Communicate Visually with Illustrations

In our Communicating Visually with PowerPoint Design Series, we have reviewed incorporating photographs and infographics into our slides. Illustrations and icons can be just as useful in visually communicating your ideas to your audience. While PowerPoint and Microsoft Word include a Clip Art library, be wary of choosing art that may not be appropriate for your presentation. Always consider the audience prior to choosing imagery, whether you are lecturing in a classroom or presenting to peers.

Principle #2c: Communicate Visually with Illustrations

For a higher-ed audience, opt for clean, sophisticated clip art with a professional quality


Using an appropriate style for the clip art you choose creates support for your credibility. Choosing the wrong art can cause the audience to question the validity of your statements. See the following comparison–

Clip art credit: Phillip Martin Clip Art



The top image with the cartoon-like clip art may be appropriate for a K-5 music lesson, while the bottom image is better suited for a higher-ed course. Using the top image for a presentation to an audience of college students is out of place and can make the topic appear comical.

Resources for Illustrations

Finding high-quality, free illustrations can be challenging. This may be an area where you have to purchase inexpensive stock art to find exactly what you need. Consider these resources: