Creative PowerPoint visuals are powerful.

They can stimulate feelings, memories and tap into past learning.

PowerPoint visuals can be any image you can use in a presentation, such as photos, icons, graphs or illustrations. These are all highly valuable communication tools… but they are only effective when they fit with the core message!

In a previous blog post we wrote about the importance of engaging the visual channel. Here we focus on the importance of using visuals to actively support your message. It’s not enough to use striking images: a PowerPoint visual must communicate the right message.

The danger, if you use an irrelevant or inappropriate visual, is that it will distract and confuse – basically doing more harm than good. Rather than adding depth and clarity, the wrong visual could send your audience wandering off on a completely unrelated trains of thought.

presentation neuroscience


The game “Pictionary” is all about creating this link between a concept and a visual image. You won’t win at Pictionary unless your visuals speak your message clearly: a beautifully drawn picture which no-one understands isn’t going to score you any points! To win at Pictionary, you have to think creatively and draw something which your team mates will immediately understand, and which leads them to say the exact word or expression you have in your mind.

The type of creative thinking that Pictionary requires is exactly what you need in order to design visually powerful presentations. So get out the egg-timer and pencils if necessary, and leave the sleek but meaningless visuals behind.

Always ask yourself “will this visual help my audience to understand?” Unless the answer is a resounding “Yes!” you need to find an alternative. Don’t be lazy with your creative visuals: get inspired and get them right!