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Master the Art of Presentation with These Free PPT Template Designs
In today’s digital age, presentations have become an integral part of our professional and personal lives. Whether you are a student, entrepreneur, or working professional, chances are you have had to create and deliver a presentation at some point. However, creating visually appealing and engaging presentations can be a daunting task. This is where free PowerPoint (PPT) template designs come into play. With these templates, you can easily master the art of presentation and captivate your audience with stunning visuals. In this article, we will explore the benefits of using free PPT template designs and how they can elevate your presentations to the next level.
Enhance Visual Appeal
One of the key advantages of using free PPT template designs is the ability to enhance the visual appeal of your presentations. These templates are professionally designed by experts in graphic design and offer a wide range of layouts, color schemes, and fonts that can instantly transform your content into a visually stunning masterpiece. By using these pre-designed templates, you no longer have to worry about spending hours on end tweaking every aspect of your slides. Instead, you can focus on crafting compelling content while letting the template take care of the aesthetics.
Save Time and Effort
Another significant benefit of using free PPT template designs is the time and effort it saves you in creating a presentation from scratch. Designing slides that are visually appealing can be time-consuming and requires a certain level of design expertise. With pre-designed templates readily available for download, all you need to do is select a template that suits your topic or theme and customize it according to your needs. This not only saves you valuable time but also ensures consistency across all your slides.
Professionalism at Your Fingertips
Using free PPT template designs adds an element of professionalism to your presentations without requiring any specialized skills or expensive software. These templates are designed by professionals who understand the principles of effective design and visual communication. By using a template, you can easily create a polished and professional-looking presentation that will impress your audience and convey your message with clarity.
Flexibility and Customization
While free PPT template designs provide you with a great starting point, they also offer the flexibility to customize and personalize your slides. Most templates allow you to change colors, fonts, and layouts to match your branding or individual preferences. This ensures that your presentations not only look visually appealing but also align with your unique style or corporate identity. Additionally, these templates often come with pre-designed slide layouts for various content types such as charts, tables, and infographics, making it easy for you to present complex information in an organized and visually appealing manner.
In conclusion, free PPT template designs are an invaluable resource for anyone who wants to master the art of presentation. They enhance the visual appeal of your slides, save time and effort in designing from scratch, add a touch of professionalism to your presentations, and provide flexibility for customization. So why settle for dull and uninspiring presentations when you can elevate them to new heights with these free templates? Download a template today and unlock the full potential of your presentations.
This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.
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Presentation Design and the Art of Visual Storytelling
Discover a practical approach to designing results-oriented presentations and learn the importance of crafting a compelling narrative.
By Micah Bowers
Micah helps businesses craft meaningful engagement through branding, illustration, and design.
Presentations Must Tell a Story
We’ve all been there, dutifully enduring a dull presentation at work or an event. The slides are packed with text, and the presenter feels obligated to read every single word. There are enough charts, graphs, and equations to fill a trigonometry book, and each screen is awash in the brightest colors imaginable.
As the presentation drags on, the lists get longer. “We do this, this, this, this, this, and oh yeah, this!” Unfortunately, everyone in the audience just wants it to be over.
This is a major opportunity missed for a business, and we designers may be part of the problem. No, it’s not our fault if a presenter is unprepared or uninspiring, but if we approach our clients’ presentations as nothing more than fancy lists, we’ve failed.
See, presentations are stories , not lists, and stories have a structure. They build towards an impact moment and unleash a wave of momentum that changes people’s perceptions and preconceived notions. Good stories aren’t boring and neither are good presentations.
But before we go any further, it’s important to ask why presentations exist in the first place. What’s their purpose? Why are they useful?
Presentations exist to…
Presentations impart new and sometimes life-changing knowledge to an audience.
Most presentations provide a practical method for using the knowledge that is shared.
If executed correctly, presentations are able to captivate an audience’s imagination and lead them to consider the worth of what they’re learning.
Well-crafted presentations have the power to arouse feelings that can influence an audience’s behavior.
Presentations ready people to move, to act on their feelings and internal analysis.
Ultimately, presentations make an appeal to an audience’s logic, emotions, or both in an attempt to convince the audience to act on the opportunity shared by the presenter.
With this kind of power, designers can’t afford to view presentations as “just another deck.” We shouldn’t use the same formulaic templates or fail to educate our clients about the importance of high-quality image assets.
Instead, we need to see presentation design as an opportunity to craft a compelling narrative that earns big wins for our clients.
Need more convincing? Let’s take a quick look at how a few big brands merge storytelling with world-class presentation design.
Salesforce – Write the Narrative First
The overarching emphasis of any presentation is its narrative. Before any flashy visuals are added, the presentation designer works hand-in-hand with the client to establish the narrative and asks big questions like:
- Who are we presenting to?
- Why are we presenting to them?
- How do we want them to respond?
The marketing team at Salesforce, the world’s leading customer relationship management platform, answers these questions by first writing presentations as rough essays with a beginning, middle, and end. As the essay is fleshed out, themes emerge and section titles are added.
From here, the presentation is broken into slides that present the most impactful topics and information the audience needs to know. Only a few select words and phrases will make it onto the screen, but the essay draft will be rich with insights for the presenter to further refine and share in their oral narrative.
Writing the narrative first prevents the chaos of slide shuffling that occurs when a presentation’s stories aren’t clearly mapped out. With no clear narrative in place, slides don’t transition smoothly, and the presentation’s momentum dissipates.
Deloitte – Establish Credibility
Within the first few moments of meeting someone new, we quickly assess whether or not we feel they’re trustworthy.
Presenters are typically afforded an initial level of trust by virtue of being deemed capable of talking in front of a large group of people. But if that trust isn’t solidified within the first minute of a presentation, it can vanish in an instant.
Deloitte is a global financial consultant for 80 percent of all Fortune 500 companies. Naturally, they understand the need to quickly establish credibility. The slide used in the example above is number five in a thirty-slide deck. Right from the outset, Deloitte establishes their authority on the topic, in essence saying, “We’ve been at this awhile.”
Including a slide like this in a client’s deck can be a real confidence booster because it allows them to quickly secure expert status. Establishing credibility also helps an audience relax and engage with what they’re learning.
iControl – Define the Problem Visually
It’s not always possible to express a complex problem or solution with a single visual, but when it happens, it can be a powerful experience for an audience.
iControl is a Swedish startup that built an iPad app designed to replace paper and create better documentation at construction sites. They aren’t a big brand, but their investor pitch deck powerfully identifies a huge audience problem with a single slide—too much paper wasted, too many documents to track. An image like this so clearly identifies the problem that it simultaneously intensifies the need for a solution.
Defining the problem visually is an awesome strategy, but use it with care because an image that’s confusing or overly specific to an industry can leave audience members feeling like outsiders.
Arrange a Compelling Narrative
“Storytelling” is everywhere these days. Social media platforms have cleverly packaged the promise that our every post, image, and interaction is part of an ongoing story, but most of what we call “stories” are loosely related moments strung together by the happenstance of time and technology.
So what’s the distinction between narrative and story? How do they relate, and how do they differ? And most importantly, how do they tie into a compelling presentation?
A story is bound by time. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end. It details events and orders them in a way that creates meaning. In a presentation, stories speak to specific accomplishments and inspire action—“We did this, and it was amazing!”
A narrative is not bound by time. It relates separate moments and events to a central theme but doesn’t seek resolution. In a presentation, the narrative encompasses the past, present, and future—“Where we’ve come from. Where we are. Where we’re headed.”
How does this information impact the presentation designer? Here’s a simple and practical example.
You have a client who makes amazing paper clips that always bend back to their intended shape no matter how much they’re twisted. They ask you to design a presentation that highlights the paper clips and their company vision to “forever change the world of office products.” How do you begin?
Start with the Narrative
The narrative is the overarching emphasis of a presentation.
In this example, you would shape the presentation around your client’s company vision of forever changing the world of office products.
Advance the Narrative with Stories
Use succinct stories that highlight challenges, improvements, big wins, and daily life.
