From Default to Dazzling: Creating Visual Evaluation Reports that Shine, December 2024

Instructor: Sheila Robinson

We create evaluation reports for our audiences. Both our Program Evaluation Standards and AEA Guiding Principles for Evaluators compel us to report evaluation findings in ways that are honest, accurate, and actionable. Well-designed reports that meet these standards of quality and ethics are more likely to be both read and used.

This is a technical course on report design to promote evaluation use. We will go beyond Word and Excel defaults to leverage the ease and flexibility of PowerPoint*, applying basic principles of graphic design, visual communication, and data visualization. The goal is to create visually appealing and compelling information products—reports, executive summaries, one-pagers, infographics—that invite readers in, encourage them to think more deeply about evaluation results, and ultimately inspire action.

*Principles will apply to Keynote or Google Slides as well, but all content, techniques, and exercises will be presented in PowerPoint.

The course is delivered in two virtual instructor-led modules. Classes will take place online via  Zoom. Participants who successfully complete both modules will receive certificates of completion at the end of the course. Read about each of the modules below.

We hope to see you online soon! Please contact us with any questions at

Module 1: Laying the Foundation with Design Principles
December 9, 12 p.m.–3 p.m. ET

In this module, participants will explore key reasons to develop more visual communication and lay the foundation for an effective visual report. Participants will learn fundamental principles of graphic design, how we can apply them in our work, and how to align reports with organizational branding and style guides. Participants will learn the PowerPoint tools and techniques necessary to set up a custom report – adjusting slide size, determining font and color themes, creating custom layouts, etc.

Module 2: Communicating with data and images
December 11, 12 p.m.–3 p.m. ET

In this module, participants will explore communicating with data and images, exploring best practices in data visualization and infographics. The class will look at sourcing high quality photography and how to manipulate images with artistic effects in PowerPoint to align with report style and organizational brand. 

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