Presentation materials as a university positioning tool
Over the past years, Education Export Center has gained sufficient experience in the field of positioning educational institutions, in particular, the creation of presentation materials. This article contains recommendations for creating presentation materials, as well as what these materials should be in terms of attractiveness for the consumer, namely, for a potential student and his parents or a potential partner.
Every modern university has to position itself every day — on the university's website, at various events, exhibitions, conferences, recruitment campaigns, open days and other events. Of course, the range of presentation materials is large: these are the presentations themselves, and other media materials, traditional printing, "distribution", web-, photoand video content, and much more. All this simultaneously matters in the new world of digitalization, social networks and civic media, which have firmly entered our lives today.

Employees of the Education Export Center can safely be called generalists, because they have professional knowledge, skills and abilities in various fields — in business, marketing, copywriting, education, international relations, which, of course, helps a lot in their work. Specialists at universities are also generalists, because today the presence of a single specialty makes each individual employee too highly specialized.

The presence of such knowledge and skills in the preparation of presentation material gives a chance to hit exactly the target in working with the audience, and it is necessary to continuously expand the arsenal of skills. Of course, one needs to include the skills of developing and conducting presentations, marketing product design, positioning in the media, and much more. And since we and all our colleagues from universities work with both b2c and b2b, all this is extremely important. We are learning to convince, we are learning to present materials in a way that is accessible, interesting, so that the thought we present is firmly embedded in the minds of young people — Russian and foreign. This means that we are certainly related to generating meanings and promoting information, and given that we work for higher educational institutions, we are directly related to the formation of domestic soft power.

The Education Export Center often holds business meetings with both the b2b and b2c sectors, organizes presentations of universities in various formats. These are, of course, two radically different groups of the audience, which means that solutions are different from each other both in terms of information presentation and in terms of presentation material design. And in all other terms at the same time.

It makes sense to use and know all this, it is our effective tool in the struggle for victory in the highly competitive international education market.

Of course, it is possible to achieve a convincing result if teamwork is established. For the administration of marketing materials development processes, there are two of us in the team at the Education Export Center. And besides management, of course, we ourselves do a lot with our hands — in copywriting, in design, and in many other things. Perhaps we are able to show results, because we ourselves are able to cover the entire cycle on our own — we do not shy away from working with our hands and do not strive for pure management. We know the work of the performers and we know how to do it ourselves — this is the key to success. This, too, may be the strength of an international, as a presenter, as an official representative of the university — to see what is good and what is bad. Be able to distinguish effective visual communication from ineffective. To understand why it is necessary to do exactly this at a given time, to apply exactly such images, and not others.

In our case, the puzzle was formed from theoretical and practical training in the fields of management, information technology, graphics and design. Of course, the areas covered by education alone do not guarantee amazing results to anyone, but each of them has integral components that allow achieving practical results. It is worth noting that the experience of working in the public sector is fundamentally different from the experience that we received in the commercial world. Everywhere has its own peculiarities, specifics, different approaches, roadmaps and components of success, but very often the public sector, many educational institutions lack some business approach. There is not enough of its own dynamics, the desire to increase profits.

Of course, we are also familiar with the fact that state mechanisms sometimes turn quite slowly, there are many nuances within them, which, of course, should be deployed in a creative direction one way or another. How to do this is a separate big topic for discussion, we will try to move forward with the desire to improve business processes within state universities in the same way that private business is fighting for work in the market.
Over the years, we have developed successful cases, corporate styles that worked, where communication was successful and had a direct impact on the commercial result. Taking into account the profile, we have worked not only in Russia, but also in Europe, sub-India, the Middle East and other regions where the approach to visual communication is different, differs significantly and requires knowledge of local cultural, educational and other nuances.

By the way, to be honest — in the field of design it is extremely rare to create something fundamentally new, this should be accepted as a fact. Most of the visual materials offered by designers around the world are only more or less successful compilations of what was created many years ago.

I must say, there is nothing shameful about this — at least, because design is a technical science. Yes, creativity is necessary, but creativity in itself is greatly overrated. Think about whether you are ready to pay a lot of money for creative research that is often not tied to reality or frantic attempts to find fresh solutions to long-past problems.