Perhaps the paper clip company’s research and development team faced several setbacks before a eureka moment made mass production cheaper than traditional paper clips.
Use stories like this as brush strokes on a canvas, each one contributing towards a more complete picture of the narrative.
Support Stories with Visuals
This is where the simple, yet stunning slides you design come into play.
In this case, you could show a simple graph that compares the production cost of traditional paper clips to your client’s innovative paper clips. And, to make sure you’re reinforcing the narrative, you could add a short title to the slide: “Game. Changed.”
Conflict Is the Engine of Memorable Presentations
In his bestselling book Story , Hollywood screenwriting guru Robert McKee writes, “Nothing moves forward in a story except through conflict.” This advice is extremely valuable for the presentation designer.
An overly optimistic presentation packed with positive information simply crashes over an audience and sweeps away their enthusiasm. Each rosy insight is less impactful than the one prior. Before long, all the audience hears is, “Good, better, best. We’re just like all the rest.”
An effective presentation designer looks for ways to create internal conflict within an audience. This means they feel the weightiness of a problem and actively hope for the relief of a solution. The yin and yang of problem and solution is the presentation designer’s true north, the guiding principle of every piece of information included in a deck.
One tried and true way to ensure a healthy positive/negative balance, without overly dramatizing a presentation is withholding information.
For instance, in our example of the paperclip company, this could mean devoting an extra slide or two to the research and development process. These slides would hint at the soon-to-be-revealed production costs and build anticipation without providing actual numbers.
Then, when the cost comparison chart is finally shared, the audience is genuinely eager for the information it holds, and the payoff is far more rewarding and memorable.
Unlock the Power of Clear, Consistent, and Compelling Content
Content doesn’t exist apart from the narrative; it enhances it. Once the narrative is in tip-top shape, it’s time to make the content shine, but before we dive into slide design, let’s take a quick detour.
Imagine we’re reviewing an investor pitch deck and we take an elevator into the sky to observe the presentation from an aerial view. From this lofty position, the deck’s content should have a cohesive appearance that ties in with the brand, organization, or topic being presented.
If you’ve ever been hired to work on a company’s pitch deck design , you understand how challenging this can be.
Many times, clients already have some sort of skeleton deck in place before they hire a presentation designer. Sometimes, these decks are packed with a dizzying assortment of charts, graphs, fonts, and colors. Here, you have two unique responsibilities.
First, you must help your client understand how the disunity of their content detracts from the narrative. Then, you must provide a way forward and present them with a practical vision for remaking things in a cohesive style.
Be warned that you may have to sell this idea, especially if your client thinks that their visual content is presentation ready and only in need of some “design magic” to make it look good.
If this happens, remember to be gracious, and acknowledge the role that their expertise played in generating such valuable information. Then, bring the conversation back to results. “This is a compelling topic. I want your audience to be in awe as you present, but for that to happen, I need to recreate the visuals.”
This is a tough chore, but as designers, we’re hired to improve the way our clients communicate—not fill their heads with false affirmations of poor content.
Essential Slide Design Principles
Slide design is an important part of presentation design, and effective slides are rooted in visual simplicity. But the strange thing about simplicity is that it stems from a thorough grasp of complexity. If we know something well, we can explain it to someone who does not in just a few words or images.
In this section, we’ll look at hierarchy, typography, image selection, and color schemes, but know that these design elements are rooted in a proper understanding of a presentation’s narrative and content. If we start the design process with slides, we seriously risk equipping our clients with presentations that are unfocused and unimpactful.
Create Emphasis with Slide Hierarchy
Design hierarchy relates to the placement of visual elements in a way that creates emphasis. For the presentation designer, this means asking, “What two or three things do I want the audience to see on this slide?
Do’s and Don’ts
- Do create visual contrast through scale, color, and alignment.
- Don’t try to visually highlight more than three ideas per slide.
Whenever a really important idea comes up, be brave and only use a few words in bold type to communicate it. This kind of simplicity signals to an audience that it’s time to intensify their focus and really listen to what the presenter has to say.
Overcome Ambiguity with Thoughtful Typography
Most presentations are built on words, so it’s important to know which words to include and how to style them. This starts by choosing the right font, then knowing how big to make the words and where to include them.
- Do ask if your client has any designated fonts listed in their brand style guide.
- Don’t use more than two fonts in your presentation, and avoid text blocks and lengthy paragraphs like the plague.
Try not to use anything smaller in size than a 36 point font. Some designers believe it’s ok to use sizes as small as 24 point, but this often leads to packing slides with more text. Remember, slides are a speaking prompt, not promotional literature.
Communicate Authority Through Graphic Simplicity
Every chart, graph, icon, illustration, or photograph used in a presentation should be easy to see and understand. Images that are difficult to interpret or poor in quality can erode the trust of an audience.
- Do look for ways to use symbols, icons, or illustrations as they have a way of communicating ideas more quickly than photography.
- Don’t use more than one photograph per slide, and don’t use stock photography that conflicts with your client’s brand (e.g., too funny, serious, or ethereal).
During the consultation phase of a presentation design project, ask your potential client to see existing charts or graphs they’re hoping to include. If anything is confusing, pixelated, or inconsistent, tell them you’ll need to remake their graphics. Be prepared to show high-quality examples from well-known companies to sell your point.
Add Energy and Meaning with Bold Color Schemes
Color plays an important role in nearly every design discipline, and presentation design is no different. The colors used for a presentation affect the tone of the topic being shared and influence the mood of the audience.
- Do keep color schemes simple. Two or three colors should make up the majority of slides.
- Don’t use complementary colors for text and background (e.g., blue background with orange text). This has a way of making words vibrate with nauseating intensity.
Identify a few high-contrast accent colors to make strategic cameos for added impact.
The Mission of Every Presentation Designer
It can’t be overstated; presentations are huge opportunities for designers to positively impact their clients’ businesses. Innovation and advancements in culture and technology are occurring so rapidly that it’s become absolutely vital to be able to tell a good story. No one has time for poorly communicated ideas.
Here’s the simple truth: A bad presentation designer dresses up junk content with no thought for narrative and dumps a pile of slides into their client’s lap. Maybe the presentation looks pretty, but it doesn’t inspire, doesn’t activate, and certainly doesn’t sell.
To be effective, results-driven presentation designers means that we must empower our clients with an efficient tool. We carefully consider each slide, word, and visual for maximum impact, and we remember that presentations are intended for a human audience. Whether it’s a room of investors or a conference hall packed with consumers, it’s our job to provide our clients with opportunities to change minds and win business.
Understanding the basics
What is presentation design.
Presentation designers craft an array of ideas, stories, words, and images into a set of slides that are arranged to tell a story and persuade an audience.
Why is storytelling so important?
Where numbers, lists, and facts merely inform, storytelling has the power to make an audience care about and act on information that is being presented.
What are the basic elements of a slide?
The basic elements of a slide are its dimensions, text, images, layout, and color.
Located in Vancouver, WA, United States
Member since January 3, 2016
About the author
Voice of the customer: how to leverage user insights for better ux.
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Blog Data Visualization
Presentation Design Guide: How to Summarize Information for Presentations
By Midori Nediger , May 15, 2023
Bad presentations. We’ve all had to sit through them. Heck, we’ve probably all given one or two. I know I have.
You know the type: twice as long as they need to be, slides chock-full of text, no visuals in sight.
How can you ensure you don’t fall victim to these presentation faux-pas when designing your next presentation for your team, class, or clients?
In this blog, I’ll walk you through tips on how to design an impactful presentation and how you can deliver it with style to leave a lasting impression.
Let’s get started:
- Include less text and more visuals in your presentation design
- Identify one core message to center your presentation design around
- Eliminate any information that doesn’t immediately support the core message
- Create a strong presentation outline to keep you focused
- Use text to reinforce, not repeat, what you’re saying
- Design your presentation with one major takeaway per slide
- Use visuals to highlight the key message on each slide
- Use scaffolding slides to orient your audience and keep them engaged
- Use text size, weight, and color for emphasis
- Apply design choices consistently to avoid distraction
- Split a group presentation by topic
- Use a variety of page layouts to maintain your audience’s interest
- Use presentation templates to help you get started
- Include examples of inspiring people
- Dedicate slides to poignant questions
- Find quotes that will inspire your audience
- Emphasize key points with text and images
- Label your slides to prompt your memory
Watch: How to design a presentation [10 ESSENTIAL TIPS]
Tips for designing and delivering an impactful presentation
What makes a presentation memorable?
It usually comes down to three things:
- The main idea.
- The presenter.
- The visuals.
All three elements work together to create a successful presentation. Just like how different presentation styles serve different purposes, having a good presentation idea will give the audience a purpose for listening. A good presenter communicates the main idea so that the audience cares about it. And compelling visuals help clarify concepts and illustrate ideas.
But how the presenter delivers their presentation and what visuals they use can vary drastically while still being effective. There is no perfect presentation style or presentation design.
Here are some top tips to consider to help you design and deliver an impactful presentation:
Tip #1: Include less text and more visuals in your presentation design
According to David Paradi’s annual presentation survey , the 3 things that annoy audiences most about presentations are:
- Speakers reading their slides
- Slides that include full sentences of text
- Text that is too small to read
The common thread that ties all of these presentation annoyances is text. Audiences are very picky about the text found in presentation slide decks .
In my experiences speaking at conferences and in webinars over the past few years, audiences respond much more positively to presentations that use visuals in place of text.
Audiences are more engaged, ask more questions, and find my talks more memorable when I include lots of visual examples in my slide decks.
I’m not the only one who has found this. We recently surveyed nearly 400 conference speakers about their presentation designs and found that 84.3% create presentations that are highly visual.
A great example of a high visual presentation is the iconic AirBnB pitch deck design , which includes no more than 40 words per slide. Instead of repeating the speaker’s script on the slides, it makes an impact with keywords, large numbers, and icons:
Learn how to customize this presentation template:
To help you take your presentations to the next level, I’d like to share my process for creating a visually-focused presentation like the one above. I’ll give you my top presentation design tips that I’ve learned over years of presenting:
- Class presentations
- Online courses
You can then apply this process to our professional presentation templates or pitch decks , creating unique presentation decks with ease! Our user-friendly editor tools make customizing these templates a breeze.
To leave a lasting impression on your audience, consider transforming your slides into an interactive presentation. Here are 15 interactive presentation ideas to enhance interactivity and engagement.
We’ll cover the most important steps for summarizing lengthy text into a presentation-friendly format. Then we’ll touch on some pre sentation design tips to help you get visual with your slide decks. Read on for the best creative presentation ideas.
Tip #2: Identify one core message to center your presentation design around
We know from David Paradi’s survey that audiences are easily overwhelmed with lots of text and data, especially when presentations are long.
(You when you see a presentation with lots of text and data and it’s long)
So unlike in a white paper , report , or essay , you can’t expect to tackle many complex ideas within a single presentation.
That would be a recipe for disaster.
Instead, identify a single central message that you would like to communicate to your audience. Then build your presentation around that core message.
By identifying that core message, you can ensure that everything you include in your presentation supports the goal of the presentation .
As seen below, a great presentation tells you exactly what you’re going to learn (the core message), then gets right to the facts (the supporting information).
To ensure you create an asset that’s clear, concise, impactful, and easy to follow, design your presentation around a single core message.
Tip #3: Create a strong presentation outline to keep you focused
Think of your outline as a roadmap for your presentation. Creating a strong presentation outline straight away helps make sure that you’re hitting all of the key points you need to cover to convey a persuasive presentation .
Take this presentation outline example:
- Introduction and hellos
- Vision and value proposition
- Financial profit
- Your investment
- Thanks and questions
These are all things that we know we need to talk about within the presentation.
Creating a presentation outline makes it much easier to know what to say when it comes to creating the actual presentation slides.
You could even include your presentation outline as a separate slide so that your audience knows what to expect:
The opening moments of your presentation hold immense power – check out these 15 ways to start a presentation to set the stage and captivate your audience.
Tip #4: Eliminate any information that doesn’t support the core message
Next, use that core message to identify everything that doesn’t belong in the presentation.
Aim to eliminate everything that isn’t immediately relevant to the topic at hand, and anything remotely redundant. Cut any information that isn’t absolutely essential to understanding the core message.
By cutting these extra details, you can transform forgettable text-heavy slides:
Into memorable slides with minimal text:
Here’s a quick checklist to help you cut out any extra detail:
Get rid of:
- Detailed descriptions
- Background information
- Redundant statements
- Explanations of common knowledge
- Persuasive facts and figures
- Illustrative examples
- Impactful quotes
This step may seem obvious, but when you’re presenting on a topic that you’re passionate about, it’s easy to get carried away with extraneous detail. Use the recommendations above to keep your text in check.
Clarity is key, especially if you’re presenting virtually rather than in-person. However, Lisa Schneider (Chief Growth Officer at Merriam-Webster) has had plenty of experience making that adjustment. She recently shared her tips for adapting in-person presentations into virtual presentations on Venngage that you can check out.
Tip #5: Use text to reinforce, not repeat, what you’re saying
According to presentation guru Nancy Duarte , your audience should be able to discern the meaning of your slides in 6 seconds or less.
Since your audience will tend to read every word you place on each slide, you must keep your text to an absolute minimum. The text on your slides should provide support for what you’re saying without being distracting.
Never write out, word for word, what you’re going to be saying out loud. If you’re relying on text to remember certain points, resist the urge to cram them into your slides. Instead, use a tool like Venngage’s speaker notes to highlight particular talking points. These can be imported into PowerPoint — along with the rest of your presentation — and will only be viewable to you, not your audience.
For the actual slides, text should only be used to reinforce what you’re saying. Like in the presentation design below, paraphrase long paragraphs into short bulleted lists or statements by eliminating adjectives and articles (like “the” and “a”).
Pull out quotes and important numbers, and make them a focus of each slide.
Tip #6: Design your presentation with one major takeaway per slide
As I mentioned above, audiences struggle when too much information is presented on a single slide.
To make sure you don’t overwhelm your audiences with too much information, spread out your content to cover one major takeaway per slide.
By limiting each slide to a single simple statement, you focus your audience’s attention on the topic at hand.
My favorite way to do this is to pick out the core message of whatever I’m talking about and express it in a few keywords, as seen in this presentation slide below.
This helps ensure that the visuals remain the focus of the slide.
Using the text in this way, to simply state a single fact per slide, is a sure-fire way to make an impact in your presentation.
Alternatively, pull out a significant statistic that you want to stick in your audience’s minds and make it a visual focus of the slide, as seen in this popular presentation by Officevibe .
This might mean you end up with a slide deck with a ton of slides. But that’s totally ok!
I’ve talked to many professionals who are pressured by their management teams to create presentations with a specific number of slides (usually as few as 10 or 15 slides for a 30-minute presentation).
If you ask me, this approach is completely flawed. In my mind, the longer I spend sitting on a single slide, the more likely I am to lose the interest of my audience.
How many slides should I use for a 10 minute presentation?
A good rule of thumb is to have at least as many slides as minutes in your presentation. So for a 10 minute presentation you should have at least 10 slides .
Use as many slides as you need, as long as you are presenting a single message on each slide, (as seen in the lengthy presentation template below). This is especially important if you’re presenting your business, or delivering a product presentation. You want to wow your audience, not bore them.
Tip #7: Use visuals to highlight the key message on each slide
As important as having one major takeaway per slide is having visuals that highlight the major takeaway on each slide.
Unique visuals will help make your message memorable.
Visuals are a great way to eliminate extra text, too.
You can add visuals by creating a timeline infographic to group and integrate information into visual frameworks like this:
Or create a flowchart and funnels:
Or by representing simple concepts with icons, as seen in the modern presentation design below. Using the same color for every icon helps create a polished look.
