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Stand Out With These 5 Presentation Design Ideas

Rada Voyvodova
Rada Voyvodova
9 min read
Presentation design ideas and examples

Presentation design is both an art and a science. While you want your slides to be aesthetically pleasing and enjoyable to look at, your main goal for presentation design should always be making your content as digestible and memorable as possible for your audience.

Fortunately, by applying some key design principles, you can create a PowerPoint design that pops and also helps you deliver a more effective presentation. After all, the design should support your overall message—the substance stems comes from what you're trying to convey vs the other way around.

If your company slide decks are in need of a makeover, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve compiled our best presentation design ideas, examples and tips to help you create wow-worthy presentations.

8 Presentation Design Best Practices

1. Think about your slide designs last

Before you dive into any presentation design ideas, you need to think about what you want to say.

  • What’s your main message?
  • What are the supporting points?
  • Who is your audience?
  • Do you already have all of the data or information?

Once you’ve figured out those key details, you can start thinking about your slide design.

Remember: your presentation needs to stand on its own. Your slides are a visual aid that should enhance your words, but the content needs to come first.

2. Keep it simple

Don’t put everything you’re going to say on your slides—this is not an essay. You want your audience to listen to you, not read your deck, and overloading your presentation designs with text is one of the best ways to lose their attention.

A good rule of thumb is to aim for one key point per slide. Anything more than this can start to get messy and hard to follow. We feel it's better to space out your thoughts and make it more digestible, allowing for design to play a lead role in how your thoughts are conveyed on screen.

3. Make it accessible

Your text might be readable on your computer screen, but:

  • Is it still legible when it’s on a projector screen?
  • Would an audience be able to understand your infographics from the back of a theatre?

For maximum readability, avoid small type sizes, low color contrast and fancy ‘script-style’ typefaces.

4. Pick your fonts carefully

If you use a third-party font, you could run into compatibility issues. Particularly if you're handing the presentation over to another device to present it—if they don't have the font installed, it may not display. PowerPoint can technically use any font, but it works best with the system fonts on Mac or Windows.

On the other hand, Google Slides only works with fonts in the Google font library. These are web fonts that are widely popular, quite compatible, and overlap with the system fonts such as Arial, Calibri, and Times New Roman.

Bottom line? Stick to standard fonts if you don't want trouble.

Best PowerPoint Fonts for Your Presentation

Fonts play a vital role in the readability and overall success of your presentation, and PowerPoint has several options to choose from. In this post we cover the best PowerPoint fonts, including insights to help you determine the ideal font for your presentation. Learn more >

5. Limit transitions and animations

Most presentation software like Keynote, PowerPoint and Google Slides come with a lot of effects and transitions. While they might seem fun, most of the time, they don’t do much to enhance your slides and could even be seen as a lazy way to try to grab your audience’s attention.

If you do decide to use them, stick to the subtler ones and don’t use too many styles. If you want to use a fun font, pair it with something more simple, like Helvetica.

6. Embrace color

Color is a great way to evoke emotion or add emphasis to your slides by highlighting certain words or icons. If you’re not sure what colors to use in your presentation, consider using the color wheel as a guide.

Here are a few tips:

  • You can use complementary colors like blue and orange to make your text pop or draw your audience’s eyes to important elements.
  • Analogous colors, like blue and purple, can help your presentation feel more harmonious.
  • But above all else, if you’re creating a deck for your brand, make sure to utilize your brand colors. Often, that will include secondary colors that can elevate your design and keep your slides visually interesting.

7. Consistency is key

Each slide should feel like it’s a part of the same story. An easy way to do this is to use the same typography, colors, icons and imagery across all of your slides. As mentioned, your color, font and style choices should be derived from your brand guidelines. This will help your presentation feel more cohesive and visually compelling.

Working from a pre-built template can help you create a consistent look in less time, but they can also look a little stale. If you want to create a memorable presentation, take some time to modify the pre-built ones that come with the presentation program you’re using to match your branding or develop a custom template.

8. Work with a professional

Speaking of which, if you know that design isn’t your strong suit, or you’ve got a ton of decks to design, consider outsourcing your presentation design needs to a professional.

Whether you’re looking to update an existing PowerPoint presentation, create a custom design for scratch, or develop a template that you can update whenever you need, we’ve got your back. We have dedicated presentation designers, illustrators and more on the team who are experienced in presentation design.

Here's an example deck template that we made!

Presentation Design Ideas with Examples

Need some PowerPoint presentation design ideas? We've picked a few different presentations to highlight, with key takeaways for each. Keep scrolling to learn more about what makes these stand out, and how to apply that same thinking to your deck designs.