If you are an entrepreneur who earns money, it is unlikely. Most likely, you will be satisfied with the price/quality compromise when it is possible to solve the task commercially successfully. This is the very situation when they say "design works". To be honest, this is the main thing. Becoming the new Salvador Dali is from another plane, if not from another world.

When creating presentation materials for a university, you should always remember that you are creating a part of the reputation. We are talking about the part of the university's reputation that is associated with its neat, trustworthy and respected appearance. And in this regard, it is necessary to take a balanced approach to the process itself, measuring reasonableness, creativity and expediency.

The universals and the particulars

I would like to pay attention to an extremely important connection that you and I must remember before we start making any information product — this is the connection between the audience and this product. It is impossible to start working on presentation, marketing materials without reference to the audience. Everything — from the choice of style to technical execution should be geared for it. And that's why — we need to put ourselves in the place of the one for whom we are putting on a show: a student, a partner, a recruiter — anyone we are focused on.

The target audience of modern universities is mostly young and passionate about progress, most often online. At the same time, about 80-85% of the inhabitants of the planet Earth are visuals by psychotype, that is, they perceive information mainly through the organs of vision. The rest are audials, kinesthetics, there are fewer of them, and they still like to watch pictures. Without too much irony, if you haven't noticed yet, modern young people think and communicate with each other most often with images. Our brave new digital world is created for them — everywhere and everywhere social networks and messengers. Typing a lot of letters now is "so-so". There are emoticons, stickers, emojis and probably something else that is actively used by young people, but are less in demand among the older generation.

It is important to understand that our values are different, but it's not even that we should continuously evaluate them — it would be appropriate in the framework of some other cases. Our task in the light of drawing up a portrait of the target audience in the first place is to competently prepare the technical task as a result. This is pure technical work, which should be regarded by us first of all as necessary and sufficient.

Let's try to describe the portrait of our end user, that is, the applicant. These are young people, for the most part, visuals, immersed in the Internet, using a smartphone to solve more tasks, emojis as an element of communication, desktops — less often than ours, reading is no longer fashionable, communicating — in a telegram, living — without strain. Taking this into account, when working on the creation of a presentation material, for example, a university website, we must understand that the image of visual communication must also change. That is, a website from an academic giant with numerous volumes of text should turn into a convenient service with a bright visual and absolutely transparent communication.

A few words about how the generation of current applicants differs from those generations to which we, our older brothers or even parents belong.

Well, it is important to take into account which generation people belong to — to be able to work with them, to find an approach. Despite the fact that people themselves are significantly different from each other, generations, as groups of people, demonstrate similar characteristics — values, expectations, beliefs.

With this, we once turned to our HR business partner Yulia Maltseva, in one of the issues of Education Export Magazine, she described what the audience difference is from the point of view of an HR manager. This is also useful to us, so I will give here the brief descriptions of the categories compiled by her.
Thus, ladies and gentlemen, born in the period from the mid-60s to the late 70s (sometimes called generation X), have been in the market for a long time, they no longer take on "any" work and sometimes seek to shift the balance from the office to the side of the house. At the same time, they adapt well in a professional environment, act on the principle of "there are no unsolvable tasks" due to the fact that at a conscious age they lived through quite contradictory moments of the history of our country. They are able to undertake, bear responsibility, which makes them "adults", self-sufficient professionals. They are now middle—level managers or high-level managers due to their age and competencies.

The current income level is taken as a given. They do not shy away from small numbers, they are often ready to go from the bottom up. In their concept — knowledge and skills first, money second.
Young men and women born in thes 1980s-2000s (millennials) are the most educated, versatile, broad generation in the labor market. I myself belong to this generation, I can say a few words from a practical point of view.

Millennials have grown in dynamics, technologies have changed and developed as quickly as possible. For example, those born in the 80s played in the yard as a child, and after graduation — on smartphones. Online 24/7.The competition is high, the pace of life is the same. A lot of energy waste, a lot of projects, startups, unguaranteed success. An important difference from generation X is a higher level of liberalism, the focus on business success is diluted by the puzzlement of global problems such as a healthy lifestyle, ecology, tolerance, humanism. More reflections on any occasion.