Using visuals in this way is perfect for when you have to convey messages quickly to audiences that you aren’t familiar with – such as at conferences. This would also make the ideal interview presentation template.
You can alternatively use icons in different colors, like in the presentation templates below. Just make sure the colors are complimentary, and style is consistent throughout the presentation (i.e. don’t use sleek, modern icons on one slide and whimsically illustrated icons on another). In this example, presentation clipart style icons have been used.
Any time you have important stats or trends you want your audience to remember, consider using a chart or data visualization to drive your point home. Confident public speaking combined with strong visualizations can really make an impact, encouraging your audience to act upon your message.
One of my personal favorite presentations (created by a professional designer) takes this “key message plus a visual” concept to the extreme, resulting in a slide deck that’s downright irresistible.
When applying this concept, don’t fall into the trap of using bad stock photos . Irrelevant or poorly chosen visuals can hurt you as much as they help you.
Below is an example of how to use stock photos effectively. They are more thematic than literal and are customized with fun, bright icons that set a playful tone.
The content and visual design of a presentation should be seamless.
It should never seem like your text and visuals are plopped onto a template. The format and design of the slides should contribute to and support the audience’s understanding of the content.
Tip #8: Use scaffolding slides to orient your audience and keep them engaged
It’s easy for audiences to get lost during long presentations, especially if you have lots of slides. And audiences zone out when they get lost.
To help reorient your audience every once in a while, you can use something I like to call scaffolding slides. Scaffolding slides appear throughout a presentation to denote the start and end of major sections.
The core scaffolding slide is the agenda slide, which should appear right after the introduction or title slide. It outlines the major sections of the presentation.
At the beginning of each section, you should show that agenda again but highlight the relevant section title, as seen below.
This gives audiences the sense that you’re making progress through the presentation and helps keep them anchored and engaged.
Alternatively, you can achieve a similar effect by numbering your sections and showing that number on every slide. Or use a progress bar at the bottom of each slide to indicate how far along you are in your presentation. Just make sure it doesn’t distract from the main content of the slides.
You can imagine using this “progress bar” idea for a research presentation, or any presentation where you have a lot of information to get through.
Leila Janah, founder of Sama Group, is great at this. Her Innovation and Inspire talk about Sama Group is an example of a presentation that is well organized and very easy to follow.
Her presentation follows a logical, steady stream of ideas. She seems comfortable talking in front of a crowd but doesn’t make any attempts to engage directly with them.
Tip #9: Use text size, weight and color for emphasis
Every slide should have a visual focal point. Something that immediately draws the eye at first glance.
That focal point should be whatever is most important on that slide, be it an important number, a keyword, or simply the slide title.
We can create visual focal points by varying the size, weight, and color of each element on the slide. Larger, brighter, bolder elements will command our audience’s attention, while smaller, lighter elements will tend to fade into the background.
As seen in the presentation template above, this technique can be especially useful for drawing attention to important words within a long passage of text. Consider using this technique whenever you have more than 5 words on a slide.
And if you really want your audience to pay attention, pick a high-contrast color scheme like the one below.
When picking fonts for your presentation, keep this technique in mind. Pick a font that has a noticeable difference between the “bold” font face and the “regular” font face. Source Sans Pro, Times New Roman, Montserrat, Arvo, Roboto, and Open Sans are all good options.
The last thing to remember when using size, weight, and color to create emphasis on a slide: don’t try to emphasize too many things on one slide.
If everything is highlighted, nothing is highlighted.
Tip #10: Apply design choices consistently to avoid distraction
Audiences are quick to pick out, and focus on, any inconsistencies in your presentation design. As a result, messy, inconsistent slide decks lead to distracted, disengaged audiences.
Design choices (fonts and colors, especially), must be applied consistently across a slide deck. The last thing you want is for your audience to pay attention to your design choices before your content.
To keep your design in check, it can be helpful to create a color palette and type hierarchy before you start creating your deck, and outline it in a basic style guide like this one:
I know it can sometimes be tempting to fiddle around with text sizes to fit longer bits of text on a slide, but don’t do it! If the text is too long to fit on a slide, it should be split up onto multiple slides anyway.
And remember, a consistent design isn’t necessarily a boring one. This social media marketing presentation applies a bright color scheme to a variety of 3-column and 2-column layouts, remaining consistent but still using creative presentation ideas.
Tip #11: Split a group presentation by topic
When giving a group presentation it’s always difficult to find the right balance of who should present which part.
Splitting a group presentation by topic is the most natural way to give everybody the chance to attempt without it seeming disjointed.
When presenting this slide deck to investors or potential clients, the team can easily take one topic each. One person can discuss the business model slide, and somebody else can talk about the marketing strategy.
Top tips for group presentations:
- Split your group presentation by topic
- Introduce the next speaker at the end of your slide
- Become an ‘expert’ in the slide that you are presenting
- Rehearse your presentation in advance so that everybody knows their cue to start speaking
Tip #12: Use a variety of page layouts to maintain your audience’s interest
Page after page of the same layout can become repetitive and boring. Mix up the layout of your slides to keep your audience interested.
In this example, the designer has used a variety of combinations of images, text, and icons to create an interesting and varied style.
There are hundreds of different combinations of presentation layers and presentation styles that you can use to help create an engaging presentation . This style is great for when you need to present a variety of information and statistics, like if you were presenting to financial investors, or you were giving a research presentation.
Using a variety of layouts to keep an audience engaged is something that Elon Musk is an expert in. An engaged audience is a hyped audience. Check out this Elon Musk presentation revealing a new model Tesla for a masterclass on how to vary your slides in an interesting way:
Tip #13: Use presentation templates to help you get started
It can be overwhelming to build your own presentation from scratch. Fortunately, my team at Venngage has created hundreds of professional presentation templates , which make it easy to implement these design principles and ensure your audience isn’t deterred by text-heavy slides.
Using a presentation template is a quick and easy way to create professional-looking presentation skills, without any design experience. You can edit all of the text easily, as well as change the colors, fonts, or photos. Plus you can download your work in a PowerPoint or PDF Presentation format.
After your presentation, consider summarizing your presentation in an engaging manner to r each a wider audience through a LinkedIn presentation .
Tip #14: Include examples of inspiring people
People like having role models to look up to. If you want to motivate your audience, include examples of people who demonstrate the traits or achievements, or who have found success through the topic you are presenting.
Tip #15: Dedicate slides to poignant questions
While you might be tempted to fill your slides with decorative visuals and splashes of color, consider that sometimes simplicity is more effective than complexity. The simpler your slide is, the more you can focus on one thought-provoking idea.
Tip #16: Find quotes that will inspire your audience
A really good quote can stick in a person’s mind for weeks after your presentation. Ending your presentation with a quote can be a nice way to either begin or finish your presentation.
A great example of this is Tim Ferriss’ TED talk:
Check out the full talk below.
Tip #17: Emphasize key points with text and images
When you pair concise text with an image, you’re presenting the information to your audience in two simultaneous ways. This can make the information easier to remember, and more memorable.
Use your images and text on slides to reinforce what you’re saying out loud.
Doing this achieves two things:
- When the audience hears a point and simultaneously read it on the screen, it’s easier to retain.
- Audience members can photograph/ screencap the slide and share it with their networks.
Don’t believe us? See this tip in action with a presentation our Chief Marketing Officer Nadya gave recently at Unbounce’s CTA Conference . The combination of text and images on screen leads to a memorable presentation.
Tip #18: Label your slides to prompt your memory
Often, presenters will write out an entire script for their presentation and read it off a teleprompter. The problem is, that can often make your presentation seem too rehearsed and wooden.
But even if you don’t write a complete script, you can still put key phrases on your slides to prompt jog your memory. The one thing you have to be wary of is looking back at your slides too much.
A good presentation gets things moving! Check out the top qualities of awesome presentations and learn all about how to make a good presentation to help you nail that captivating delivery.
