Last week was the 61st Grammy Awards and while we’ve seen boycotts, some snubbing, and all kinds of drama, one thing was clear – disruptors in PowerPoint are making all the waves.
The biggest category this year was primarily Hip Hop, which wasn’t even recognised as a separate performance category until 1989 or an album category until 1995. It’s the youngest genre of music and by 2017 became the highest-selling genre (combined with R&B) in the US.
The Grammy’s reluctance to recognise Hip Hop echoes a lot of old guard’s lack of foresight and inability to change with the times. Hip Hop is also one of the few genres to embrace on-demand streaming as the genre saw many newcomers gain traction without the assistance of major labels. Case in point, Rap Album of the Year was won by stripper turned artist – Cardi B and her debut Invasion of Privacy. This was the first time a woman has won the category, and many were shocked that someone who had only been in the music industry for two or three years was gaining this kind of recognition, especially since she first gained traction through viral online videos.
Sure, but what does that have to do with presentation design?
All this boils down to a few simple factors: those that embrace change are the most likely to lead it; and institutions usually take much longer to adapt, which means they often get left behind by industry frontrunners that disrupt the game. Just because an institution has been around for decades, does not mean they will continue to define the industry.
Graphic designers hate what we do, which gives us the impression that we’re on the right path. Mediocrity is never met with adversity – but the old guard despises the disruptive. We’ve found an untapped corner of the market and we’re dismantling people’s perceptions of what’s possible through PowerPoint.
PowerPoint has been dismissed by so many for various reasons – it’s simplicity; the fact it comes free (and often unasked for) on most PCs; because other design software offers a host of features and is supported by training and education institutions around the globe. All of this is rubbish, so let me breakdown these stereotypes…
PowerPoint: the enemy of designers
PowerPoint is the cheat code for design (argue with me if I’m wrong). Graphic designers get angry because they didn’t figure this out themselves, particularly since they’ve been familiar with PowerPoint since childhood or adolescence, depending on when they first jumped on a Windows computer. PowerPoint is intuitive in a way like no other graphic design software – it was designed for amateurs, which is why graphic designers often dismiss it. The simplicity PowerPoint allows the least tech-savvy to create and customise in ways graphic designers spent years learning.
PowerPoint is a disruptor like Hip Hop – it’s been dismissed by the industry because it makes things look easy. Other genres of music shunned Hip Hop because it borrowed elements from everywhere to create something new, but slowly the world realised that the creativity of the genre is surpassing the rest of the industry. PowerPoint is in the same place – those that know, get it; and those that don’t, dismiss it due to fear of change.
Forget those years of watching dry PowerPoint presentations in school or at work (bad Hip Hop doesn’t mean you dismiss the whole genre). The capacity to design through PowerPoint is only surpassed by its ability to customise and tweak as you go. This is why graphic designers are salty about the software – they give clients a concrete product while we offer a solution blueprint that clients can use and reuse as they see fit. It’s the whole dichotomy between giving a man a fish or teaching a man to fish – graphic designers can offer up a serving of smoked salmon, but that only lasts as long at the meal; we’re here to give you the boat, the fishing rod, the bait, and the skills to open your own seafood restaurant.