10 Tips for Designing Compelling Presentation Slides

By Jujoe Manlapaz, DTP Specialist

Content and design plays an integral part in the making of a powerful presentation, one that gets all the points across effectively.

What differentiates a good presentation from a poor one? While your pitch may be perfect, the images you show can greatly add or detract from your message.

These design tips will help you create compelling presentation slides that will bring your message across more effectively, whether in the courtrooms or to your clients.

1) Create your own brand identity

Standard stock templates are aplenty and while it’s tempting to use them for convenience, bear in mind that these are widely used. It’s always better to start from scratch and build from there or create your very own professionally designed template based on your firm’s brand identity.

2) Don’t distract the audience with too much text

Try not to have more than six to eight lines of text on one slide. Your audience might completely overlook the main points as they have to process everything you say while they view the slide.

3) Share one idea per slide

As a general rule of thumb, use each slide to build the case and incrementally tell your story. Try to share one idea per slide.

4) Consider the typeface

Avoid using serif fonts for body text which can be hard to read. Instead, stick to clean typefaces like Arial or Helvetica. For slides with darker backgrounds, bold the text for greater readability.

5) 8H Rule of Legibility

There is an old rule of thumb in the presentation world called the “8H Rule of Legibility”. The rule goes like this: If you can read an image from a distance of eight times its height, odds are that everyone will be able to read it when projected.

Fontsize 18 is a safe number, but 22 or 24 gives you extra room in case the presentation screen is a little smaller and farther away than you expected.

6) Create a contrast with the text and background

In order for your text to stand out, you need a strong contrast between your text and the background. A useful tip is to place a block of colour behind the image to make the text more legible.

7) Use no more than five colours

Whilst it’s tempting to have a riot of colours, keep your slides visually appealing by using no more than five colours.

8) Contrast text colours to emphasise important points

Use a single colour in your selected palette to emphasise important points in your text. However, make sure not to overdo it.

9) Visual aids as a powerful aid

Visuals can help retain and elicit an emotional response. Consider the use of powerful visuals to get your point across. Limit it however to one image per slide – too many and it detracts attention away from the main message.

10) Avoid animation or sound effects

Animations can be very distracting, which obviously diminishes your presentation and your credibility. Pick one or two effects to bring in text and graphics, and stick with just those effects.
A well designed visual presentation not only lends depth but it makes it so much easier for your audience to grasp and remember your message.

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