Audiences don’t want to watch presentations with slide decks jam-packed with text. Too much text only hurts audience engagement and understanding. Your presentation design is as important as your presentation style.
By summarizing our text and creating slides with a visual focus, we can give more exciting, memorable and impactful presentations.
Give it a try with one of our popular presentation templates:
Want more presentation design tips? This post should get you started:
120+ Best Presentation Ideas, Design Tips & Examples
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How To Present Design Work Like A Pro
The creative brief accompanies the entire design process from start to finish. When presenting your creative work like a pro, you’re walking your client through your design strategy of how you got to the final result, and how that ties back to the client’s original business objectives.
Benten Woodring September 02, 2019 -->
You’ve finally landed your first client , successfully walked them through your onboarding process, and hosted a discovery workshop in order to get a better sense of their long-term goals. Now it’s time for the moment of truth: presenting your work to the client.
If you were like me when I first started doing paid client work, you have likely sent off a few JPEGs or a poorly formatted PDF presentation to your clients, hoping they would be able to review your work, understand your rationale, and draw a connection between the concepts and their original business objectives. In the most optimal cases, they may have been able to provide rudimentary feedback based on their personal preferences, but in the worst case, they may have felt like your work didn’t align at all with what they were looking for when they hired you, possibly forcing you to go back to square one.
If you’ve ever had an experience like this as I have had in previous years, there is a more professional approach to sharing your work with your clients, one in which your work is displayed beautifully, articulately presented, and is properly aligned with the client’s original objectives referring back to the creative brief, increasing the likelihood of buy-in and support from the client.
Prior to presenting your work, you have likely already done a lot of the critical thinking needed to execute a successful project. During the discovery you gained an understanding of what the client needs and what they are hoping to get out of the project, and you have received approval on creative direction and strategy thanks to sending over a solid creative brief . You got down to work and executed upon those deliverables, ensuring that the steps you took aligned with the research and strategy you worked through with the client in the early stages of the project. You have reviewed, revised, and hashed out your work internally with your team in order to ensure the work is as strong as it could be. Now, the time has finally come to present your work to the client.
Know who you are presenting to
Before you begin building your initial presentation, you should know who you will be presenting to. Your deck could be pixel-perfect with the best hi-res mockups around, but if you are not aware of who you are speaking to, your presentation could fall flat. Knowing who will be in the room when you present your work will allow you to tailor your presentation and make each person feel heard and represented. If there will be a large group, take time to review the headshots and names of each stakeholder so you can ask each person questions specific to their area of expertise.
Use these questions as a guide to help you prepare:
- What is each person’s role?
- Who will be the final decision-maker?
- What has been their experience working with designers in the past?
- What are their pain points? What are they most concerned about?
- What is their communication style?
Prepare before your client presentation
In order to showcase your work in the best possible way, it’s crucial to prepare for your presentation ahead of time. I have lost count of how many times I have presented creative work, but I certainly remember the presentations I did not prepare for. Walking into a room and winging it is the worst way to present and will likely end with sub-par results.
Refer back to the creative brief
Before building your deck, review the work you have created and ensure that it addresses the client’s original goals. Make adjustments as needed if you feel it does not align with the original objectives from the creative brief.
Practice running through your presentation ahead of time
Taking time to practice the speed and flow of your pitch will help things go more smoothly come presentation day. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to explain the work. Don’t rush, and allow yourself to take natural pauses so your audience can comfortably view your work and digest information. Make adjustments as needed to any issues you run into as you practice presenting, anticipating any questions or negative feedback you may receive ahead of time.
Know where you will be presenting your graphic design project
Will you be presenting to one or two people, five, twenty? What equipment will be available for you to use? Will you need to bring an adapter, printouts, pens or notepads for your audience? Know what environment you will be presenting in and come (over)prepared. Come with a backup of your presentation, and have a client-ready PDF ready to send at the end of the presentation for review.
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Build your deck
Now that you know your audience and how you will be presenting, it’s time to start building out your deck. While every project is different, the framework below is a great starting point for any creative presentation.
- Recap of brief and project phase
Process and strategy
Concepts and rationale.
- Structured feedback
Including an initial slide with the project name, phase of the project if applicable, client name and logo, and your branding reminds the client what they will be reviewing.
While not always necessary, this slide is helpful when meeting stakeholders for the first time. Include headshots, names, titles, and roles for each person on your team, including what area of the project they are responsible for so stakeholders know who they will be interacting with throughout the project.
Recap of the creative brief and project phase
This section of the presentation is critical for getting stakeholders on the same page.
Many of your clients are busy, and it may have been a while since you last interacted since initiating creative work, so it can be helpful to review what the project is, the original objective of the project, any pain points that need to be addressed, and which phase the project is currently in.
If you have it prepared, it can help to download the PDF version of the creative brief and bring a few printed copies to the meeting. HolaBrief's briefing tool works wonders here, as you can simply share or print the creative brief with all stakeholders. Have a nicely formatted overview of the brief in your presentation as a refresher as well. Include a roadmap slide, highlighting where in the process you are so everyone has an understanding of what has been completed up to this point, what to expect in this presentation, and any upcoming phases.
HolaBrief makes it easy to share your creative brief of the project with all stakeholders involved. Print it out as a PDF or share a customised project link.
This is one section I notice many creatives fail to include: the lead-up and thinking involved in the development of the creative work. Include as many slides as necessary to walk through the critical thinking that went into the creation of the work, such as the strategy work that has been completed, inspiration, mood boards and initial sketches, and how each element addressed aligns with the client’s business objectives.
Tell a story with your process. If you were inspired by a mural you walked past on your way to a coffee shop that caused you to think about the client’s goals and how it could potentially solve a business problem, include it. Many clients are interested in what happens behind the curtain with creatives, and revealing as much of the process as possible is a great way to build their confidence in you and understand the thought and intention that went into the work. Build suspense with your delivery. Go from vague -- such as sketches and initial mood boards -- to more detailed -- such as refined concepts and layout.
If you have established brand attributes, values, or positioning, be sure to include a slide for that here as well.
Now for the exciting part — showing your work. By taking the time to fully explain your thinking and strategy behind the work, it will be much easier for the client to understand why certain decisions were made and how they align with the goals stated in the creative brief.
When presenting, there are a few practical tips that can help make your presentation more effective.
If you are presenting a logo or brand identity, start by presenting the full-color logo on a white background, followed by a split-screen with the logo on a dark background and on a light background.
Next, showcase how the identity will look in use using hi-res mockups of small and large-format use cases, from business cards, letterheads, and mobile screens, to billboards and wayfinding. Resources like Adobe Dimension , LiveSurface , or Graphic Burger are a great place to look for and develop mockups. As designers, it is easy for us to think visually, but many of our clients are not as adept at visualizing what the work will look like in use. Including as many mockups and use cases of your work will not only help them understand the work in context, it may help you land more creative work.
Excellent examples of high-quality mockups by Mast Studio
Finally, end with the full-color logo on white. Repeat these steps for each concept.
As you present each concept, walk your client through the story behind each piece, including why you chose to include certain elements and how it ties back to the original objective from the creative brief. Adding a concept title and statement for each can help the client differentiate each visual direction. It can help to include a visual breakdown of certain elements to further illustrate how you arrived at the final product. Use plain language and stay away from overly technical words that may intimidate or confuse the client. Many designers get caught up in describing the nuances in typefaces or other small details instead of focusing on how the overall work will successfully achieve the client’s objectives. Be confident as you present -- your confidence will be apparent to the client and make them feel more sure of your expertise, the strength of the work, and their decision to hire you.
Once you have presented all of your concepts, starting with the most on-brand or on-message concept first (2-3 concepts is generally a good number for most design projects), show all concepts next to each other on one slide to compare and remind the client of what has been reviewed.
After the client has had some time to digest the concepts you’ve presented, guide the client’s feedback by asking specific, direct questions that align with their original objectives from the creative brief. It may be a good idea to include a slide with a few of the questions you would like to address to help everyone remain focused.
