Metaphors Matter – The Analysis of Prezi in Search of Visual-Verbal Metaphors


  • Anna Szlavi



In April 2014, Prezi announced that its “zooming” presentation software reached40 million users worldwide. With 30 million last October, Prezi has a record of 55,000new signups every day in the last months. To explain its skyrocketing popularity, founderspoint to the increasing global need for effective communication, which Prezi fittinglyserves with its versatility, dynamism, and visual design. In short, thinking and communicationwere given space, or rather, a spatial dimension. Prezi offers a blank canvas, a“virtual whiteboard”, for its users to fill it with the ideas they want to share; however,many presenters choose the pre-designed templates as bases of their presentations. Thetemplates not only create a framework for the presentations, like a stage, a soccer pitch,or a road, their perculiarity is that they invoke basic metaphors, like LIFE IS A PLAY,STRATEGIES ARE TACTICS, or LIFE IS A JOURNEY. The fundamental idea behind Prezi,namely, that COMMUNICATION IS STORYTELLING, is already a metaphor. My presentationwill demonstrate, through the analysis of popular templates, that one key reason whyPrezi is increasingly popular is its use of metaphors. Cognitive linguistics and relateddisciplines revealed decades ago that metaphor is a core conceptual phenomena, whichgoverns thinking and communication.

Author Biography

Anna Szlavi


Anna Szlávi
doctoral candidate, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest

Anna Szlávi received her Master’s Degree in American Studies, with a specialization in cognitive linguistics, and in Italian Studies, with a focus on Neo-Latin languages, at Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest. After spending two semesters at Central European University, Budapest, researching gender studies, she is now a PhD candidate of cultural linguistics at ELTE. In 2015 she is a Fulbright visiting researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. Her interdisciplinary dissertation is concerned with the visual communication of advertisements, concentrating on the peculiarities of gender representation. As a graphics enthusiast, Anna gives talks and workshops on Prezi and presentational design.