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24 Common Mistakes in PowerPoint Presentations Design: Being Too Artistic

common mistakes in powerpoint presentations

Table of Contents

Common mistakes in PowerPoint presentations are too artistic, crowded, tacky, and many more. Well, that is kind of our nature to crave a certain degree of attention, and think that people will always see you, hear you, and follow whatsoever you do.

You get the spotlight in this crowd-crowd world. Doesn’t it feel so good? On top of that, that particular act of attention-seeking is acceptable, exceptionally for the creative industry.

Then and there, we look at ourselves in the large mirror. A familiar reflection showed from it. As PowerPoint designers, we genuinely care about originality and give a high value to the artistic process. With that sort of commitment, we promote our pieces of work widely through aesthetics, and it has become a standard we live by.

In the last two years, we attempted to stand out among our competitors. And that’s freaking hard. Why so? Pin on your head that the digital sector is the fastest-growing industry globally. Indonesia per se is in the same line with e-commerce, which has increased by about 60-80% every year.

This condition led to a pathetic mess, where more businesses produced similar kinds of stuff and non-senses. Everyone must be fed up because whenever they look for a trend, they instantly get the trash. Sorry to say, but that’s the fact. In the intangible dimension of presentation design supplier, it is portrayed by monotonous, ugly, and average designs like this:

See? Is that what you call a product of creativity?

Deep inside, we 100% want to scream: “Yo Noob! My granny also can make that one!”

For not being a trash agency, our productions became a bit freer from the typical presentation hobbyist. We started experimenting. We mounted a slide as a canvas to sketch.

We didn’t listen to some sayings that PowerPoint is impossible to be compared with programs such as Adobe, Corel, Prezi, and the other app with desirable tools for showcasing an artistry effect you could name.

We called into question that a computer program is merely an instrument. And, we as the user are the determinant of whether it will work properly or not.

Here is the scenario: you can lend a drawing tablet to an elementary school kid; simultaneously, a pencil is also given to a designer graphic. Let them make a scratch, and without seeing the result, you already know who will do better. Therefore, we could stay pretty optimistic about kicking out the idea that PowerPoint isn’t much to look at.

As a bootstrapper in this creative enterprise world, we tackled our esteem through the massive production of unique PowerPoint presentations

It generally meant that we thrived on creating something anyone never experienced before. We sent our designers out of the box, where they don’t need to think logically, and they came back like a little Leonardo Da Vinci! And then, BOOM! We made it. From that moment onwards, we kept saying to ourselves that we were cool.

By applying UI looks in slides, we finally set the design trends of PowerPoint presentations. Nevertheless, there is a distinction between good and bad in this manner. We indeed meet our expectations. But, is that matter for our clients? Well, let’s ask them.

Do you think it’s essential to apply a splashy placeholder? Do you believe PowerPoint presentations will be more outstanding after using many typefaces? Or more professional looking because of a playful vector?

For some, those mentioned features are arguably unimportant. Something sometimes looks good but is useless. It is the price that we get to pay that is offered by humdrum jobs. We care about a ‘cool-looking slide’ without thinking if it’s applicable in the actual presentation, the first mistake. So many people follow that, and the presentation template marketplace is filled with that kind of design style, the second mistake. Subsequently, we began to raise awareness to prioritize our clients, not our designers. Because that’s where our products end. And here are common mistakes in PowerPoint presentations in breakdown:

Common mistakes in PowerPoint 1: Tacky placeholder

A placeholder is a tool for inserting a picture. You can find it under the Slide Master’s tab option. Usually, it is configured in a square or rectangular frame.

With tremendous respect, that frame is more suited to be placed in a passport. You know, the poker face sort of close-up photo. And we don’t want our client’s presentation to have that look. Hence, for the sake of creativity, we let our designers create an alternative through free-form lines. Afterward, they invented splashy placeholders. Some imitate cow-skin looks, also as pyramids, cliffs, asteroids, and spaceships. All the weird stuff.

Insert a photo in it. Does it well-fitted? ((shake head)). It’s proven that being cool doesn’t mean being useful. Paradoxically, that becomes well-made stuff to boo at. Now, without lessening the quality, let’s do a little trick.

Looks better, huh? Not just better, but the placeholder turns out to be more applicable for any purpose. It may look formal, informal, creative, and so forth because of the photo selection itself. And the usage of the placeholder is merely to assist its framing.

Common mistakes in PowerPoint 2: Micro fonts

Typography games shall meet their core aspects: legibility, readability, and aesthetics. The latest Microsoft Office is stuffed with 90+ typefaces. Regrettably, we can’t stop running in circles made of Montserrat, Arial, and Times New Roman.

After some research, we collected why of font games could be so terrible. The reason is: it is not easy to combine contrasting styles. It is not easy to understand thick and thin strokes. It is not easy to adjust the space between the pairing of letters. And the list goes on.

Hence we commonly find the style as appeared above, just like that, delicate and simple. Perfectly fitted with the footer and header altogether. Now when the projector beams it…

Wait. What?! Something is wrong. For those who experience this one, you would better give a magnifying glass to your audience.

Above is after redesigned looks. Everything is readable now. No more micro fonts in PowerPoint presentations, understand?

