly if you haven't found what you're looking for above, you're probably thinking too hard. 

Free (or cheap) fonts

I hate calibri. There, I said it. Feel free to use calibri, times new roman or any other stock font if you're looking for your presentation to just disappear into oblivion. Now, there are a billion and one "free font" sites, but they tend to be equally as boring as stock photos.

If you want to stand out however, here's my favorite sources to pick from. 

Lost Type: My personal favorite for creative, well designed fonts. Most of them are free for personal use, but require a low cost commercial license if you plan to use them for any sort of business purpose. If you find one you love, spring for the $5 and buy the designer a beer.

Behance Typography: A site for designers to show off their work, Behance hosts work from professionals and students alike. Much like Lost Type, many of the fonts here ask for a donation for commercial use, but are free for personal use. 

Urban fonts: A fairly basic collection of fairly awesome fonts. I'm a HUGE fan of Sketch Rockwell for university presentations. 

Font Squirrel: Because squirrel. Oh, and good fonts!

Picking a Palette

Full disclosure: in case you haven't noticed yet, I am not a designer. I do not play one on TV. My design skills are gained entirely from MS paint and YouTube videos. But I like to think I know what looks good. 

There's a reason TV's don't come in black and white anymore. If you go with a two or three color palette for your presentation, you will put your audience to sleep. For this site and most of my decks, I went with an earth-toned color palette with a bit of contrast, while still keeping a rustic feel. I did not come up with this palette on my own. 

Adobe Kulor is far and away my favorite tool for picking a palette. Start with a color you like, put it in the tool and start toying around until you find a blend that you like. Typically I try to find a balance with one primary color (main backgrounds), two secondary colors, and two tertiary colors (usually high contrast for a bit of pop).

The hex and RGB codes for Cast Iron Digital's palette are below. Steal away! 

#2B2B2B - 43,43,43: Dark
#DE1B1B - 222,27,27: Red
#F6F6F6 - 246,246,246: Light
#E9E581 - 233,229,129: Yellow
#A2AB58 - 162,171,88: Green

Further Reading + Thanks:

I barely scratched the surface on resources available. Here's a few other tips for further readin' and searchin'.

One last thing. Please, for the love of all that is holy, stop using Cheezeburger images in your presentations. Please???