The level of income is perceived as a personal characteristic, hence they are very sensitive to fairness in terms of remuneration. In their concept, skills and money necessarily exist simultaneously and exclusively in the same plane.
Girls and boys born after 95 (generation Z). They are the future of the economy, the largest consumer group in the world. Millennials are more fanatical about liberalism, believe in the absence of discrimination in society and the media, and form a request for social justice. Progressive. They are extremely concerned about personal ambitions, often replace the contents with a "wrapper", so they are sometimes infantile. They are demanding of comfort and income level, periodically lose the connection between real professional skills and remuneration. Creative. Always online. These guys are the main audience of modern universities, and very soon they will enter the labor market en masse.

The idea of the standard of living is often formed by a refined picture from social networks. In their paradigm — work on prepayment, they do not have to convince the employer of competence, but the employer of his attractiveness.

What am I doing all this for?

Look at your audience and at your university's website. Back to them and to the website. Immediately after — open the layouts of marketing products, and a minute later — think about the mobile adaptive and applications for the App Store and Google Play. Now maybe something domestic will appear. It's good if you find out that the university has all this. And the right thing is when all this is not only there, but also looks like services beloved by the younger generation, which are convenient and pleasant for them to use.

We need to answer an important question: are our universities attractive to young people who meet them for the first time on the Internet? We need to be on the same wavelength with them — to give them a beautiful picture and a modern interface that will allow you to intuitively find any necessary information.

"Multi—volumes" with a thousand pages is not an option. No one will read it. At the same time, all the features with the requirements of the Ministry of Education regarding the publication of regulatory documents are completely clear, let it be placed somewhere, no question, but it is the client service that should look according to the time in which we live.

A separate issue is also the design of interfaces for distance learning systems. According to my observations, most of the interfaces, even in advanced universities, make users want to commit seppuku. It can be seen that a cumbersome category tree was originally compiled, there is no navigation, a huge amount of texts, no visual. In the meantime, the issue could be solved by connecting an experienced or even a young UI/UX designer to work. The main thing is that they imagine themself as a student at the time of interface development. In general, this is an important matter.

The causes and the effects

Over the past "covid" years, which caused the great migration of peoples to online, we, together with domestic universities, have held many events for applicants from different countries of the world. This allowed us to collect valuable statistics.

For example, it was a revelation to me how few boys, girls and even their parents use personal computers. Since I belong to the generation of 30-year-olds, I still use a laptop — I take it on all trips, business trips, even out of town - in a word, everywhere to work quickly. I feel comfortable doing things from my phone in some very limited volume. As it turns out, generation X, the youth, our audience — everything is exactly the opposite.

However, 77% of young Africans who want to gnaw the Russian granite of science use mobile devices. 93% of applicants from the countries of the Indian subcontinent (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka) went to watch the presentations of our universities from their smartphones. Only 6% used the PC, and the tablet was used by only 1% of the five thousand people audience of the live broadcast.

Accordingly, all this should be taken into account when developing digital university platforms.

Therefore, conducting online presentations for students, speaking in some international inclusions, broadcasts, forums, teleconferences, you need to control how the picture looks on smartphones.

And here it is impossible to say something like "who wants, will understand". If we don't make it adaptive, the applicant will turn on the broadcast, open your website, or something else and see just a mess of letters, images and some elements.

And at this point we repeat our last exercise again, but this time using a smartphone — look at the target audience and at the university website. Again, at the audience and at the website. An important part of the work on creating the appearance of the university in the network is adaptive to mobile phones. The reality is that you and I are increasingly being seen and heard exactly from them. And going into this digital world, we should look understandable and friendly to them, the young.
It will be important not to hurry, but to thoroughly go through the mobile adaptations of their universities' websites, see how complete the composition is on the screen, how convenient it is from the point of view of usability, and so on.