Idea 1: Stick to your brand guidelines

No matter how nice your designs are, if you're not sticking to your brand guidelines then you're failing. Your whole presentation design should be derived from your brand, particularly if the presentation has anything to do with the company.

Example: Hubspot’s Customer Code

Key takeaways:

  • Cohesive look and feel: Sticking to the Hubspot brand, the deck uses the same font, color palette and imagery across all slides.
  • Complementary colors: The slide deck uses mostly dark blue tones but uses the complementary color orange to draw attention to important slides or key points.
  • Use of humour: The deck incorporates comics to add a bit of humour and levity to the presentation and keep audience members engaged.

Idea 2: Use custom illustrations and sketches

So you're following your brand guidelines, but you want to take your design to the next level. The best way to do this is by adding custom illustrations or decorative elements that help bring life to the presentation.

Some brands will already have existing illustrations or characters from places like the homepage, social media ads, and so forth. If you have existing ones to leverage, then by all means use these in clever ways to help drive home the main points in your slides.

Example: Trillion Dollar Coach

Key takeaways:

  • Use of illustrations: The presentations incorporates original sketches and illustrations to underscore the slide text in a visually compelling way.
  • Minimalist design: The deck only uses two colors and one font style, so the slides never feel cluttered or overwhelming—keeping the audience focused on the main message.
  • White space: The slides have an ample amount of white space, giving the key elements (text and illustration) more breathing room while emphasizing the main points.

Idea 3: Draw attention to key points with color

This is a really quick way to bring some visual interest to your deck, and it's one of our favourite presentation design ideas for customers! Color is a powerful tool and it can be leveraged in so many ways. You can highlight key words, stats and so on with an attention grabbing tones to really drive the message home. It's simple, yet effective.

Example: Designing A Better Customer Experience

Key takeaways:

  • Use of icons: Colored icons are used to add interest and not overpower the design or the presentation.
  • Accent color: The presentation uses a bright fuschia throughout the slide to add visual interest and emphasize different points.
  • Photography: The presentation uses photography as a tool to emphasize certain points and also as a muted background so the deck never feels too monotonous.

Idea 4: Use visual cues to signal new themes/topics

Many presentations are long, covering a wide range of points and ideas. A great way to break up this content is through visual cues and subtle theme changes.

Of course, the use of color is a great way to go about this. Maybe one group of slides is talking about your marketing strategy, and the next is product updates—you can use color or variations of your deck theme to help signal that the presentation is onto a new topic.

Example: What Superheroes Can Teach You About Storytelling

Key takeaways:

  • Uses colors as a storytelling device: The deck uses different color schemes for different parts of the presentation, which helps visually communicate the transition to a new theme, while also adding energy to the presentation.
  • Eye-catching cover design: The saturated tones, superhero illustration, and bold font really draw you in, capturing the audience’s attention from the first slide.
  • Original illustrations: Almost every slide has a custom illustration, making the overall presentation much more memorable and original.

Idea 5: Be bold and concise

There's something to be said about clarity and conciseness in a presentation. When the speaker is able to use a few words, stats or images to convey a particular point, it's actually easier for the audience to understand and remember.

When taking a simple approach, try to be bold with it. From the imagery and colors, to the fonts and illustrations—take the time to make each slide stand out!

Example: Employee Recognition Stats

Key takeaways:

  • Focused slides: Each slide has a single main point or stat, keeping things concise but still visually interesting.
  • Vibrant color palette: The presentation uses a lot of different colors throughout, but by using muted shades, the resulting deck feels bold and vibrant, not overwhelming.
  • Statistics that pop: The presentation uses illustrations to help tell the story behind the statistics (e.g. a piggy bank as a visual representation of the concept of investment).

The Role of Form, Function and Brand in Presentation Design

When putting together an engaging PowerPoint presentation, there are three things you need to keep in mind: form, function and brand. Not only do your slides need to look good, they need to present your information and ideas in the most easy-to-understand format possible and be consistent with your company’s brand identity.

Also, while it’s never a bad idea to look for inspiration and pay attention to the latest trends, remember that your brand and audience should always be top-of-mind. Rather than following the crowd, focus on creating a timeless design that suits the unique needs of your company and event attendees.

Published: Apr 14, 2021
Rada Voyvodova
Written by
Rada Voyvodova
Rada is an experienced graphic designer with 10 years of experience—although she's been studying art since age 14. She's passionate about presentation design and is also a Superside Academy Mentor. In her spare time she loves to travel around the coast of Ireland (where she currently lives), kayaking in the sea. Fun fact: Rada also has a small garden at home with a bunch of quails!

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