Here a few questions to help you get started:
- Does this reflect your brand voice?
- Do these concepts address your users’ needs based on our previous research from the creative brief?
- Does this align with your current brand or advertising strategy?
- How would your target audience react to this?
After asking a few pointed questions, sit back, and listen to the client’s feedback. Though you are an expert when it comes to the design side of things, the client will ideally know their industry well and can provide valuable insight that may help further guide the work. Be sure to take notes as you listen to your client. You can have someone else on your team take notes or record the meeting, but in the best scenarios, it’s ideal to do both so you have something to refer back to when going into the next round of creative. It’s important to note that you should not be expecting creative direction from your client, simply their feedback and perspective on how well the work aligns with their original goals.
On the same note, if the client shares something you may disagree with from a design perspective, feel confident in pushing back and sharing your expertise. They hired you for your knowledge and perspective and will respect your opinion. It’s important to remember that the client’s personal preferences are not necessary to address during these presentations.
If the client starts to deviate from the conversation by stating their own personal preferences for design, gently guide them back toward the original objectives from the creative brief and how your work provides solutions to those pain points.
The client may not always have feedback to share immediately. Oftentimes they are part of a larger team that needs to review the work. Have a PDF version of the presentation ready to share with the client before they leave so they can review and provide more thoughtful feedback.
Wrap-up and next steps
Once you have gathered initial feedback and answered any lingering questions, conclude the meeting with a recap of what stage of the process you are currently in, along with the next steps and assignment of responsibilities. For example, you may be in Round 2 of 3 of logo identity concepts and their feedback is due back in five business days. Be sure to include this on a final slide to remind them of upcoming items. Afterward, send an email recapping the full meeting with a few high-level notes and action items, along with a PDF of the presentation.
The creative brief should be your guideline throughout the entire design process. HolaBrief makes it easy to share your creative brief of a project with all stakeholders involved, so everyone is on the same page, all the time. Learn more.
Benten Woodring is an entrepreneur and award-winning graphic designer who has shaped the brands of companies ranging from tech startups to Fortune 1000 companies. He is passionate about leveraging the power of story, strategy, and design to shape identities, uncover purpose, and ignite destinies. More about [Benten Woodring ] -->
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A newbie's guide to presenting your design work, introduction.
As designers, we love finding solutions to problems and creating work that has an impact. However, to convince others, especially the clients, we must communicate our idea well. This is what I will be talking about in this post. Whether we are pitching to a client or showcasing our work online, we communicate our reasoning behind a solution through presentations. So, we might as well learn how to make one that will have the most impact on the audience.
Understanding which sections to include in our presentations and why to include them is necessary if we want to get our point across to others. So, we will begin by first understanding what sections you should include and what value they bring to your presentation.
It is very important to know the “why” behind a particular project. Whether it is to help a client solve a business problem or contributing to a cause you believe in, the purpose behind a project is what fuels the motivation to create it. Including it in your presentation gives a back story for the audience to relate to your proposed solution.
For example, this was the purpose behind a meditation app project I created for my graphic design specialization course from Coursera .
Another important factor is to set clear objectives and key results for the project. Often, when you are working with a client, you might be given a creative brief with all these included. Other times, you might have to set your deadlines, objectives, and key results. Having these in your presentation allows your audience to understand what you were trying to achieve. When you justify your creative decisions concerning the deadline and objectives, you get clarity on the thinking you implemented behind those decisions. This also makes it easier for others to give you constructive feedback.
For example, my capstone project was divided over 6 weeks and, each week, we had to complete a part of the project and submit it for review. There would be a brief to guide us through the assignments which helped us to get a clear idea of what is expected and what is to be delivered. The objectives in the brief were helpful for us in gauging if we had completed the assignment and for others as a framework to review our assignment.
Once you have decided the purpose behind your project, you sort of have an idea about the overall theme of the project. This is the time to take inspiration and research more about the topic. For my project, my theme was developing meditation as a habit. So, I went ahead and read more about the history of meditation, the tools that are out there now such as Calm or Headspace, and the ways to make a habit stick. I used the Calm app as a reference for developing the UI of my project.
In the course, we were asked to come up with three words to describe the feel of our brand. This was yet another research task where I went and researched the words most associated with meditation. Apart from that, I also tried to google words and synonyms for what I wanted the audience to feel about the brand.
Once we have our research with us, we can go on to ideation to come up with ideas for the project. There are many ideation techniques out there, but we will focus on the mind map for this blog. In a mind map, we start with the theme of the project or the name of the project and map out branches of all the terms associated with it. With each level of the mind map, we go further and further away from the core theme of the project. It allows us to look at every aspect of the background of the project as an individual element instead of one unit. This can lead to some innovative ideas which we may have otherwise overlooked.
This is the mind map I used to come up with the name as well as the entire branding idea of my capstone project.
Apart from this, you can also create a moodboard from the references you have collected in your research to draw inspiration and ideas from. These are the moodboards I made using my research for the project.
The goal of the ideation stage is to come up with three words that you can use to define the aesthetics and feel of the project. These are the words on which you will base your design decisions to achieve the result. These words will also help the audience to understand the criteria you used to filter out all non-serving design elements and see whether you did a good job of it.
So, for my project, I wanted my brand to feel – Immersive, Inspiring and Curative .
Once the ideation stage is done, we roll our sleeves up and get creating. Depending on the project you can have different deliverables such as logo, illustration, user interfaces, packaging and so on. After you have worked out all the different variations of your deliverables, you might make iterations of the one you have finalized upon. When it comes to presentation, it is neither feasible nor advisable to make your audience go through all of them. So, here comes the question - What are the three best options that you are willing to show your client? This question gets the ball rolling for you to make some tough decisions and eliminate all the iterations that do not make the mark. The mark being the design objectives you have decided upon in the earlier stages.
This stage is basically to showcase how well you have executed your objectives and what the design looks like. You can always go a step further and put the design on mockups to help your audience visualize the designs in the physical world.
Here are the deliverables I made for my capstone project –
Note: When presenting logo do include the sizes for all the various platforms it will be used in like mobile apps, websites, print, etc.
This is the mockup for a business card. It helps to understand how the logo might look on the card.
Below is an advertisement banner mockup where we can see how the brand might communicate the experience of using the app through graphics.
3. User Interface
This is how the home page of the app looks like. Putting it on a mockup further clarifies the look and feel of the app.
Now that we have understood what parts we must include in our presentation, let us have a look at which ones to include for different purposes.
There are largely three categories where we use the presentation as a means of communication for showcasing our projects –
1. Pitching to a Supervisor or Client
When pitching to a supervisor or a client, you must document the entire process and reasoning that helped you to reach the final result. This includes the design brief (which is somewhat like the purpose section), research as well as ideation. You also must include the creation part but only include the three iterations of the final variation. You do not want to confuse the client too much by showing them all the other choices. If you have made any mockups, include them in the presentation. This helps the client understand how the design will look in a physical space.
Here are a few examples of good creative process presentations–
2. Online Portfolio Website
For online portfolio websites, it is advisable to focus on only the final resulting artwork. Often the process behind these designs can be quite lengthy and it is not a good experience to have to scroll through all that to get to the actual design. Also, the format of such websites is not suitable for showcasing the process as they focus more on graphics than text. You can display your final designs here with a brief introduction about the project, the color or typography that you have used and the mockups as well. If you want to point people towards the process behind the final design, you can include a link to a video or blog post where you can walk them through an in-depth explanation of your process and design choices.
For portfolio websites, you can showcase your creation section with brief snippets from the purpose and research sections.
You can check out my presentation of the capstone project I talked about over here
A platform like a blog is perfect for documenting the process that you underwent to get to the result. You can use this medium to post long-form content. Such a format can allow you to go into the details about all the sections we have discussed. Blogs are the perfect place for showcasing case studies as there is an emphasis on both texts as well as graphics.
Here are links to some awesome case studies:
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One comment on “A newbie’s guide to presenting your design work”
This was beautiful Admin. Thank you for your reflections.
