Presentation Design: Where to Start

From making your presentation more engaging to improving audience retention to ensuring you appear polished and professional, the importance of quality presentation design can’t be overstated.

If you don’t have formal training in design, then figuring out what you should and shouldn’t do can be a little intimidating, but it definitely doesn’t have to be. There are a ton of simple and easy-to-apply design hacks you can take advantage of that’ll elevate your presentation to professional-looking excellence in no time flat.

Rule of Thirds
Any photography buff will tell you that the rule of thirds makes for a more compelling photo, and the same goes for slide design. The rule of thirds suggests that your slide should be divided into nine equal points, with the slide’s focal points placed along the intersections of those points. According to communication expert, Garr Reynolds, “Apply this guideline to PowerPoint or Keynote visuals to give them a more symmetrical and professional look.”

Create Compelling Content
When it comes to words on a slide be extra careful that each word is strategically selected and placed. It is important to keep your words limited, but not to sacrifice a compelling story. When you use bullets, your audience has to switch between reading and listening which, according to research, is cognitively exhausting and results in lower attention paid to your presentation overall. Increase your audience’s attention by using less words and plenty of images on your slides instead.

Choose a Color Palette
Creating a cohesive color palette is paramount to a clean presentation design. By keeping all images and text within a single complimenting color palette you ensure that your readers are able to follow easily with their eyes and retain more information rather than be distracted by a chaotic design. If you are unsure of where to start take a look at your brand colors and pick colors that complement your brand this will guarantee you elevate your brand as well as create a cohesive design.

Include Engaging Visuals
While it is vital that your words tell a compelling story it is equally important that your visuals tell the same story. It can be easy to select visuals that connect with you and your personality, but don’t settle for what you like. After all you are the presenter, not the audience. Choose visuals that tell your story and improve your message. When used correctly visuals can elevate even the most boring content.

 Don’t Be Afraid to Use Many Slides
A lot of people make the mistake of trying to condense their slides, thinking that fewer slides will make the audience pay more attention.  However this can often lead to the opposite effect. By cramming information on slides you inadvertently create convoluted slides that are hard to follow. Instead choose more slides with less information on each, this does not mean your presentation should be long, in fact the ideal time is 20 minutes, but it does allow you to keep a minimalist feel to your slides helping increase retention and engagement.

If you’d rather skip the design altogether, then let us take care of it for you. Check out Ethos3’s wide range of presentation design services.

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