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Better Presentations: 7 Design Tips that Make a Difference

Do you know this situation? You spend days preparing for an important presentation to customers, business partners or colleagues. Then day X is here and the nightmare begins: people are bored, play on their phones and fight to not fall asleep. All the effort and work you put into your presentation seems useless.


bored woman during presentation


GOOD DESIGN FOR BETTER PRESENTATIONS


Good design can help! While our design tips for better presentations won't guarantee you 100% attention from every single person in your audience, they will definitely make your presentation more successful by keeping your audience more interested and engaged.


Are you ready for fewer snore noises and more interest within your audience? Here we go!


better presentations: 7 design tips that make a difference


TIP #1: LESS IS MORE


Less is often more. This means: Place as little text as possible, but as much as necessary on a slide. Keywords or short amounts of text are definitely better than whole sentences. The reason is clear: The presentation slides should support what was said and not repeat it one to one.


You probably know this from your own experience: You are sitting in a presentation, a slide is shown and you try to briefly read over the looong text on the slide while the speaker is speaking. You cannot focus on both at the same time.



The situation is different, for example, with quotes that are important. These can be shown in large text on a slide, but the presenter should read them loud and clear. This works best as it reinforces the message of the quote.


quote on slide

In addition, it is important to ensure that there is enough white space. This gives the text more room to breathe and doesn't overwhelm your audience. Your presentation will be better if you have more slides with brief text than a few slides with lots of text.



TIP #2: BE CAREFUL WITH FONTS & COLOURS


Be careful when mixing fonts! Make sure not to mix too many fonts with each other. Two or three fonts are enough. Everything else tires the eye - and brings no benefit. Don't underestimate the power of typography!



The choice of colour is about two essential aspects: optimal legibility and good contrast. However, when choosing the colour, be careful not to use too many different colours together.


Subtle colours such as light grey, eggshell or white are well suited for the background. The colour for the font must have sufficient contrast to the background. It should be noted that dark writing on a lighter background is generally easier to read. For smaller text or "deliberate exceptions", lighter colours can then be used for the font with darker colours for the background.


Examples:

  • black font on white background

  • dark grey font on light grey background

  • dark blue font on an eggshell-coloured background

  • dark red font on light pink background

  • and so on …



For special highlights, it is best to choose an accent colour that offers sufficient contrast. This allows you to emphasise individual elements on a presentation slide.


Examples:

  • green accent colour for a black font and white background

  • red accent colour for a dark grey font and light grey background

  • pink accent colour for a dark blue font on eggshell background

  • and so on …




TIP #3: TIME NAVIGATION

"How long is that going to take?" Admittedly, a question that isn't something you like to hear when you're giving a presentation. Normally, however, you can tell by looking at your audience if this question is even "thought"...


A subtle time navigation is a great solution here. You are probably familiar with a time navigation in the form of progress bars, which grow further depending on how far you have come in completing a questionnaire, for example. People love to see they make progress!


You can utilise this positive effect, which everyone loves to experience, in your presentation design by incorporating a subtle time-based navigation bar.


time navigation in presentation design


TIP #4: THE GRID MAKES THE DIFFERENCE

Grids help the audience to orient themselves easily and draw logical conclusions. In this way, grids ensure a harmonious division of individual elements - instead of creating confusion.




TIP #5: BE CAREFUL WHEN USING ICONS

Icons are great. Unfortunately, the mistake is made far too often to use icons in an inflationary manner. Here an icon, there an icon - icons are often placed like wild growth, as in "look how cool we are, we use icons!".


The same applies here: less is more. Icons should be placed where they make sense and support the message of the text and/or spoken word. A "meaningless" use of icons is ugly, seems forced, inharmonious and counterproductive. Icons should subtly support the text or what is being said - not the other way around.


In addition, attention must be paid to a visual constant. That means: Use icons in the same style or - ideally - in your brand design. For example, look at the icons we made for our client Spedifort as part of the rebranding.




TIP #6: PHOTO CIRCUS

Images play a key role in presentations because they convey emotions. In order for these to be transported as intended, images should fit together beautifully and have a similar colour mood.




TIP #7: PRESENTATION IN YOUR BRAND DESIGN

In order to support a serious and professional image, it is essential to design the presentation in your company’s brand design. Professional design agencies always provide you with a brand design manual as part of the brand design development, so that you can work flexibly and easily.




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