The Power of PowerPoint Presentation Design

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PowerPoint presentations for businesses

Contents

PowerPoint Presentation Design

Presentations are a key communication tool widely used in businesses and organisations to share information, insights, and ideas with stakeholders, promote products and services, and pitch to potential clients. PowerPoint is the presentation software component of the Microsoft Office suite and remains the most dominant on the market. PowerPoint enables designers to create visually appealing presentation slides to help presenters connect and communicate more effectively. 65% of people are visual learners. They absorb and remember more information if it is presented to them with visual aids.

Well-designed presentation slides not only help audiences engage more with a presentation, they also help the presenter feel more confident presenting their message. A recent survey found that 91% of presenters feel more confident presenting supported with a well-designed slide deck.

At Gold Rabbit, we design and compose many PowerPoint presentations for businesses and organisations, and they remain popular. Although still widely used among professionals and businesses all over the world, there is a misplaced view among some that PowerPoint presentations are old-fashioned and outdated. There are so many aspects and capabilities in PowerPoint that most people aren’t familiar with. Understanding the tools and features available allow designers to integrate compelling visual elements to the presentation, including images, animation, and timing. 

In this article we will discuss how you can create professional PowerPoint presentations, including discussing some of the key aspects in creating an engaging series of presentation slides, including the use of layout, colour, graphs, images, and animations. We have also put together some of our top-tips for how you can get the most out of PowerPoint, and how you can use PowerPoint to transform an out-of-date presentation design into an engaging, multimedia live document.

PowerPoint Presentations: Defining the Purpose and the Audience.

Before working on slide design and layout, it’s important to clarify the purpose of the presentation and define a clear narrative for the slides. Initially, content should take precedent over design aspects. Identifying the main purpose and goals and considering the target audience for the presentation should be the two main focal points. A presentation for a sales pitch will require a different design focus and feel compared to a presentation for children in an education setting. An effective sales pitch slide design may include tables, graphs, and charts, with a professional, modern design aesthetic. A presentation aimed at school students would require more imagery, brighter colours, animation, and additional interactive elements.

When we work with our clients, we start by solidifying the purpose of the presentation and help them to determine appropriate content. We discuss the audience and the key messages they want to communicate. The purpose of design and layout choices is to help make the content more engaging and memorable for the audience. Well thought-out content combined with a well-designed layout and design elements helps bring the presentation to life.

When putting the content together, it’s good practice to plan what content will be on each slide and break down the key messages into bullet points or easily digestible statements. Effective PowerPoint presentations minimise text and include spaces that allow the text to breathe. Too much text can overwhelm the audience.

text layout in powerpoint presentations
Fig. 1 - Too much text can overpower the slide

Brand Guidelines and PowerPoint

During the development of a PowerPoint presentation design, it’s important to understand your client’s brand guidelines, including brand values and vision. Brand guidelines govern the composition, design, and general look-and-feel of a company’s branding.

Using company brand guidelines helps designers create new brand elements that complement existing branding, ensuring brand consistency, including adherence to brand colour palette and typography.

A thorough set of brand guidelines will also include directions for the use of graphics and images. It’s crucial that you’re faithful to existing company branding in your presentation design. If there are no brand guidelines for reference, you can develop your own guidelines, creating a suitable image pack, additional brand elements, colours and typography inspired by the brand, or the key messages being conveyed.

Colour and Presentation Design

Colour is a fundamental aspect of any design. In presentation design, a company’s main colour scheme should be the primary colour palette used throughout the presentation. If there is no set colour scheme or guide, create a colour palette informed by the content and theme of the presentation, and the target audience. PowerPoint allows you to employ a wide spectrum of colours. It’s important to use high contrast complimentary colours so that the content is clearly visible to the audience and easy to read.

Colour also plays a part in creating hierarchy. An ideal colour palette will include a primary colour, a complementary secondary colour, and additional colours for emphasis and flair. You should use the same colours for headings, body-texts and icons. Adhering to brand colours is important, but this doesn’t mean that other colours can’t be used. If there is a particular message or emotion you want to convey, colour can enforce and enhance this, an injection of colour can highlight key messages and help to differentiate between information.

colour use in presentation design
Fig 2. - Using Colour in PowerPoint

Typography and Presentations

Typography is the art of styling text. In PowerPoint presentations, font styles and sizes should be used to underline text hierarchy. You should avoid using font styles that might be difficult to read. Creating bold headings and subheadings and using a different font for the body-text guides the viewer through the presentation and gives the presenter the opportunity to highlight the most important information on the slide.

Typography is a useful way to compliment layout designs and help enforce text hierarchy. It can also be employed to help create the right mood and can help make an audience more receptive.  

