10 Design Tips for PowerPoint slides

In last week’s blog we briefly mentioned that badly designed slides can ruin a presentation. Not everyone is naturally creative though and if your talents lie elsewhere our 10 design tips for PowerPoint below might save your next presentation.

1. Design your own template
Whilst Microsoft provides a library of PowerPoint templates it’s a much better idea to create your own before you start building your slide set. This way you can tailor your slides to your brand – use your corporate colours and logo to keep everything consistent.

2. Don’t use too much text
There’s no need to fill your slides with blocks of text or bullet point lists, even if you have a lot of information to share. Just put the main headings up and elaborate on these as you speak. If you add too much text the audience will read it for themselves and won’t be listening to what you are saying.

3. Use great visuals
Instead of blocks of text use imagery to illustrate your points. Just make sure that any imagery you use is relevant to the message and don’t over do it by using too many visuals in one slide.

4. Replace excel data with charts
Tables of Excel data can be hard to read and aren’t very visually attractive. Instead convert the data into charts and graphs, and pick colours that complement your template design

10 presentation design tips - illustration

5. Choose your fonts wisely
A clear sans-serif font such as Helvetica works best as it will be easiest for the audience to read. If you want to use a fun font, keep this for the headings. Don’t use too many different fonts in the same slide.

6. Make sure the text is big enough to read
You might be presenting to a large audience so you need to make sure that the text is visible to everyone. Text under 24 points is usually going to be too small for everyone to read. A clear, bold font in size 38 to 44 point is best for headings, and 28 or 32 point is best for other text.

7. Go easy on the animations and transitions
Don’t overdo it with the animations and transitions as it can make an otherwise great presentation look a bit amateur. Pick a subtle transition and apply this to your template so it’s the same on all slides.

8. Use the alignment tools
Aligning your graphics, text and charts makes the presentation look a lot more professional. PowerPoint has in built tools you can use to align the slide elements for you.

9. Use contrasting colours
For your message to stand out a high level of contrast between the background and text is vital. Either go for a light background with dark text, or a dark background with white text. If you have a patterned background try putting a block of colour behind the text to ensure it stands out. Remember that colours don’t always look the same on a big screen as they do on your laptop.

10. Less is not always more
Don’t worry about having too many slides. It’s better to have a lot of slides than cramming all of your information onto as few as possible. Keep it to one main point per slide, this will not only make it easier for your audience to follow but will also give you more space to create effective, well designed slides.

If you would like more advice on improving your slides, get in touch with us.