The old and the new

No brand lives long without the necessary changes, tailored to modern trends. A university is a brand. Education is a market with a highly competitive environment. The global volume of the education market is 76.4 billion USD. There are over 750 universities operating in Russia alone. According to UNESCO, there are 19,900 state—recognized higher education institutions in the world. Knowing this, shouldn't the university try to play according to the well-known laws of business in the struggle for students?

Here are some well-known examples about transcontinental giants. Pepsi has changed its corporate identity countless times. The most notable transformations took place in 1898, 1905, 1906, 51st, 62nd, 71st, 87th, 91st, 98th, 2005 — you get tired of writing and reading these. The conservative Adidas has changed significantly only three times — in the 60s, in the 97th and in 2001, which was the merit of an extremely successful style solution applied by Adi Dassler. The world's most famous Google search engine also did not stand still and was updated at least 6 times from 1998 to 2021. McDonalds has updated their style 9 times in its history, and Apple — on a large scale — three times.

As we can see, even the tops, which, it would seem, can just go unbothered, do not neglect this dynamic, keeping up with the times. And how often has your university updated its corporate identity in an attempt to look modern and attractive to the applicant?
However, 77% of young Africans who want to gnaw the Russian granite of science use mobile devices.
93% of applicants from the countries of the Indian subcontinent (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka) went to watch the presentations of our universities from their
Only 6% used the PC, and the tablet was used by only
1% of the five thousand people audience of the live broadcast.
The future

Let me note the simplicity of the desired algorithm:
  1. Work on the brand of the university in a timely manner, make it attractive to young people, preserving with new modern design solutions.
  2. Put on the shoes of your own applicants and continuously ask yourself whether your university is clear enough to them, whether it is open and friendly enough when looking at it from the Internet.
  3. Take into account the technical features of the presentation of information — adaptation for mobile devices, the use of graphic elements, etc.

The future belongs to those who aspire to the future.

Some useful branding tips from the Education Export Center

  1. See how readable the logo of your institute is on the website and in the mobile application. Perhaps he needs a simplified version for small sizes.
  2. Think about how different your logo is from other similar ones in this industry. This is important for identification.
  3. Think about whether your logo is modern, compare yourself with wellknown universities of the world and non-governmental educational organizations in Russia (for example, the British Higher School of Design). How modern do your content, photos and fonts look? Entrust the work to specialists who know the trends.
  4. Change without forgetting your identity. Leave the recognizable part and add new ones, so you will always arouse the interest of the target audience.
  5. Constantly improve the performance of the mobile application — it is the main carrier of your brand for the vast majority of the audience. Put forward hypotheses, improve the performance of applications.
  6. Attract professional photographers to events. So you will have good photos from the events. This is better than a set of icons of an incomprehensible kind. There is nothing better than real photos in a visual story about the institute. This is how you can evaluate the quality of educational facilities, dormitories and other things.
  7. Analyze your advantages over competitors and support the facts visually. Perhaps you have a beautiful hostel or ski trails in winter within walking distance from the institute (again about good photos).
  8. Show emotions, do not use the same type of photos of people huddled together — there must be a tempo rhythm. Show that you are real, natural, emotional.

As an illustration.

Once, for four years in a row, I worked at a high-tech enterprise. I was responsible for multimedia projects — educational, exhibition, presentation and others that arose on command from above in the «here and now, 24/7» mode. I am proud of this stage of my career, as people are proud of serving in the army or participating in survival games. I left the company, taking away priceless experience in the difficult conditions of a multistage system of meaningless control.This is an extremely important experience, it is actually priceless, because we managed to change a lot for the definitely better.

From the Soviet era, such enterprises inherited a glorious history full of truly great achievements. My company in the last century came up with a lot of useful electrical appliances, moved Soviet and Russian science forward. To this day, unique scientists, venerable specialists work there, among whom are people devoted to their work and the country.

But apart from this legacy, there is another one — whether it is Soviet, or maybe post—Soviet — it would be difficult to determine now. The main thing is that it is all entirely according to Griboyedov: "I am just a young man and I mustn't have my own judgement.."And then again: "I'd love to serve. Servility is what I hate.» In general, an excursion into the magical world of immortal Russian classics.

