Welcome to a huge resource on Presentation design.
And let me be clear about something:
This is NOT another article loaded with advice like “be consistent” or “use high-quality visuals” (LOL). Instead, this guide is jam-packed with practical tips, techniques and ideas (all illustrated with real examples) to help you design irresistible PowerPoint presentations from start to finish.
Let’s jump right in…
The Definitive Guide to Killer Presentation Design
This guide is divided into three parts:
Part. 1: Presentation Design Principles. From choosing the perfect colors and fonts to leveraging simple design best practices (like “Grid systems”), you’ll learn exactly how to start your presentations off the right foot.
Part. 2: Presentation Design Tips. In this section, you’ll learn how to improve the structure and clarity of any presentations (and I’ll also share powerful data visualization tips so you can present numbers in a non boring way…).
Part. 3: Advanced Presentation Ideas & Techniques. From creating gorgeous text effects and colorful shapes to using emojis, you’ll learn creative design ideas and techniques that’ll make you (and your slides) look amazing.
Let’s do it!
Presentation Design Best Practices and Principles
Here are some of the things you will learn in this section:
The 3 questions you MUST answer before starting to design your presentation
How to create effective, audience-tailored color themes (including free tools and resources)
The proven, most readable fonts for your presentations
Simple principles of what makes something beautiful or functional (learn how to use “grid systems” or the CRAP principle to your advantage)
Get this 100% editable PPT illustration (along with many more) here
Use This 3-Item Checklist First
Let’s be honest:
Great design won’t cut it if your presentation hasn’t be prepared effectively first. So to ensure you’re starting off on the right foot, make sure you have identified:
Use This Color Meaning Table to Create a Consistent Presentation Theme
Your presentation colors should be:
Below, you’ll find a research-backed table that details all color meanings and associations.
Use it to find the colors that work for your presentation:
Color Inspiration Tools
So you’ve chosen your color theme, that’s awesome.
But that’s not enough:
How can you actually guarantee you’ve made a good job at integrating your colors in your slide deck?
There are two ways to make sure you’ve done a good job at “sprinkling” your chosen colors in your presentation…
Embed a Friendly Color “Reminder” in Each Slide
Embed a shape that includes the colors you’ve chosen for your presentation at the bottom corner of each slide.
Create rectangle shapes, color each of them with the colors you chose for your slide deck, group all your shapes, and copy paste it on each of your slides.
Here’s an example:
Use the Slide Sorter Tool to Ensure Your Color Theme Is Rock-Solid
View your deck in a “slide sorter” (PowerPoint) or “light table” (Keynote) mode and double check if you – or even better, if a colleague – can clearly identify the most used colors.
It should be a no-brainer.
Here’s an example for the this pitch deck template:
In this slide deck, it’s super clear that the theme is made out of three primary colors:
Use One of These Most Legible Fonts
What font should you actually use?
Well, let’s take a look at what the data says:
Use Grid Systems
Grids are the invisible glue that holds a design together. Using them will help you design professional looking, well-structured slides for your presentations.
Here are proven grid models you can use to organize your slides:
Grids help you position both text and visuals more precisely because they’re providing an invisible spine to which they can align.
Here’s an example:
Here’s the grid model I used to design this business slide:
Apply the CRAP Principle
There are not a hundred but one principle of design that I want you to get under your belt.
The CRAP principle: Contrast, Repetition, Alignment, Proximity.
Contrast is all about making things stand out. It can be achieved using three major tactics: manipulation of space (near / far, empty / filled), color choices (dark vs. light / cool vs. warm) and text (typography style / bold vs. narrow).
The AI Rush by Jean-Baptiste Dumont.
Repetition, for instance making a headline and a sub-message the same color, makes scanning your deck much easier. Repetition helps you create a cohesive look to your presentation.
Alignment. Newspapers use this to great effect. Aligning a whole bunch of elements with one another makes them scan faster. Alignment makes things easier to read.
Proximity means that things are associated with one another. Let me explain that for you: the closer things are, the more they are associated The farther they are away from one another, the less they are associated.
Customize the Size of Your Slides
Standard presentation slides are usually sized 10 inches (width) * 7.5 inches (height). Re-size yours 12*7.5 (for PowerPoint) or Widescreen 16.9 (for Keynote).
The idea here is to have more horizontal space, meaning more freedom to design your slides:
Here’s how to do it:
Presentation Design Tips
Here’s what you will learn in this section:
The 4 “types” of slides you need in most business presentations and how to design each of them
Principles and strategies (like the “HSB” formula) to craft slides people can easily understand
Simple shape and color effects you can leverage to make stunning slides
Data visualization techniques to present figures the right way (these all are tips you can implement right way)
And much more!
Use These 3 Steps to Design Your Presentation Title Slide
Short on time?
Use the technique below to design beautiful cover slides fast:
Here’s an example:
On the left slide, there’s a great contrast between the background and text. However, the different elements of text are of the same size, making it difficult to scan it.
