Remember the NSA slide redesign that got so much attention in the press a few weeks back? Well recently I had the opportunity to chat with Emiland De Cubber, the man behind this viral self-promo piece, and I was super-inspired to see more of his work, and to learn about his methods. What’s more, he was nice enough to let me share his thoughts with you in the form of an interview.

You can view the redesign below, and then keep scrolling to read the interview. Emiland, I salute you. Even if I forget about NSA and Prism, and I return to my false sense of online-privacy, one thing I will not forget is your great presentation design work.

What is your design background and how did you get into presentation design?

I haven’t any background in design. I have an engineering background, completed by a business school master in digital economy. Most of my skills are self-taught and I learn with the bibles of Nancy Duarte and Garr Reynolds, and the presentations of Jesse Desjardins.

I created my first presentation at 14 years old for a local skatepark project and I have always been the “presentation guy” at school. So I got into the presentation business when I realized that executives and presenters do not know presentation design and that graphic designers hate designing presentations :)

I think your NSA PowerPoint redesign was a really smart self-promotional move. It was simple, direct, and full of humor and personality. Have you used this method to get work in the past?

Sure, I love so-called “newsjacking”. Last year, I created a presentation (below) using stills form the movie “The Artist” just before the Oscars ceremony, to capitalize on media attention.

How has the response been? Have you attracted any other clients since posting?

It’s amazing. I’m inundated with requests (200+) and still haven’t succeed to answer everyone as presentation design is not my full-time job (I’m social media consultant at Tigerlily).

How long have you been freelancing and what do you enjoy the most about it?

I’m freelancing for two years now. What I enjoy the most is the freedom to choose your projects.

I noticed you are using Slideshare to socialize your presentation. What other tools do you enjoy using in your day to day work?

All the presentations are made on Keynote with some help of Illustrator for symbols. But I always start with paper because a good presentation is not made of software, but ideas.

Do you have a solid process when you work with presenters? Or do you find yourself customizing the way you work for each one?

Each client is different so I don’t think there is only way to work with them. This is one of the main advantages of hiring freelancers : you have a direct relationship with one guy, who is both the designer and the project manager.

What are some of your favorite places to look, for creative inspiration?

I love Slideshare, Noteandpoint, Dribbble, Designer News,…people are amazing.

What other creative avenues do you explore? What is your dream-project?

I also do some videos and logos from time to time. My dream-project is to create my own font!

What is your working space like? Do you have a designated studio space, or are you more nomadic?


Surrounded by Inspiration

I work at home (on the couch next to this Carousel : or sometimes on a terrasse in summer.

What would the slideware of your dreams consist of?

I think current slideware are good, but we still need design software usable for humans : Photoshop is overly complicated. I would need a graphic software more like Sketch from Bohemian Coding (vector-based and easier to use).

Do you have any advice for other designers out there?

Keep changing the corporate world, one slide at a time.