What is the reason for the complexity and stagnation at the level of marketing, presentation, marketing materials, and, accordingly, stagnation in terms of communication with young people. Russian high-tech still needs it, because they need to attract young people to work. By the way, this is also important for universities. And here attractiveness plays a huge role in the eyes of young people. Well, they won't go where the website looks like something from the 90s or at best the 2000s.

Therefore, it is important to take up this, it is important to master design thinking, which is somehow aimed at creative movement forward — preserving the best and building a competent dialogue with the younger generation.
Example #1. About design

Imagine that you have a task to launch a landing page for sales of an educational program. Or to prepare a polygraph for an international exhibition.

Or maybe someone was ordered to develop a mobile application or to design and order souvenirs.

Here is an employee at a low start — turns on unrestrained imagination, a frantic desire to create and create, remember school drawing lessons, or maybe an art course or Photoshop courses. When it seems to an employee that he or she is sophisticated enough and has impeccable taste to solve a particular design task, at this moment, please, tell them: "stop, brake, pull the handbrake"! Exhale and ask a very practical question. Do you know how design differs from free artistic creativity?

Because this gap in the understanding of the leadership of many really famous, large, well-known Russian state organizations and enterprises actually exists, it greatly hinders moving forward. For example, the management of my company from the main technical holding of the country insisted that any developer can draw something for distribution at exhibitions. We take a spontaneous employee, endow them with the tasks of a designer on pain of the death penalty and — voila — the leaflets for the exhibition are ready!

And you know, it works, but often according to the principle "can be worse, but less often". A stymied employee will do something, but not always at the checkout, so we return to design thinking and try to bring ourselves to a level where the wording of the terms of reference will be clear, the assessment of creativity will be more or less objective, and the employee who will draw marketing material will, at least, be related to industries.

Design is a technical discipline. Here, the popular "I see it this way" method with throwing a scarf over the shoulder and biting a pencil rarely works well. A good design is not a "make it beautiful" one, but the one that works for the client. "It works" means it solves a commercial problem and makes a profit.

When approving the design of anything, remember: you are not doing it for your bosses, not for yourself, not for your friends, colleagues, relatives or pets. You make it for the target consumer of your services. If you are a university, and we are talking about education here, then you do everything for the applicant, student and graduate. First of all, they should like the result of your work. They should be absolutely delighted with your university. As soon as this thesis is fully accepted, the employee gets the hand off the handbrake.

Good is when:
  1. The design is focused on the target audience. First of all, it should not be liked by you, not by the boss, but by those who use it.
  2. Before developing the design, you analyzed and thought through the functionality, made a prototype, discussed and approved it with all participants in the process.
  3. Please note that it is now relevant for young people, for trends. Be clear to them, be relevant.
Example #2. About the "distribution" and souvenirs

When ordering such materials, spending the university's money on it, we must clearly understand how long the branded item will stay with the addressee, reminding them of the existence of the university.

Here we need to decide in advance for whom we are doing this. Students — one thing, recruiters in Africa — another, partners — the third.

And every time we think about what function the object that we will give performs. Well, that is, the applicant must look at this gift one day, among others, and immediately be motivated to submit documents, the recruiter must hang something on the wall or put it on his desk so that not only he or she constantly returns to you with the result, but also somehow tacitly informs the guests of his or her office about your existence. About partners, officials, etc. — you know exactly as well as I do.

Briefly about all sorts of examples of what to give — and to whom. I received these all myself and even gave these myself at different moments of my life.

We will immediately say "no" to pocket calendars. Everyone has smartphones.

It's cool to give 20-year-olds a pocket calendar, only if it's some kind of deliberately vintage item for those who like the aesthetics and if you decided to find them at some kind of contemporary art exhibition or in an other unique and unusual place. The gift must make them want to keep it.

The situation is a little better with quarterly calendars, but it is unlikely that high—ranking managers will hang them in their office; they will rather move to the accounting department or the personnel department. An exception may be made for a calendar with views of the nature of your region. In general, it is a "no".