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Insights / Design Tips & Tricks / How to Present Design to Clients (7 Steps)
- Agency Solutions , Creative Inspiration , Design Tips & Tricks
How to Present Design to Clients (7 Steps)
- Category Agency Solutions , Creative Inspiration , Design Tips & Tricks
- Author Design Force Team
- May 19, 2022
Creativity doesn’t stop at design. Bring your vision to life to impress every time
There’s more to designing than designing alone. How you deliver your design work to a client can change the way your designs are received and perceived.
Wondering how to present design to clients? You have two options:
- Send a batch of finished files for them to view in their own time
- Deliver a design presentation that’s professional and interactive
We prefer the latter. Why?
The journey to the end product may seem obvious to you, but most of the time, your clients are not designers (that’s why they hired you).
Presenting design concepts to clients immerses them into the strategy of your process, making them more likely to believe in the final design.
In this article, we’ll explain how delivering a design presentation to clients will:
- Position you as a professional
- Prove your confidence and skill as a designer to deliver a brief
- Show your client you are fully invested in them and their business
- Create a memorable experience between you and your client
- Reduce the number of revisions needed
Step 1: Use a strong presentation design
Presentations don’t have to be complicated. They act as a platform in which you share your work, the process, and the outcome digitally – whether you’re working remotely or presenting in person.
A well-designed presentation template will save you time and exhibit your professionalism.
Drop in your work (and the details we’ll go into), personalize it with the client’s brand colors and logo, and make sure to have your own logo and contact information visible on each slide.
Keep it simple, but it’s the attention to detail that will show your client that you mean business (and are worth a premium price tag).
Don’t have the time to design your presentation templates? We can help .
Step 2: Revisit the brief
At the start of your design presentation to a client, bring them right back to the initial brief.
This will show you’ve understood the assignment and delivered accordingly, guiding them to align with your creative direction.
Clients are busy, so your focus should be to present your work in the context of solving their problems .
You could include:
- The client’s goal – e.g. increase brand awareness, engagement, conversions
- The objective and use for the design – e.g. packaging for a new product launch
- The deliverables required – e.g. a set of shareable social media graphics
Step 3: Explain the research
When you tackle a new design project, you’ll undergo research before you begin.
This information informs your choices, so share these insights with your client to help them see the benefits for them, and that you’ve considered the end user.
Use simple data visualization to explain:
- The customer demographic
- Any S.W.O.T analysis of competitors
- A mood board
Keep it brief, 1-2 slides will do here. Build excitement, remove any fluff.
Step 4: Document the process
Experienced, high-level designers know that the decisions leading to the final design are just as important as the final design itself.
Each creative decision you make will have a reason behind it, and this is your chance to show that reasoning to the client.
In this section, showcase the color palette, font choices, shapes or graphics that you developed throughout the project, based on the research.
What led you to make these choices?
The goal is to address and answer any queries your client may have about the designs before they need to ask them.
You don’t need to share initial sketches, but it’s good practice to illustrate how the elements of your design link back to the initial brief.
This will help the client understand the logic and strategy behind your work, in the context of their wanted outcome.
Step 5: Showcase the final options
As a creative, you’ll likely end up with multiple iterations of any one design brief. But your client doesn’t need to see an overwhelming amount of choice.
If you have more than one design, reduce it to no more than 3 options.
Remember: you’re guiding the client from brief, to idea, to outcome. The final choices should flow from the previous slides to show continuity and expert creative direction.
Step 6: Bring your designs to life
Sharing your designs in real life scenarios is a highly effective way to let your client visualize the end product in action.
Use mockups to demonstrate how your design will fit into the lifestyle of the end user.
Social media graphics : a mockup to show social posts on a phone.
Packaging design : let it jump off the page by placing it directly onto a 3D product.
It’s all about creating a memorable experience.
Once a client sees the design work in the situation it’s intended for, they will have a better understanding of whether the design is right for them and their end goal.
Step 7: Listen to feedback
Design work is a two-way street. As you go through your presentation, invite feedback and be open to suggestions that your client may have.
Be confident in your decisions, but accept that the client may have additional ideas for improvement. Being open to feedback and reacting efficiently and professionally will show that you respect your client’s business, so listen to pain points they may have and share how your designs address them.
How to present design work to clients: recap
- Use presentation templates to save time and increase consistency
- Outline the client’s initial brief at the start
- Explain any research that directly informed your decisions
- Document the process: links between design choices, research and end goal
- Present no more than 3 final choices
- Bring designs to life with mockups
- Listen to feedback and document how you provide a solution to their problem
Excited to present showstopping design concepts to your clients?
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Presentation Design: Ultimate Guide for Beginnersi
Great presentation design is as important as presenting. Are you creating your own slide decks? Here are some must-follow rules for awesome presentations!
Table of Contents
Whether you are pitching a business idea, telling about your new research, or sharing important data with your audience, presentations are a visual aid essential for your success. You could have awesome presenter skills, and a fantastic idea for the content. But without stunning presentation design, the whole thing will fall flat. Learn how to make a good PowerPoint presentation design with these 10 tips.
Presentations: you’ve seen many of them, and you've probably made several yourself. An ultimate visual communication tool to get your point across, presentations are deeply integrated into the academic and business world.
However, many individuals and businesses still make the mistake of thinking that PowerPoint presentation design always comes down to dark text on a white background, with a few images and charts sprinkled in. Nothing could be further from the truth!
Presentation design shouldn’t be walls of text or extensive bullet point lists, but rather a way to tell a story and inspire the audience with a beautiful and balanced design. And it’s not just about communicating with your audience. Visme found that 91% of presenters feel more confident when using a professionally designed slide deck .
Want to learn how to make a good PowerPoint presentation design? We can help. In this article, we’ll cover the basics, such as:
What is presentation design?
- What types of presentations are there?
- 7 Tips to design presentation slides yourself.
Presentation design focuses on the visual look of your presentation as a tool to engage your audience. It is the way you present your information on the slide: the color scheme, combination of fonts, the way design elements are used as part of your slide. All of this comes together to present your message in a certain way.
Presentation design is about finding the perfect combination of design elements to create slides that will not bore or tire your audience, but rather engage them and glue them to the slides while attentively listening. Whether you are looking to inform your audience, entertain them, establish credibility, or something else, well-thought-out and executed presentation slides can help you achieve this.
Types of presentations
What is the first step in designing an effective presentation? Knowing what the presentation is for, of course.
Presentations have different purposes. A quarterly presentation you are making for the investors of your dropshipping business will not be the same as an employee training slide. In the first case, your aim will be to inform and report, in the second case, the goal of the presentation is to educate. Depending on what you are trying to achieve, there are 5 types of presentations. Let’s take a look at each.
- Informative - One of the most common presentation types, informative presentations aim to communicate important information with the audience and show new findings. Think of presenting company updates or planning a new project: informative presentations should be clear and straight to the point.
- Persuasive - As the name suggests, the aim of this presentation type is to use important data to not simply inform the viewers, but to persuade them to take a specific action. Persuasive presentations are what you should show to potential investors when telling them about the user acquisition growth speed of your company.
- Educational - Often confused with informative presentations, educational presentations are different because they aim to not simply inform, but to teach the viewers new skills and educate them about a new topic. Staff training slides or academic presentations are a great example of this slide type. You can go as far as making a tutorial video and including it in the slides, adding notes and key points next to it.
- Inspirational - Often used by managers and team leaders, inspirational presentations aim to cause a spark and motivate employees to work harder. Presentations of this type usually have a highly emotional message the aim of which is to inspire viewers to take a particular action.
- Problem-solving - This presentation type does a particularly good job at hooking the audience, as the key part of this presentation is the problem they are facing. Then, during the presentation, you are showing them how you are going to solve that problem. An example of this would be discussing how hard it is for large companies to hire qualified people by sharing statistics, then presenting your new HR automation tool and showing its benefits.
7 presentation design tips for beginners
Are you ready to jump into it? Here are 7 golden tips that will help you design presentation slides you can be proud of.