On the right slide, we’re using different font sizes to create a clear contrast between important and secondary information.
The color of the text is based on the color we chose for the slide background:
Use the HSB Formula to Make Crystal Clear Body Slides
For corporate decks and most business-world presentations, the content slides (a.k.a. body slides) will very likely be broken down in 3 core parts: Headlines, sub-headline, body text.
(Hence the HSB Formula)
Now, let’s see what each part actually include (and take a look at a specific example after that)…
As you can see, the HSB formula is quite simple to remember.
Now, let’s take a look at an example:
Headline: Sales Breakdown by Region (Q4)
Subheadline: China accounts for 52% of total sales over the period, representing an increase of 35% YoY
Content: Sales chart details and explanation
Embed Transition Slides
This works especially well for long-form presentations:
Investor decks, business plans, webinars, annual reports, and so on…
Adding transition slides allow you to clearly separate the different sections of your slide deck, while helping your audience identify where they are in your presentation. You can add crystal-clear transition slides by simply highlighting the text of the section you are about to cover next.
China Internet Report 2018 by Edith Yeung
This transition slide allows the audience to instantly get two things:
- They’re just about to start the first section (“China at Glance”)
- The presentation has 3 sections.
Another way to design break slides for your presentations is to use plain background colors. And just insert headlines that refer to the topic you’re about to cover next.
Working with Big Data by Seth Familian
Add a Closing “CTA” Slide
Close your presentation with a clear call-to-action (which is what you want your audience to do when the presentation is over).
Here are three examples of CTAs:
- Q&A (if you’re doing a webinar or teaching a class to students for instance)
- Contact Us Today at 000-000-0000 (if you’re sending a sales deck to prospects by email)
- Click Here to Learn More About [Topic/Product] (if you’re driving traffic to your website to capture leads)
Here’s an example of a call-to-action by Growth Tribe, a training company that offers marketing and artificial intelligence courses:
Now, if you don’t want your audience to do anything specific, just drop a “Thank You!” along with your name and contact info (email, website, Twitter ID, etc).
Use Simple Words Everyone Can Understand
Unless you’re making a technical presentation geared toward a technical audience, use simple words people can understand.
See it this way:
People shouldn’t scratch their heads to try to figure out what you were trying to say. They shouldn’t have to think about it. It should be crystal clear.
Now, take a look at the different between a text that’s hard to understand, and one that’s fairly easy:
Stick to One Message Per Slide
Use this exercise to ensure each single slide is focused on delivering ONE core message, idea or concept to your audience:
The purpose of this slide is to [ ____ ]
Here are two examples:
The purpose of this slide is to [ show that our sales increased by 25% this quarter ]
The purpose of this slide is to [ explain to the prospect how our product solves his top 3 problems ]
Use the Grandma Test
Anyone, including your grandma, should be able to understand what your PowerPoint slide is going to be about.
Let’s take a look at an example:
Here, we quickly understand the slide deck will be covering details (very likely tips) on how to build a successful team for your startup.
Apply the F-Shaped Pattern
Research shows that users usually scan, and read, the content areas of web pages in a F-Pattern layout:
Basically, our eyes are starting at the top-left corner, scan horizontally, then drop down to the next line and do the same until we reach the bottom.
This F-shaped reading pattern is usually in web design best practices, but since presentations are also digital assets that are often viewed on screens, you can also apply it to your slide designs.
Here’s an example:
Optimize Your Slide’s Layout With Alignment
First, make sure you’re using enough space between the different elements in your presentation slides.
Next, fix your slides to make sure the alignment isn’t off. For example, take a look at the difference between the left and the right slide below.While there’s no alignment on the left side slide, the right slide is clearly structured with different levels of alignment: between the headline and the body text, between the top of the body text and the top of the visual, and between the bottom of the body text and the bottom of the visual.
To align elements on your slide, just select the ones you want to align, and then do this with Keynote:
And this with PowerPoint:
Use Color & Weight to Create Hierarchy
You probably already know that modifying the font size is a great way to control the hierarchy within your slides.
But what you may not know is that changing color or font weight is another smart way to separate the important text from secondary one. Here, take a look at the example below:
Now, here is a simple rule you can use:
Get to the Point and Use Space
Existing research proves that white space (basically, the open space between elements or objects within the borders of a slide), has an effect on legibility, aesthetics, and people’s emotional response.
First of all, you’re going to delete the content that’s not critical to helping your audience understand your message. To do that, you are going to make sure each piece of content on your slide gets a YES to the two following questions:
Then, after having filtered out what you don’t need, add space between the different groups of elements to make your slides breathe.
Having slides that are clean and pleasant to look at will help your audience scan them easier. And if they can scan your content easier, they’ll understand it faster.
Here’s an example:
Embed Your Slide’s Headline Into a Colored Shape
This simple technique will help you highlight the core message of every single body slide. To apply it, make sure to follow these two design principles:
This post first appeared on - Clemence Lepers Teaches You How To Effectively B, please read the originial post: here