Design Thinking Presentation Guidelines

Whatever specific topic your group chooses to present, you must address the general idea of Design Thinking. Your presentation to the class must demonstrate your ability to draw conclusions based on your research and understanding of the topic.screen shot 2019-01-17 at 3.21.03 pm
First, Establish CONTEXT
  • What were the underlying circumstances?
  • Establish the overall spirit of time and place or Zeitgeist for the specific development/innovation you are going to talk about. You must be able to show how that Zeitgeist affected the specific development/innovation.
  • Establish the relevant technologies of the time.
  • Establish the relevant belief systems, religion or prevailing attitude.

Secondly, Who or what from the zeitgeist had the most, or greatest, influences on the innovation person or development (the topic of your talk)?

  • Look for reasons why the design innovation occurred.

Format of your Presentation

  • Do not do a book report. You will need to mention dates and locations, etc. as a part of setting the context, but you must then tell us how that information is relevant.
  • Your presentation may be in the form of a Powerpoint, a multi-page PDF, video, website or other form of slide show. You may also choose to bring in actual examples or additional artifacts to explain your thoughts.
  • You need to be innovative in your delivery of your information

The Goal

  • Your main purpose is to reveal a unique aspect of Design Thinking that was influential to the innovations, inventions, style or contributions of your chosen subject.
  • You must draw a conclusion(s) that indicates what or how the persons contributions have left an impact. You are looking for unique evidence to support this or as an example of this.


  • You should organize the material that you present so that it follows some sort of logical order or sequence. We can use the well-established structure that is used for writing research papers to guide us in organizing an oral presentation that is research oriented. That organization typically includes the following specific divisions shown below, but require some modification for oral presentations (listed below that):
  1. Abstract
  2. Introduction including a Thesis Statement, a sentence which states what you hope to prove.
  3. Method—Discuss how the data was collected, how transcribed, do not be personal (e.g. I did this, etc.) It is better to use the passive voice to put the focus on what was done rather than who did it.
  4. Results
  5. Discussion of the data providing the proof of your thesis statement. You need to display the data/examples.
  6. Development of the topic. This is the main body of the paper. Connect the facts, examples to your thesis.
  7. Conclusion/Summary
  8. Reference List
  9. Add bibliography (References if using APA style)
  10. Put raw data in an appendix


Oral Report Guidelines


Every presentation should have a thesis statement. Tell the audience in the first minute or so what you plan to do in the presentation. Often this will be exactly the same thesis used in a written research paper that is associated with your presentation, but sometimes the presentation will have a narrower focus due to time limitations.


Typically a scholarly presentation at a professional meeting is 20 minutes. Class oral reports may be 20 minutes, but they also may be as short as 5 minutes. Make sure you understand the time limits. You must practice your written presentation and time it. It is awkward and will negatively affect your grade if you are stopped because of time limits and cannot include your conclusion.

Development of the topic

If your presentation is 15-20 minutes, you need to demonstrate that you are familiar with the scholarly sources you have consulted. For your main points, clearly identify the source of your information; this does not mean that you need to mention a source for every statement you make. Organize your points to create a clear and logical discussion. As you develop your topic, make sure that you are creating a persuasive discussion.

Reading your presentation

The model for an oral presentation is what happens at a scholarly meeting: the presentation is read. You should not use as a model a classroom lecture, which has a less structured quality so an instructor can have discussion. In writing your presentation, use clear language and clear sentences. Often shorter sentences work better in this format.


Many times artist’s names, technical terms, and foreign language terms used in art history are difficult to pronounce. Practice these words so you can say them with confidence when giving your presentation. If you don’t find the pronunciation in a standard dictionary, you might try “googling” “pronounce X.” Consult your professor about the pronunciation of foreign names and terms if you have not found another authoritative source.


Presentations in art history should be about images. When you plan a presentation, think about what the imagery will be, and then construct your text to support the imagery. If you find you have long paragraphs about “background” and introductory material, unrelated to an image on the screen, you should rethink how effective that is. It is wise to have something in your written document reminding you when to change slides.

Quality of Imagery

Get the best quality images you can locate. ARTstor is a great resource, but the quality of images within it ranges from excellent to very poor. Don’t just assume the first one that pops up in a search is the best one. Some museum websites have pretty good images. Scanned images from books generally do not look as good as those from the internet.

Variety of Imagery

Think about how the layout of your slides will help to make your points. Use details beside the whole work, or put two works you want to compare side by side. Use the Powerpoint tools to do things like circle details on slides.

Quality of Powerpoints

In making your Powerpoint presentation, “less is more” in terms of slide design is best. The emphasis should be on the art images. Use a black background, and put labeling information in white lettering at 18 pt. Avoid fancy backgrounds, strange fonts, and anything else that would detract from the imagery. Check spelling and dates as carefully as you would in a written paper.

First and last slides

Unless your instructor tells you otherwise, your first slide should list the title of your presentation, your name, and the date. You do not need any special slide at the end saying something like “The End” or “Thank You.” Your last slide should be the image or images you most want the audience to remember from your presentation.

Check your presentation in the classroom

Whether you bring your laptop to the classroom, use a flashdrive, or email your presentation to yourself, always check out the classroom equipment in advance, and have a “plan B” if something doesn’t work. Some images from the internet are in a compressed format that will not open on the classroom computer. Sometimes presentations made on Mac computers don’t work properly on the PCs in the classroom. If you are planning to include something taken from the internet, such as YouTube, allow enough time to move between the internet and Powerpoint during your presentation.

Presenting yourself

Be on time to the class period in which your presentation is to take place. If you are late or absent, do not assume your instructor can reschedule your presentation; you may end up getting a zero for the presentation. Present yourself professionally. Use appropriate language, not slang. Do not chew gum. Do not announce how nervous you are. Speak clearly and slowly so you can be understood. Practicing in advance is essential. When appropriate, use the laser pointer to show the audience a detail that is important.