1. Outline your content and refine the key message
What is the first step in designing an effective presentation? You need to prepare your content and refine the key message. Try to understand what your audience wants to know, what they may already know, and what is more likely to keep them engaged. Then, keep this information in mind as you prepare your content for your presentation. What is the main takeaway from each slide?
Choose a working title and have a clear point for each of the slides. Understand what you want your slide to tell people. For example, instead of “Using hashtags for Instagram ” go with “Using hashtags for Instagram increases engagement by 12.5%.”
Keep your content specific and informative, but as concise as possible. Simplify your sentences, keep only the main point without writing an excessive amount of information on the slide. Below are two examples of a slide with the same information. Which one do you think is more readable?
2. Pick a framework
Now it’s time to pick the framework you are going to use to make your professional presentation design. Do you want to create a presentation from scratch, or go with something pre-built?
There are many terrific presentation design templates available online, on platforms like Canva, Visme, and Venngage. Still, you should never use a presentation template without editing it .
Changing the color scheme or fonts to match your brand may seem like a small detail, but it will greatly improve the overall impression of your presentation. It also helps to strengthen your brand identity (whether for a personal or business brand marketing ), and demonstrates professionalism and care.
Another important thing is not to limit your creativity to pre-built presentations. That’s why it’s also advisable to explore presentation designs on platforms, such as Behance, Dribble, and 99Designs.
Sure, most of these will have been done by professional designers, and may be a little challenging for beginners to recreate. However, understanding just how creative PowerPoint presentation design can be will help you shed your preconceptions and explore new creative routes.
3. Choose a color scheme and fonts
The best presentation design will be limited to a handful of options as too many colors will create chaos on your slide and make it harder for the readers to understand.
If you have a brand guide in place, it’s best to stick to colors and fonts used in your branding. However, remember that a PowerPoint presentation design is supposed to keep viewers engaged. So, even if your brand colors are soothing muted tones, a bright element here and there can work well to draw attention to the key messages.
4. Make it visual
Sharing your information only as texts and bullet points is a lazy way out. When you design presentation slides, consider how you can present information visually. This will help your audience understand and take in key messages faster.
A simple example of this is adding relevant icons instead of simple bullet points. Colored or outlined texts next to realistic and relevant photos make the presentation a lot more enjoyable and keep the viewers entertained.
Graphs and charts are a business presentation design staple. However, you can also think about different design elements that can be both surprising and effective. For example, a simple illustration instead of a dull stock photo will delight your audience and keep them engaged.
5. Pay attention to the layout
Your slide layout is the area where all of your presentation elements (photos, texts, icons, logo) are contained. Most presentation tools come with pre-built layouts you can use.
You can also create your own layout from scratch. In both cases, the main aim is to design a beautiful slide that doesn’t overwhelm the viewer. Include plenty of white space in your layout, don’t crowd it with too many text boxes and elements. If the elements are different, as they often will be, keep similar one close to each other. Keep your layout as clean and simple as you can.
6. Align and position
Nothing screams amateur more than jumping texts and layouts from slide to slide. Mismatching logos and design elements jumping here and there showcase a lack of professionalism and give an impression that you’ve put your presentation in a hurry. Not to mention that they are sometimes extremely annoying and distractive!
So, whenever you are working on your slides, always align and position them properly. No matter the presentation tool used, chances are, it will have an alignment tool.
Presentation software such as Keynote and Figma even offer an option to create background grids to help with the alignment. Below is an example of a slide, before and after aligning the texts and icons. Notice the difference?
7. Stay consistent
As you progress through the design of your presentation, it is essential that you stay consistent. No matter how many slides your presentation has, they are still part of one presentation. And you don’t always have to keep the same background color, or slide themes for this. Consistency in design can be achieved through design elements, color schemes, and similar illustrations.
Take a moment to look at these three slides. Although some of the slides seem to be styled differently from the rest, the color scheme of design elements holds the presentation together. It’s crucial to make sure that each one of your slides is visually connected to the previous one, to make sure your viewers don’t lose track of what you were saying.
Now that you know the basics of professional presentation design, it's time to try them in practice! As with every other design type, there is no end to presentation design. Try to experiment with different tools, elements, and styles to find the one that works best for your audience. Research trends and best practices, and dedicate time to plan each slide thoughtfully. Don't be afraid to try new things, and you'll see the benefits a good presentation can have for your project in no time.
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The art of presenting creative work
Jonathan cofer, • may 27, 2016.
A s designers, we’re extremely creative and passionate people who pour our hearts and souls into design solutions.
But we often lose this passion when we present our concepts to clients. Presenting design work incorrectly can create a vacuum for clients to provide misdirected or overly prescriptive feedback, which in turn leads to subpar final work. Proper presenting skills help clients see our point of view and ultimately allow us to put designs out into the world that we’re proud to put our names on. Here are some thoughts for your next presentation.
Polish your presentation
Present your work in the best possible light. If it’s a still image of a website design, mock it up in an image of an actual computer . If you’re sharing your screen, close unneeded windows and present in full-screen mode to eliminate distractions and visual noise.
Download a starter kit of mockups —perfect for presenting designs.
Use a well-designed presentation template . Don’t put too much text in your presentation or your client will spend more time reading your slides instead of listening to what you’re saying. When you do use text in your presentation, keep it big and bold for readability.
Have one focal point per slide , even if it makes your slide deck longer—too much content per slide will only end up overwhelming your audience.
Practice going through your presentation once or twice to become familiar with you’re going to present each slide—it’ll help you move seamlessly from slide to slide when you present.
“Have one focal point per slide, even if it makes your slide deck longer.”
At the beginning of each client meeting, reiterate the project goals, recap their feedback from last time, and set clear objectives for the meeting. This reminds them why they’re in the room and what kind of participation is needed, while keeping the discussion focused.
“Nothing’s worse than an unfocused design review.”
Include a slide in your presentation that clearly communicates what type of feedback you are and are not looking for in the meeting. Using a presentation template that includes an outline slide lets everyone know what will be covered and in what order. This adds structure to the meeting and ensures you don’t forget to review the items above during the meeting.
Image via Upwork.
Tell a story.
When you’re presenting, tell the story about how your design came to be. Walk through each section of the design and explain your rationale. Talk about the design, its benefits, and how it solves the project goals (but avoid explaining what they can obviously see right in front of them).
For example, if the color palette you chose was inspired by a mural you saw on a walk last weekend, and you felt it perfectly addressed the mood and tone the client requested, mention it—many clients who aren’t familiar with the design process find this insight fascinating, and it gives them confidence that they’ve hired a creative and thoughtful designer. It’s also helpful to show a few slides describing some of your rationale (such as mood boards , user test results, etc.) before showing the actual design.
“Include a slide in your presentation that communicates what type of feedback you’re looking for.”
If you’re presenting multiple options, name each concept and show a recap slide with all of the options on one page. This makes it easier for discussion at the end of the review.
Control the pace
Always keep an eye on the time—if the discussion gets off track or the meeting is scheduled to end soon, look for an opportunity to politely remind meeting attendees of the goals for the meeting, and offer to schedule a follow-up meeting to discuss the remaining topics if needed.
At the beginning of the meeting, explain to the client the type of feedback you are and are not looking for. As an example, if you’re showing wireframes, the client may not understand that you aren’t looking for feedback on visual design details at this stage, so clarify that for them up front.
Image via Upwork. Read more from Jonathan Cofer: The strategy of design .
If the client chooses to continually ignore your advice, it’s a business gamble on their part. To protect your integrity and sanity, your best option might be to do all you can within their constraints, leave the project out of your portfolio , and move on.
Most importantly, be confident
By jonathan cofer.
Jonathan devotes his career to helping brands build meaningful experiences. As Creative Director of Upwork, the platform that quickly connects businesses to the world’s top independent talent, he leads a team of designers and copywriters on multiple print, interactive, and UX projects, including overseeing creative strategy, concept development, design, and implementation.
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