Do’s and Don’ts when Using Cartoons

Posted by Kristin Arnold on February 23, 2011

Back from the National Speakers Association UnConference in Atlanta at the brand new Loews Hotel.  Amazing conference, great vibe and fabulous food.  What more could you ask for?

Met with one the exhibiters, Nancy Terrell at Cartoon Resource and thought I would pass along her list of do’s and don’ts when using cartoons:

Cartoons and humorous illustrations can be a great asset for speakers and authors.  Below are some do’s to think about when commissioning cartoons:

  • Do expect the cartoon company to take the time to understand your platform and objectives;
  • Do expect the cartoon to explain content, thus allowing you to have less text on the page;
  • Do consider color, not just black & white.  Color grabs attention bringing more “zip” and “wow” to the discussion – it’s more contemporary;
  • Do expect the cartoon company to do the search for you at no additional charge.

When it comes to using cartoons in your work:

  • Do trust the cartoon to help you change the informational rhythm of  your talk;
  • Do make sure you have enough white space around the image to make it pop off the page;
  • Do keep your text to a minimum on the cartoon page. Let the cartoon make the point for you;
  • Do get a cartoon file big enough to use in both Powerpoint and printed materials; a 300 dpi file;
  • Do make sure that the cartoon you are buying has the right to use it in all of your materials-such as presentation, handouts, books, website;
  • Don’t assume your purchase of cartoon rights extends beyond one-time use;
  • Don’t click through the cartoon page too fast. Let your audience fully absorb the tie-in between cartoon and salient point;
  • Don’t be afraid to use color. It catches the audiences’ attention faster.

The primary ‘do’ is to expect rapid and on-target cartoons and reasonable pricing when you work with a cartoon/humorous illustration company. Expect the cartoons to be clever AND on-target.

Choose cartoons that could have been created by you if you could draw or if the cartoonist really knew your topic and your presentation inside out. The right cartoon is an underline for your presentation points.  It hits the bullseye. You can see your message going in through the eyes of the audience as well as the ears. And if it’s really clever, you can take a few seconds to have a sip of water before the laughter subsides.

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