6 simple presentation design rules

May 23

Some people insist on calling us ‘wizards’ or ‘legends’ and, yes, we’ve had the word ‘hero’ bandied about from time to time. But our design team are actually just presentation pros.

Presentation softwares like PowerPoint get an unduly bad rep because they are so often abused horribly. So when someone encounters a truly beautiful presentation they think it’s some kind of magic. 

It’s not. It’s just know-how.

We’ve distilled our wisdom down to six easy rules to help you design better presentations.

1. If your audience is reading, they aren’t listening

People cannot read and listen at the same time - our brains just aren’t wired that way. This is why it is very important to keep the text on your slides to an absolute minimum.

Too much text on screen is not just confusing and difficult to read - it looks plain awful, too. 

Many presenters forget, the slides aren’t for you, they’re for your audience. Your slideshow is not your teleprompter, instead it's there to illustrate, complement and reinforce your key messages - visually

Remember, your slides are there to back you up, but you are the main act.

Photo by David Lezcano on UnSplash


2. Keep it clean

Too much text is a no-no. So are too many images, charts or graphs. Avoid producing a headache on a slide by giving your content room to breathe. One decent sized image or chart will have a lot more impact than several smaller ones, vying for attention.

Don’t get too hung up about how many slides you have. It’s far better to split one eye-wateringly busy slide over two or three clear, legible ones and don't be afraid of leaving white space. In this case, less really is more.

3. Use better photos

'A picture’s worth a thousand words'. Whoever said that probably didn’t have some blurry, stretched photo with a whopping great watermark across it in mind.

Using beautiful, high quality photos will instantly elevate your design. The internet is rich with great, free and legal stock photography sites (so there really is no excuse). Check out our blog all about the best free stock photo platforms.

4. Be careful with animations

Animation is a fantastic tool to make your presentations dynamic and interactive. However, it’s easy to get a bit excited about animations. That title can spin on, that picture can grow and bounce, let’s make this sentence sparkle!

Animation overkill is a sure-fire way to make your presentation look like it was made by an overeager primary school pupil. 

To play it safe, stick nice simple fade transitions between slides, keeping animations minimal and only two or three types of animation throughout the entire presentation. Don't animate every individual thing on your page separately. Use animation to emphasise certain pieces of information, or to create a certain mood.

And if you want a really clever, fully animated presentation, come talk to us and we’ll help you deliver something really special.

5. Keep it consistent        

The easiest way to make your presentations look professional is to make sure they’re consistent in design. Make sure you consistently use the same (and limited number of) fonts and colours throughout your presentation and use guides or grids to keep your text and pictures neatly aligned.

6. Know when to call in the pros

Using a professional presentation design service (like us!) is always going to yield the best results. If you’d like to discuss how we can help you produce better presentations, just get in touch.