It’s important to note when creating a PowerPoint to ensure that the fonts used within the presentation are accessible and widely used, so that the presentation is easily sharable and will maintain a consistent look on all devices. If you use fonts that are not widely available, they may be replaced by less suitable default fonts on other devices that may alter or misshape the presentation.

the power of powerpoint presentation design
Fig. 3 - Illustration of font style and size underlining text hierarchy

Images, Charts, and Graphs.

Images can be used to add more interest and visual appeal to your presentation design and layout. Images can also underline the theme of the presentation and compliment the message. Images are expressive and can help create the right mood. Carefully selected images can help make a presentation more engaging and memorable for the audience.

When a presentation includes a lot of data, creating visually appealing charts and graphs is an excellent way to break up complex information into more easily digestible chunks. Bar charts, pie charts, and circle charts can communicate information concisely and can draw attention to the most important points. Well-designed charts and graphs add design flair. Infographics can also be an exciting way to represent data or chunks of information. We look for areas where infographics could enhance the content and create branded infographics to add further style variation to the overall presentation. PowerPoint offers many chart styles, in 3D and 2D variations. When creating a chart, we look at the data to decide which chart would be most suitable, we then change the colours of the chart to be in-line with company branding.

PowerPoint layout design
Fig. 4 - Examples of chart designs on PowerPoint

Using Animations and Transitions in PowerPoint

PowerPoint animations can be applied to text, images, and graphics. Used appropriately, animations imbibe a presentation with dynamism and depth. There are many animation effects available in PowerPoint, including fade, float, pulse, and bounce effects. Too many animation effects can distract from the message and clutter the presentation, so it’s important to use animations moderately.

If you’re looking to give your presentation some added energy and visual interest, fade animations applied to text entrances or image entrances is the most subtle and effective way to apply animations that will enhance your presentation. PowerPoint also provides many ways to animate transitions when the slide changes, including animated morph, wipe, fade, and ripple transitions as the presentation moves from one slide to the next.

powerpoint presentation designs
Fig. 5 - Types of Animation available in PowerPoint

Slide Layout and Hierarchy in PowerPoint

Layout and hierarchy help shape how the viewer experiences the presentation and engages with the content. Hierarchy is created through a combination of fonts, images, colour, and content. Text hierarchy can be used to suggest the order of importance of information on a slide, with main headings, subheadings, and body text to guide the viewer to engage with the content in the right order.

Slide layout designs form the foundation of the presentation design. This includes the organisation of space, text, charts, animations, and any other content included in the slide. Title slide designs, with stylised headings and subheadings, can be used to break up the sections and act as bookends for new chapters or topics. A well-designed presentation will use a consistent style throughout for the slide layouts, with some variation to emphasise key messages. PowerPoint features a Slide Master that allows you to easily arrange your presentation slides and replicate styles for consistency. (see Fig 6).

presentation design
Fig. 6 - PowerPoint allows you to easily edit and rearrange presentation slide layouts.

Things you might not know you can do with PowerPoint.

Action Buttons

PowerPoint presentations can be adapted to be more interactive for the audience by using action buttons. Action buttons allow you to navigate a live presentation and jump backwards and forwards throughout the document and give the viewer and the presenter full control over how they interact with the content.

Free Icons

Microsoft PowerPoint has a large suite of their own icons that can be added directly from their cloud into the document and can be fully customised. This is a great resource if you don’t have brand icons or licensed icons.

Record Your Screen

You can record your computer screen and audio. The screen recording can then be embedded into the PowerPoint slide and can be saved as a separate file.

Convert Into A Video

PowerPoint presentations can be saved and exported as video. The video can be shared to the audience to watch later, or it can be edited into clips for short social media videos. All animations and transitions will play automatically, music and subtitles can be added.

Conclusion

PowerPoint presentations are still one of the most popular ways to present information to an audience. For presentation designers, PowerPoint offers a powerful suite of features that allow you to create engaging presentation designs, with branded design elements, images, animations, charts, and more.

When planning, preparation and design are implemented correctly, a PowerPoint presentation can be highly successful and engaging presentation aid and an invaluable communication tool. Whether the goal is to educate, train employees, or pitch to potential clients, we believe that if you understand your audience, and emphasise your key messages, a well-crafted and well-designed PowerPoint presentation can be an incredible tool to help communicate key information in an engaging, memorable way that will help you connect better with your audience.

Next Step

If you’re looking for a PowerPoint presentation designer to create unique, visually engaging multimedia presentations, contact us today to book your FREE PowerPoint presentation design consultation.

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