Presentation of the book “Binational Urbanism – On the Road to Paradise” with standard ISO sizes at the West Gallery in Den Haag

Long Live the Standards!
By Bernd Upmeyer

I must admit that we actually never use the presentation programme PowerPoint in our office. The only time I have ever used PowerPoint was during my studies in the 1990s, when the program was still new and by a lot of people considered to be state of the art, even a synonym for presentation. But I am not representative and I am sure many people still are using PowerPoint today. Because whenever I take a train these days I witness a lot of people working with it, especially people who work for large commercial companies, preparing their presentations on the way to their clients. One can see them typing texts in the centre of the page, usually squeezed between a large company logo above and a not much smaller presentation title below, as is typical PowerPoint behaviour. Since my time as an architecture student, I was not used to integrating texts into my presentations, or at least not texts alone, but rather full page bitmap or vector graphics such as JPEGs or EPSs. This meant that all the features that PowerPoint provided gradually became unnecessary and redundant for me. Thus, already by that time, I started creating pages directly into application software that could manage, integrate, and organize different files into a sequence of pages in a very simple PDF format.

Ever since that time I have been creating presentations that way, without PowerPoint. And since my office increasingly became involved with the creation of books, magazines, and competition posters, we started using more adaptable and complex publishing software that could handle all our different graphical outputs easier as well. But the final product of all of this work is still a PDF that we usually produce in standard ISO sizes such as A3 or A4, and with the typical aspect ratio of square root of 2, or approximately 1:1.4142. We are doing this as most of our clients – whether they are private companies, municipalities, magazines, museums, or cultural organizations – usually require these dimensions and sizes. But we like these sizes too, because they make our presentation pages extremely flexible and versatile, as we can use them easily for all of our different presentation formats without the need for major changes, whether for books, presentations, or lectures. Additionally, they can be printed easily, since most of the printers work with ISO sizes too. Thus, we usually produce either A3-sized pages with slightly more information, for example larger text, so they can be printed and used as A4s too; or we produce A4s, with slightly less information, that work as well as A3s. Therefore, the presentation pages we show here in this book all have the exact aspect ratio of standard ISO sizes. Thus, when DAMDI asked us to dimension the pages for this publication at least 280mm wide and 229mm high, we immediately chose to provide them with a standard aspect ratio, namely 324mm wide and 229mm high.

Title: Long Live the Standards!
Author: Bernd Upmeyer
Date: January 2017
Type: Commissioned article
Publications: Presentation for Architecture
Publisher: DAMDI Publishing
Location: Seoul, South Korea
Pages: 736