Presentation Design Best Practices
When you deliver a presentation, whether internally to employees, externally to a large audience, or one-on-one during a client pitch, you have an opportunity to engage, inspire, and drive action in a way that transcends mere words. A digital visual tool, like a PowerPoint presentation design, can help convey your ideas and augment your message. However, just having one isn’t enough – your deck presentation design must be strategically crafted to make an impact and leave a positive lasting impression. While effective presentation design is more of an art than a science, there are some best practices to follow:
- Know your audience. The existing knowledge base of your audience should drive the content of your presentation. If your audience is already familiar with a concept, don’t waste time explaining it. But if there is even a chance someone in your audience won’t understand a concept, it is best to explain. Avoid jargon and limit the use of acronyms in your presentation design.
- Keep it simple. Your presentation design should complement your presentation, not be your presentation. In other words, if someone were to look at your deck without hearing you talk, they shouldn’t fully understand the content of your presentation – that’s what your verbal communication is for. Keep the text on your slides to a minimum – six to eight lines – and use bullet points and short sentences. If your audience is given the opportunity, they will read your slides rather than listen to what you say. According to research, audiences prefer presentations to be no longer than 10 slides. (1) Keep it simple when it comes to your overall design as well. Remember that whitespace helps direct your audience on where you want their eyes to go, and avoid backgrounds that are busy or distracting.
- Make sure it’s readable. Even the typeface you choose has the power to influence how your audience views you. It can be academic, witty, professional, playful, and more – so make sure it reflects your brand and is consistent throughout your presentation design template. But most importantly, make sure it is readable from a distance. Decorative fonts can be difficult to read. Research suggests that fonts like Arial, Courier, and Verdana are the most legible while Helvetica, Courier, Arial, and Verdana are the most readable for people with dyslexia. (2) Keep font size large (18 or 24 point). You can use more embellished fonts in moderation, especially if you are trying to emphasize a point and make the corresponding text stand out, but you may need to adjust the size to ensure legibility. Using high-contrasting colors between your text and background in your presentation design – dark text on light backgrounds or light text on dark backgrounds – can also help with readability. And, it should go without saying, but you must make sure your slides do not have spelling or grammar errors. They can be easily missed when reviewing, so ask a colleague to look with fresh eyes.
- Use art and visuals. Visuals are an absolute “must have” in your presentation design. One survey indicated that 60% of respondents prefer a slide deck with visuals, while 40% say they are absolutely necessary. (1) Keep your visual elements and photos consistent throughout your presentation. Including a slide that has nothing other than an image can be a powerful approach to capture the focus of your audience.
Content is king when it comes to your presentation design, but your aesthetics cannot be an afterthought. In fact, research shows that when information is presented visually, it’s not only easier to comprehend but also more likely to be remembered. Visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text. (3) However, creating a compelling presentation that harnesses the full power of visual communication, captures your brand’s unique essence, and resonates with your audience can be frustrating and time-consuming.
A presentation design agency can help you transform your ideas into captivating visual stories through presentations. At Paradigm, our team of marketing strategists and graphic designers brainstorm and strategize to determine the most effective way to communicate your message through a visually captivating presentation design that helps you achieve your goals. For more information on our presentation design services to help you create a presentation that stands out, effectively communicates your message, and leaves a lasting impression on your audience, contact us.