Tips for Improving PowerPoint Design

While newcomers like Apple’s Keynote, Prezi and SlideRocket are giving it some competition, PowerPoint is still the most common format for in-person presentations today. It can be an effective visual aid to help drive home a message; however, if not used correctly, a PowerPoint can be cluttered, confusing, overwhelming and hinder your content rather than help present it.

Here, we include some tips for creating a great 2018 powerpoint templates that can be used as guidelines for any presentation, no matter the topic. We call this the three C’s of PowerPoint-ing (yep, we created a new verb!).

PowerPoint Design Tips: Context

Before you add content to your slides, think about the context of the presentation. Is your audience already educated about the topic? An audience that is being refreshed on a topic may not need as much information or breakdown per slide as an audience that is being presented information for the first time. Certain audiences may need more visuals or an engaging design to peak and maintain interest in the topic at hand. Also, some audiences don’t want all the details and instead, just want a quick overview. For these types of audiences, your PowerPoint presentation should have less text and more graphics.

Other questions to ask about the context of the PowerPoint presentation include:

  • Is the topic engaging on its own, or does it need some support to capture the audience?
  • Where are you presenting –-a small conference room or a large lecture hall?
  • How long does your presentation need to be time-wise or in order to cover all of your content?

All of these factors should influence the original “game plan” (the strategy driving your presentation).

A good starting point for designing a PowerPoint presentation is making an outline and ranking your information as primary and secondary importance. This will organize you and help you decide what content and visuals to include on the slides.

PowerPoint Design Tips: Content

No matter how much information you need to place on your PowerPoint, each slide should only include three to six points at a maximum. Any more content than that and your audience will spend the entire time reading the content, rather than listening to your narrative. Limiting the amount of content on each slide also brings us to the “Golden Rule of PowerPoints” that we all learned in high school and college – the presentation is there to support your speech, NOT make it for you. You are the presenter, not the PowerPoint presentation. Don’t include full paragraphs on slides; include bullet points and let your speech fill in the rest of the content.

The audience is more likely to engage with you than the slides on the screen. Use this to your advantage – not only will you know the content better, but you will have more opportunities to ask for questions and comments as you go along. Also, not having every bit of information on the slides may prompt your audience to ask for a repeat or clarification, therefore opening up a door to conversation.

PowerPoint Design Tips: Creativity

The actual format of the slides can make or break your presentation. Here are some PowerPoint design tips about how to creatively, yet effectively present your content:

  • Use large fonts that even people in the back row will be able to read, but keep it simple, clean and easy to read – no Franklin Gothic Mediumor Impact or Monotype Corsiva!
  • Use contrasting colors that work well together – avoid light colored text as well as red shades.
  • Limit “fading” or “moving” transitions – they may look fun but when used in excess, they can be a distraction.
  • When possible, use original graphics instead of Clipart, and make sure the pictures are relevant to what is on your slide.
  • Use graphics in moderation, but include different types to keep things interesting for your audience.
  • Balance your PowerPoint presentation with a good mix of engaging content and aesthetically pleasing graphic design.

Need Help Designing Your PowerPoint Presentation?

We’ve shared some principles on creating effective PowerPoint designs in this blog post that are based on our experience helping our clients develop presentations over the years. If your PowerPoint, Keynote Presentation, Prezi or interactive presentation and support materials could use a little creative energy, I know just the creative agency that can help you. Contact our PowerPoint design experts today.