Nancy Duarte, visual thinking book author and consultant, earlier this week launched Diagrammer, a searchable database of 4,000 business diagram templates that you can purchase and download for only 99 cents each. These high-quality diagrams can be downloaded as PowerPoint slides containing editable objects, making this gigantic online database the perfect presentation-building companion.
Diagrammer is an outgrowth of the taxonomy Duarte first presented in her popular book, Slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations. This led to a series of workshops, where attendees were given these templates as a take-home resource. They proved to be so popular that she decided to offer them as a stand-alone service.
Diagrammer’s database is divided into 5 main types of diagrams:
- Segment, and
Duarte and her team have concluded, after many hours of research and refinement, that these 5 types encompass every type of relationship between information.
An easy to use resource
As you would expect from one of the world’s leading visual thinkers, the Diagrammer database is very easy to search, and provides visual resources and clear instructions to help you find the exact diagram you need, quickly and easily.
If you enter the code “3forfree,” you can select and download any three diagrams at no cost. I did so, and found the entire end-to-end process to be very easy. The diagrams download in the native PowerPoint PPT format – no zip files to unpack here. That’s refreshing!
I opened one of the diagrams in PowerPoint, a set of right-pointing chevrons that could be used to depict a multi-stage business process. I was able to scale the diagram, adjust its color and border properties and edit the text and font settings. These well-designed diagram objects make it easy to customize any Diagrammer diagram to your needs.
Diagrammer is a perfect fit for the busy executive who needs to add visual flair to his or her presentation, or who needs to explain a complex concept in a simple, high-impact visual format – but doesn’t want to mess around with manipulating a complex, hard to learn diagramming program and select a set of complementary shapes, colors and fonts that play well together. They just need to create a great-looking diagram – now. Diagrammer is an excellent fit for this kind of usage scenario.
One drawback: Only PPT file format
The only disappointment, in my opinion, is that these excellent diagrams are only downloadable in the PowerPoint format. I use diagrams frequently in my job and for this blog. Often, I need to integrate them into web pages or Word documents. I experimented with this, but discovered that you could only paste it as one object – not as a collection of individual, editable pieces. If you can make all of your modifications in PowerPoint and then copy and paste your customized diagram into Word, this may work for you.
I sent an e-mail to Duarte’s diagram support e-mail address, and received a prompt and friendly reply, informing me that Duarte doesn’t have any plans to offer this massive image database in formats other than PowerPoint. They did suggest a work-around: Export your PowerPoint slide as a PNG image. I tried this, but unfortunately, when I opened the PNG file in Adobe Fireworks (a web graphics editing program), it only appeared as a single bitmapped object. As with Microsoft Word, you could customize the diagram you have downloaded from Diagrammer in PowerPoint, export it as an image file and then resize it in the image editing program of your choice. But this isn’t as elegant as I had hoped for.
Diagrammer is remarkable in two respects: First, the sheer number of diagrams she is offering right from the start. No building up to this quantity in phases, over several months’ time. 4,000 diagrams now – at launch – BAM!
The other thing that’s notable is the exceptionally low price per diagram – only US$0.99. Duarte could have easily charged $5 to $10 per diagram, and few people would have flinched. Clearly, she wants to get a large number of people using this service and benefiting from it. Based upon the buzz it generated when it launched yesterday, I believe this service is going to do very well.
Here’s hoping Duarte will consider offering these excellent diagrams in other formats at a future date. After all, her staff probably used Adobe Illustrator or a similar program to create them.