But then again — if you suddenly decided to recruit at some party of fans of manga, comics, or something else? It may sound ridiculous, but a huge number of our future students do attend such events, yes. And there are even universities — just imagine — that implement educational programs "Comics and Manga", where they train professional illustrators. Both in Russia and abroad. And what about the guys who want to do graphics for video and animation? At the age of 20, these guys go to such exhibitions. And there may be any unexpected experiments with distribution and marketing.
T-shirts, hoodies, raincoats and other clothing.

I think few of us want to become a free walking advertisement. Do not place giant logos on promotional clothing if you are not sure they're great, if they are not for volunteers, but for customers. The quality of the merch should be high, the logo small, it would be nice to unobtrusively disguise it in the design. Then a T-shirt or sweatshirt will not go to charity funds and will not become a rag for wiping windows. It should make a customer want to wear it. Choose an up-to-date model made of high-quality material, the color on average should fit everything, let it be gray or milky white. You can see exactly what major clothing manufacturers offer. In general, it is a "yes".

And again — let's go back to some abstract exhibition of contemporary art, comics, art objects, architecture, etc. Or imagine that you yourself are the center of attraction for young people, you yourself are doing such an event. Imagine how they are going to like your merch. It's so fine.

Hats, scarves, mittens. Wool, cotton, silk. Be sure to have them in highquality, calm "wearable" colors. No need for slippery synthetics and neon, otherwise the merch will quickly move to the trash cans, and its target audience will be slightly different than you planned.

Umbrellas are a "yes". The recommendations are the same as for the rest of the merch.

Flash drives are in great doubt. Yandex, Gmail and other cloud storages are now available to everyone. It is not necessary to carry a USB flash drive with you, you can get information through links. A solid "no". Powerbank is a "yes".
Tea, coffee. The gift will be used, and it will remind them of you for a while. Pay attention to the quality of the product itself. This is a "yes" for sure.

Not only for students, of course; this is an expensive thing. You can put it in the admissions office, in the halls where you consult applicants. Heads of large partner companies, key recruiters, a certain target audience can also use it — this will look really cool. And it works well, because it always spreads further from the offices — with stories and jokes.

I personally have seen people coming to the events through distributed small chocolates with hand-drawn comics. and even collecting wrappers. Board games. It is good if they are thematically related to your educational institution. It's worth thinking about it. It's a "yes".

Weird souvenirs, badge holders, coin holders and other objects of dubious value are likely to find peace at best in the table, at worst — well, you know where.
Pens and notebooks are suitable for inexpensive and mass distribution. There still are formal events where all this is still important. This can rarely be called creative, and the target audience is usually our age or older. Young people have lost the habit of writing totally. Too hard, not cool, for everything else there is a smartphone.

Diaries — of high-quality and in small circulation, they will most likely also be in little demand, because there are online planners. There are CRM systems, someone uses time managers and other programs.

Advertising agencies offer enough products for branding. When choosing objects, think about how they fit the majority of your audience.

A good gift is the gift that you would like to get yourself, of course. And a good design is one that makes a profit, so we need to make sure that the cost of a souvenir returns income to a triple degree.

Never will any of us have a second chance to make a first impression. Your presentation for students is a kind of show where it makes sense to move away from the traditional patterns with an academic role, a gloomy face, reading a monotonous timbre of voice about the greatness of the university and inspiring fear and awe to every 20-year-old applicant. We are entering a new round of evolution — we are open, friendly, we are decent, serious and confident, we are prestigious, we are in the lead, we are successful — be like us!

A few quotes that are always relevant, which were not invented by me, but by various eminent presenters. I'm happy to read them now:
  • Life gets complicated. Simplicity and clarity are what people need
  • Professionals in almost all fields are terrified of simplicity. The basic principle in their work becomes: «Not sure? Add more!»
  • One of the greatest mistakes of presentation is the desire to fill every centimeter of the page with something
  • Leave listeners slightly «hungry»
  • You have to make the audience feel energized
  • You don't sell things and services, you sell experience and emotions
  • Modern presentations have more in common with movies and comics than with written documents
  • Nowadays, literacy is the ability not only to read and write, but also to understand visual communication

We are now able to conduct presentations online, we have been taught by the covid reality of recent years. But everyone began to miss offline. Different presentation formats have their own technical features. Of course, all this should be known first of all to the designer, and your main activity is not related to design, but still it makes sense to dive into it at least briefly, so that you can then be able to control.

