Fundamental Principles of Presentation Design: White Space (Part 3)

Less is more. You’ve probably heard this mentioned a million times before in fashion, art and design or anything related to the visual. So far, parts one and two of our advanced presentation design series have implicitly suggested the same concept when it comes to presentation design. But how do you do more for less?

As we have discussed in part two, the first step is to remove all unnecessary elements — from limiting your content to only cover the key elements to removing all of the unnecessary visual elements that clutter your presentation design.

Limiting the content does not mean decreasing the intellectual value of the presentation. It means making complex ideas more accessible. No matter how complex the topic may be, there is always a simpler way to present it.

White space

White space, as the name suggests, refers to the blank space in an image. Also called negative space, it refers to the space around and between the subject of an image. The most common presentation design mistake is to fill every inch of every slide with information and various visual elements. White space never goes to waste because it gives the key elements more breathing room and emphasizes your main points.

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 According to Scott Berinato, one of the leading experts in data visualization, “With charts, our eyes go straight to things and we can’t stop it from happening, so we see what stands out. We can’t help but notice color and we can’t help but notice outliers. As soon as that happens, as soon as our eyes land on these things, we immediately start to form narratives and making meaning out of it.”

If a slide contains text and images, the audience is naturally drawn to the visual element first. When you use relevant relevant and powerful images in your presentation design, you can expect your audience to fully understand what it is you’re trying to tell them.

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