10 Design Tips for PowerPoint slides

We know 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.

10 Design tips for PowerPoint

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
Do not fill your slides with blocks of text or bullet point lists, even if you have a lot of information to share. Just state a key message as the main heading up and elaborate on this as you speak. If you add too much text the audience will be reading 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. Make sure the imagery you use is relevant to the message and don’t over do it by using too many visuals on one slide.

4. Replace Excel data with charts
Tables of data can be hard to read and aren’t very visually attractive. Convert as much data as you can into charts and infographics, and pick colours that complement your template design.

10 presentation design tips - illustration

5. Choose your fonts wisely
Clear sans-serif fonts (such as Helvetica) are considered the easiest to read onscreen. If you want to use a custom font, keep this for the headings. Don’t use too many different fonts on the same slide. And do be careful also about using custom fonts – they won’t be installed on other computers, so if you email your slides, or switch computers, all your custom font text will default to Calibri or Arial (usually) and ruin your design!

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. Especially those at the back of the room. Text under 20 points is typically too small. A clear, bold font in size 38 to 44 point is good for headings, and 20 to 32 point is good for other text.

7. Go easy on the animations and transitions
Don’t overdo 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 light slides instead cramming all too much information onto as few slides as possible. Stick to one main message 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.

Check out our portfolio slides to see some nicely designed examples.