Unless you actively partake in some form of advanced memory training exercises or have a photographic memory, you’re most likely to forget about this article in a couple of weeks or so. It’s scientifically proven that people are more likely to remember something if they are continually being provided enough stimuli. The keyword here is repetition.
Delivering a speech isn’t so different from designing slides. You tell your audience what you want to say, say it, and then say it all over again. “Aren’t I going to sound like a broken record?” you may ask. You won’t if you find other ways of delivering your core message, such as when you use synonyms of a keyword in writing an article. Just place emphasis on what you want your audience to remember because repetition leads to retention.
In designing slides, this principle creates a greater sense of unity and cohesiveness throughout your whole presentation. Although each slide may portray a distinct message, the overall theme remains the same by emphasizing key elements that subtly bring your core message all together.
Such elements include using the same color palette, shapes, fonts, font size, graphic concepts, etc. all throughout. This allows the audience to view the slides as part of a larger whole. However, be careful not to overuse this (e.g. standard templates) as it tends to become too boring and will be hard to distinguish one slide from another. A quick fix is to add contrast or vary its size and location without interfering with your core message.
With repetition comes one common problem that most presenters face – branding. As I have mentioned in my post about design basics, you don’t have to use a logo on every slide. No matter what your company says (just as long as it won’t get you fired), pick up elements from the logo, such as color palettes, or shapes, and use these instead.
Think of it this way: in any conversation, you never begin every sentence with an introduction of who you are. It’s not only awkward, but it’s downright redundant. Unless your audience has short-term amnesia, then you shouldn’t be constantly repeating who you are! Repetition is not equivalent to redundancies in design. After some minor adjustments, your company will thank you later after you’ve delivered a good and honest presentation.
Speaking of branding, you can also try to make a name for yourself by using certain graphics throughout your slides. Some people, like Diane Tchakirides, use monkeys; to add humor, while Markuz Wernli Saito use paperclips;. Whatever you use, make sure that it doesn’t interfere with your core message and that your audience does not become distracted by it.
This concludes the series on fundamental design principles. All of these principles boil down to one main theme – simplicity. However, these principles are just good on paper; if your audience doesn’t understand you and your main message, then all your efforts will have been done in vain. Remember to think of your audience and present your message in a clear and understandable manner.
If you haven’t read our previous posts on fundamental principles, check them out now by clicking the links below.
Part 1: Arrangement
Part 2: Differentiation
Part 3: White Space