The Introduction to Presentation Design: 7 Rules for Creating Effective Slides
The key to a great presentation design is to create visually stunning yet simple slides that your audience can quickly comprehend. Most people can’t effectively read and listen at the same time. The presentations that really stand out allow viewers to avoid reading lots of text by communicating information visually. The following presentation by Alex Rister takes a look 7 fundamental rules in creating slides:
7 Visual Design Rules to Remember
1) Slides are not Documents
Typical slides tend to be boring with a bunch of bullet point text and monotonous styling. We’ve all suffered death by PowerPoint during some presentation or another. Remember that dry professor who used to read through every slide and and put half the class to sleep as a result? So don’t treat your PowerPoints like a Word Document by turning your slides into a written communication instead of a visual presentation.
2) Picture Superiority Effect
Find captivating images for your slide sets. Avoid using lame clip art, watermarked images or any other cheesy stock photos. Some great resources to find images include Flickr and Compfight. Look for interesting and relevant pictures that can be used commercially under the Creative Commons license (where you would typically give them credit for the image). The best image ratio size for a PowerPoint slide is 1024 X 768 pixels.
3) Keep Slides Simple
If people can’t understand your slides within a few moments, than it’s too much information. To keep a slide easily understandable cut down on any extracurricular noise that isn’t needed. Use large readable text (at least size 30) and take advantage of clear contrasts to illustrate important points. And most importantly, keep each slide simple with just one main idea to pitch. Obey the 3-second rule of glance media!
4) Slides Must Have Unity
The theme of your presentation is the foundation of the design. To make your presentation look professional, establish a consistent unified theme throughout your slide deck. Limit and repeat fonts, colors and shapes for styling consistency, typically choosing between 1-3 of each. A unified layout provides a key advantage when you’re looking to promote a brand identity or theme that can be noticeable during the entire slideshow.
5) Display Data Clearly
Your presentation data needs to be displayed clearly for your audience to grasp the information within a few seconds. Choose simple ways to visualize your data like graphs and charts, making use of bold contrasts to highlight the most important data points. Look to find the most recent and relevant data for your presentation from authoritative sources. And always make sure to cite your references to give your presentation more credibility!
6) Use Multimedia Wisely
Adding multimedia like videos to your slides can provide some stimulating visuals for your audience to engage with. Just make sure to choose your multimedia wisely and not detract from the flow of the presentation. When it comes to video, use short clips that can be consumed briefly and always make sure that you’ve added or embedded the video correctly. Countless PowerPoints decks have plundered due to YouTube videos not playing or loading properly.
7) Never Forget Your Audience
Remember who this presentation is for, your audience! It’s not a race you don’t speed through your slides. But don’t take forever reading through each slide either. Giving a great presentation is a careful balance of story telling as you narrate through the visuals and message of your slide show while engaging with your listeners. Practice makes perfect so spend time tweaking your presentation as you go through some trial runs working out your timing and delivery.
Hopefully these rules have provided you a nice introduction into the art of effective presentation design. Are you ready to go out now and create an awesome slide deck of your own?