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The 5 Rules of Presentation Design

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Presentations are a visual medium so copying and pasting text from your Word document into your slides is not going to cut it. We don’t want to underestimate the importance of the content of your slides but your presentation will be judged just as much on its appearance.

If you don’t intend to hire a professional presentation designer, then follow these rules to ensure your presentation isn’t let down by its design.

1. Keep Text to a Minimum

You don’t want your audience constantly reading through the masses of text on your slides. Text should be kept to a minimum and your approach should be visually focused. Use imagery to explain concepts coupled with key text that you can elaborate on in your speech. It’s a good idea to try and focus your audience’s attention on one thing at a time and you do this by limiting each slide to one key point.

2. Bullet Points

Don’t use them. Ever. Separate each point onto a different slide with a relevant background image. If you have to list each point on the same slide, then use an icon or image for each point.

3. Design Principles

Remember that when you’re creating your presentation slides you’re a designer. A designer should always follow these four key principles:

i. Contrast
If elements on your slides are different, make sure that they appear distinct from one another – graphic elements and text should contrast well with backgrounds. This can be achieved through use of colour (use this colour contrast checker) and by differentiating the shapes and sizes of elements.

ii. Repetition
Consistency makes designs appealing so make use of repetition to create a visual uniformity that ties your presentation design together.

iii. Alignment
Balance is created in design by aligning elements together. The position of each element should correspond with another.

iv. Proximity
Elements that are related to each should naturally be placed close to one another. This allows your audience to easily follow and correlate information.

4. Use Images to Enhance Content

Make your images relevant to your content and ditch the tacky stock photos.
Search a bit harder and you can find good images for your presentation from subscription stock libraries – but also free services like Unsplash and Death to the Stock Photo.

5. Choosing Fonts

Align your font choice with your subject matter. Serifs are considered more ‘classic’ and sans-serifs ‘modern’. Don’t use more than 3 fonts in your presentation, it helps to keep your design coherent and use the same font for each heading, sub heading and body copy. One way to differentiate headings from body copy is to use the same font but with a different weight.

Remember these key rules for presentation design and your slides will not only look great but will help keep your audience rapt from the get go.

James Robinson is the Marketing Manager for Buffalo7, the UK’s leading PowerPoint presentation design agency. Buffalo7 work with names including UEFA Champions League, Dell, Red Bull, Facebook and the BBC.

For more information, contact us via info@companyapp.co.uk.

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