So, for online proportions we choose 16x9 — this is a wide format of monitors. There are also 4:3 — this is an old format, it is almost not used anymore. Only if you make, say, a separate version for small-format monitors, which remained in the form of mounted in the tabletops in the meeting rooms, as we have in the RSSU in the main building, which was the House of the Comintern earlier. Well, we use QR codes or hyperlinks online, because it's trending and modern, because it's convenient, and your listener will be able to use additional information on their own.
For mailing, the presentation can be displayed at 150 points, not 300, which will reduce the file size if you make a pdf. Try to limit up to 10 MB, there are nuances with email, limits, and so on that have to be taken into account.

In addition, there are many multimedia presentation formats that are slowly entering the top. Online, you can even show videos in parallel, especially if you have a broadcast director of some kind — here your fantasy is almost not limited to anything at all.

For offline (this is when you meet with the audience personally) — there are again standard 16×9 (this is a resolution, for example, 1920×1080), or ask the technical staff what size the screen is for the projector, so that there are no doubtful spaces left. If there is a projector, try to make the presentation contrasting, otherwise cheap models of devices will display something unconvincingly pale on the screen, unfortunately. Again, think about the audience: if we speak in front of students, this is one thing. And if we speak in front of the academicians of the Russian Academy of Sciences, this is something else.

Printing. Here the sizes can be same as the paper size. Remember that no one will follow your hyperlink of it is printed, and the procedure of monotonously interrupting its characters in the browser will cause the audience to commit seppuku, which we would like to avoid. QR codes — yes, please. They will point the phone at it, follow the link calmly and without nerves. We print files for 300 dots, negotiate with the printing house about the edged edges.

Why is it important to maintain university presentations in a single style solution? It is especially important to do this at large-scale events where you have several speakers from the university, each of whom demonstrates a large amount of information to the audience. For example, if you decide to hold a large forum, you should make visual communication with the audience as easy as possible.

So, the reasons for the introduction of a common style:
  1. Reduction of information noise. In short: a person on a subconscious level will be confused if the design of the hall is made in one color scheme, the presentation — in other, the distribution — in another. All this will definitely not contribute to the identification of your brand, recognition, only to confusion and defocusing of the audience's consciousness. And we need the opposite — focus on information, quick memorization of the brand, a pure sense of the speaker's emotions, atmosphere, a sense of involvement in something grandiose.
  2. Promoting the identity of the university — brand recognizeability, its modernity, uniqueness — all this gives you undeniable advantages.
  3. Concentration on content — a good color coding allows the applicant to evoke the necessary emotions and allow them to focus on the content part. When there is nothing superfluous, the important remains.
  4. Establishing communication is your dialogue with the audience. Visual images, text or speech installations, slogans that hit exactly the target. It is important.
  5. Structuring information. We need to be consistent in the narrative. The logic of the presentation allows the audience to perceive the information in a dosed manner, to assimilate it holistically and fully. This is pure physics — there is a signal source, and there is a receiver. And noise in the middle. The better you work on the presentation, the better the signal reaches from the source to the receiver.
  6. Compliance with logic. This is important!

I can say it from my own experience. By creating the online exhibition of Russian universities RED Expo, we tried to make it the most effective tool, including from the point of view of visual communication.

Briefly on the part of the visual: we have developed a logo based on the image of a square academic cap. This image is read instantly, which is important in the conditions of the Internet. We haven't talked about this yet, but to keep a person at the screen — where they came to watch the broadcast or just visited your site — you have 5-7 seconds. Then they either understand everything, stay and plunge into the information field, or reject the information, close the tab and go look for something more suitable for them.

