Why I heart PowerPoint


My name is Fritha.

I am an illustrator and designer with extensive experience in using PowerPoint. Yes, you read that right. I'm a designer and I use PowerPoint. Please read on! I began using PowerPoint when I was paying my way through my illustration Masters at Central St Martins. It was during the 2007 recession and I needed work that was flexible so I could attend classes. When I had applied to CSM I did not know a recession was about to hit. You simply do not turn down a place at CSM so I needed a plan.

I already had 5 years of experience as a designer working in-house for a property company in the City called Jarvis UPP. In that job I had created lots of vector illustration for various campaigns. Everyone was falling in love with Adobe Illustrator at the time. I also have a degree in business so I had extensive experience of using PowerPoint. When a recruitment agent suggested a PowerPoint job I groaned but financially I though it sounded like a good idea. The combination of being able to create vector illustrations and of having experience in PowerPoint proved to be a winning combination. Within a couple of years I had an abundance of work.

I went from strength to strength. I have been asked to create work for the likes of Glenfiddich, Sipsmith, Jo Malone, Burberry and many other brands. I have come across many designers and art directors who sniffily tell me I'm not a "real designer." For a while I listened to them. Perhaps I am not, I thought. However, I was having fun. I was working directly with the heads of businesses, on interesting projects and being challenged, not just in terms of my design but technically also.

PowerPoint started to seep into my personal projects. I discovered David Byrne of Talking Heads who is a hero of mine had created fine art using PowerPoint. I use a lot of punk type methods in creating my illustration work and I had been into punk when I was a teenager. I realised that there were similarities. Anyone can pick up PowerPoint and use it. Just like Sid Vicious with his bass guitar I started bashing out visual noise using PowerPoint to see what would happen.

Since completing my Masters in Illustration at CSM I have created silk scarves and use PowerPoint as part of my process. I went from feeling as if I was taking the worst job in the world to realizing I had stumbled upon the perfect niche. I now create work in PowerPoint, InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator and various other software. Ironically I am being asked more and more to do traditional design and art direction. However, I find that my time using PowerPoint has given me a different working process. I often create using a particular type of grid which produces a very unique look. I have a lot of work that is animated that I haven't used for any projects yet and would like to create VJ animations or music video using the techniques I have developed.  I use Adobe for much of my work now but I still heart PowerPoint.