The Basics of Powerpoint Slide Design

A good presentation is composed of many different things.  The speaker, the content, the media are all important aspects of a good presentation.  With so many new formats in the presentation world, the importance of the basic components that make a presentation good is often forgotten.

That’s why 24 Slides has come up with two blogs about the basics of presentation ranging from slide design to presentation structure that we think are too often overlooked. Let’s go back to the basics of slide design and see what your individual slides say about your presentation as a whole.

 1. Color Schemes –  What message are your colors sending to you audience? 

Blue – Calming/focus/concentration – Professional.  The most common background of presenters is blue. It is calming, while remaining professional. Great in corporate environments where financials are being discussed for example.

Green – Captivating – Enticing. Trying to evoke conversation in your audience? Try Green. It is the color of inspiration and creativity.

Red – Intimidating – Direct – Use cautiously. Often associated with negative especially when considering numbers. For instance, avoid using it when presenting financial information!

Purple – Emotional – Spiritual- A Favorite amongst women,  it is a color that is good when talking about deeper feelings, or abstract concepts.

Yellow – Attention Grabbing – Though it is very attention grabbing color, yellow is also the most frustrating color to the psyche and therefore should be avoided as a background.  Key words/points may be highlighted, but little more should be done in yellow.

Black – Strong, professional, but intimidating.  Black is a strong color and is not used as much as it once was.  It is a color that evokes the sense of finalizing something.

White – a popular color when using Minimalistic styles – white is pure – but also considered boring.

2. Font – Is your powerpoint presentation coherent

An unnoticeable part of the presentation until you have used the wrong font and your audience spends their time squinting at the projector trying to decipher what is written.  Firstly, use the same font throughout the entire presentation – the only except being using a bold variation of the same font (e.g Arial and Arial Bold.) Secondly, note that some fonts do not work well with the often low quality imaging of many projectors.

Serif Fonts – (e.g Times New Roman)

Serif Fonts are argued to be easier legible at low font sizes – but the detail is often lost when projected.  They are favored for heavy text situations, but not when presented over large projections.

Sans Serif – (e.g Arial)

Are said to be the better fonts when giving presentations because they do not lose quality over lower resolutions as easily as Serif fonts.  Though it is true; presentations are saturated with Serif fonts, you can find a font that is not used as much and will give the audience a fresh font to look at instead of Helvetica, again.

3. Graphics, What style do you want to give to your talk? 

Graphics can range vastly in the world of presentation, anything from the strict, meticulous designs we like to call “corporate”, to the highly animated designs which we call “cartoonish”.

The corporate style is best suited for the business man needing to deliver a large quantity data during the presentation. Designs are subtle in color, but striking and concise with their graphs and charts.

Cartoonish designs are heavy in animation and media.  They may use transitioning sounds between slides, and oftentimes have bright and vivid color.  This is not to say that they are “less professional,” but the atmosphere is surely more laid back, and this style should only be used when the presentation is in that atmosphere.

4. Charts & Graphs

We believe that charts and graphs can make or break your presentation.  The use of charts and graphs depends on your atmosphere and audience. A professional and good looking graph can make a huge difference.

5. Media

Whether you are going for more of a minimalist Zen Presentation with little or no media, or a presentation that utilises a big variety of it, every circumstance calls for a different level of included media. Sound, Videos, Pictures, all have their place, and will help you captivate your audience.

Are you using them in the right place? Have a look at Slideshops blogs about new age media, and Sound in presentations.

Now that you know the basics of Slide design, apply it in your next presentation? It will only take you a short amount of time, but the result will be immediate. Good presentations make the difference!