Therefore, we chose the most intensive speed of communication with the applicant — even if there were associative first-level images, but they were clear, intelligible and fast to understand. The square academic cap is like this, it's clear right away — it's about education, there's no time to explain longer.

Since the covid time, when we deployed exhibitions against the background of the unclear situation in the world, was not distinguished by a positive dynamic attitude, but rather by the decadence of quite large segments of the population, we chose to be bright, persistent, life-affirming, claiming leadership. Thus we chose the color scheme and design. Despite the fact that calm tones are traditionally used, this is exactly what worked for the audience — people needed and still need affirmative and decisive answers to questions about what they should do in life, how to proceed. And this is the case when muted, uncertain tones would not be so effective.

All presentation materials for our participating universities are made in a single style, according to a universal structure, they provide simple, understandable communication and uniform presentation conditions for all participants. We completely leveled the factor of the difference in the competencies of university designers in the field, because the responsibility for visual communication and KPIs, for the number of leads and their quality lay not on someone, but on us directly. Therefore, we often argued with international experts when they persistently did not want to fit into our proposals for a single style of broadcasts. Often persuaded them. Although, sometimes we were not successful.

The story is exactly the same with the landing pages, with one exception — they are calmer in color scheme, because there is no speaker here, the user is left to themselves and the stand. Study as much as you want already on the basis of our emotional and vivid presentations. Read more texts, get more information, be aware, make a decision, send an application. And at the same time, everything is done in a single style, of course.

Now you can see how the landing page and the presentation visually work together. Let me repeat, design is a technical science, in a general style solution it serves as a navigator at the subconscious level, color coding during a long broadcast subconsciously «tells» the audience where the necessary elements and sections are located, causes the emotions we need — allows the audience to concentrate on the content in the data stream.

The universal structure of the presentation on the example of the RED Expo exhibition. We have divided all the information into sections about each of the universities.

Remember that the broadcast is a couple of hours at least. This is quite a large amount of information. In order for a student to develop an objective judgment, it was necessary to adjust the continuous flow of information to some general standards so that everyone could understand — so, this university has these and those programs, this university has a better dormitory, and here student life is cool. And the next one will say, "I just want to live in Moscow or in St. Petersburg, or in Sochi, or in the Far East, because the region is remarkably beautiful". Thus, we left them the space to make decisions based on the pure content of the university, not on the basis of design or any individual decorations, which is very important.

  • The title page is a slide with a photo of the main building. This is the image of the university, its face, the first thing that impresses.
  • A brief description.
  • Place on the map of Russia. It is important to show exactly where people will live, and where the capital is located. In the course of working with the audience, this factor was one of the most frequently clarified by the public.
  • Facts and figures, photos of buildings. The numbers illustrate the scale well. Here, by the way, decision-making is not always unambiguous. Someone wants to go to a big university. Someone — to a small one, where every foreigner is given more attention. But you need to show the scale.
  • The list of programs with visual communication — who you can become, how much it costs, you should immediately submit a beautiful picture. This strengthens their confidence in their choice. It attracts, it answers the question of "what I want to become".
  • About specifics: yes, you see, there should be data about the level, cost, duration of education. Basic set, nothing extra.
  • Additional sections, if there is a chance to illustrate them well: sports, new buildings, special projects, student life
  • City. We talk about our country, Russia, we love the country, we call here because it is better here than anywhere else.
  • Contacts, QR codes and anything. No problems in direct communication.

Summing up, I will say, how cool it would be if you and I were rock'n'roll speakers. Why? Because it seems cool to young people. It's wonderful when you see the burning eyes of someone who is talking to you. And I sincerely envy people who know how to keep the audience in suspense where they are actually given material of a nonentertaining nature. Top Tips:
  1. Speak to the point, but as simply as possible. Remember, we have already read with you about the fact that life is difficult, and our task is to simplify it, give answers, and not ask new questions.
  2. Your emotions are important and needed. Be friendly and open.
  3. State it consistently.
  4. Radiate confidence, such that your listeners would want to become you immediately now.
  5. Be attractive. You are fine, of course, by default.
  6. Be ready to enter into a dialogue.