See also: Redesign PowerPoint Presentation into Professional Design Easily

Common mistakes in PowerPoint 3: Unimportant vector and text

As if your house is brutally overloaded with furniture in a poor placement, then it will have a claustrophobic sensation. Amidst these, you might be okay. But your mom surely will hate it. So does this occur to your audience? At the first time, you might think that implementing all-in-one would make them get the information at once.

Seeing the slide above, the audience will process it through several levels of analysis. They can’t grab the focus. The core issue is, the slide is composed of decorations rather than matter. Look at that unimportant footer—also those extra vector icons. Not to mention those inconsistent subjects. What is the information to deliver from that? It just leads to an explanatory gap for the audience. So here is our tip: get rid of them.

By decluttering those graphic elements, you must feel a bit loosened. Your concentration gets sharpened. And most prominent of all, you can grab the content with ease.

Common mistakes in PowerPoint 4: Disoriented color

Back then, we gave our clients color-scheme options within their template order. Around 8-10 colors. And based on our experience, most of them weren’t being used. Maybe it is because the alternative couldn’t meet their taste. Another possibility, the color selection could evoke a headache in their audience. That is a bit sad since it is difficult to find the perfect palette match—we are bothering ourselves with a false tactic.

Conversely, from this moment onward, we plan to give them the colors in XML format instead. Simple aside it could reduce the file size, and it is just more and more practical. If you don’t have any idea about XML, click here.

Another important note about presentation design tips, monochromatic will be replaced by duotone next year. As early as 40,000 years ago, our ancestors were keen on oil, animal fat, burnt charcoal, and chalk to express something. With those materials, they produced some old-fashioned colors. And that the monochromatic tradition is. A color with less contrast but more intense.

Common mistakes in PowerPoint 5: Dull slides

Dull slides are one of the common mistakes in PowerPoint presentations to avoid. It is not shocking if the design has shown its unique position. Our slide design is a must-have piece that shouldn’t be neglected. It sets the expression for every inch of our slide and can either stimulate our audiences or leave them sleepy. To put the logo or something on a white slide, we suggest reading about the minimalist concept. On top of that, make it strike with exact hues and design elements to improve our brand look.

Common mistakes in PowerPoint 6: Text-heavy slides

Typography is an indispensable component. All designers must comprehend that text hierarchy and consistency are necessary parts of our deck. And we have understood that putting too much text is monotonous. Make audiences welcome us instead of reading our slides. Instead of applying some texts, we can replace them with charts and infographics.

Common mistakes in PowerPoint 7: No call-to-action

Not only for websites, apps, and social media platforms, which need a call-to-action button but also pitch decks. Every CTA should come at the bottom of our deck and is the place where we need to reveal to our audience the action, the review, and the decision concisely.

Common mistakes in PowerPoint 8: Lots of bullet points

One of the common mistakes in PowerPoint presentations is that we put a lot of bullet points. Our investors are hectic people and don’t have the time to perceive the entire pitch with 50+ slides. So, perform it short at least 10-15 slides, and only require the relevant points. Arouse our audience’s curiosity and hold the discussion working with fewer bullet points.

Common mistakes in PowerPoint 9: Mediocre graphic elements

Our job can be wrapped by a designed deck, even if we tell our best idea and powerful message. We can look for a professional designer if needed to avoid an ugly design. Another way to solve this is to download custom-built templates with a lot of fantastic styles. After finishing our work, don’t forget to ask your colleagues to give you some feedback.

Common mistakes in PowerPoint 10: Disorganized layout

Exposing the data in a chaotic layout can be very complicated. Accordingly, our pitch deck should be prepared systematically for a ridiculous result. We strive to acquaint our company, explain the problem, solve the issue for a better outlook than the competitors, and display our future expectations. Make sure that we can resolve it step-by-step.

See also: 5 Design Trends That Aren’t Cool Anymore

Common mistakes in PowerPoint 11: Not highlighting the risk

Sometimes we are over-satisfied, and it is too critical when we drown in this position. We recognize that many rivals give rise to some business risks, especially when pitching for financing. Consequently, it is our job to impersonate these risks and what the plan is to overcome them. Instead of hiding the outcome, we should show our solutions for tackling them successfully. Our investors will relish our strength to go ahead with possible issues.

Common mistakes in PowerPoint 12: Neglecting competitors

Such attractive common mistakes in PowerPoint presentations as hell when pretending like we don’t care about rivals. Leaving out any information about our competitors will make us arrogant. Be honest about our opponents and what they do famously. Also, use this opportunity to set ourselves apart and show them why we are better than others.

Common mistake is PowerPoint 13: Being arrogant

Just as in the previous point, we are telling our loftiness will turn down our potential investors. Even though we have perfect plans and beautiful slides, our attitude and the way we talk are still taking a crucial part. Never share our bad-mouth about our competitors and stay humble.

Common mistakes in PowerPoint 14: Messy charts

Charts, graphs, and tables are great to display our data. Don’t create the mistake of packing too much data into a single slide, making the analysis hard to think about. Go for simplicity and cleanness to captivate our audience at first sight. To do that, break down high-level information into multiple slides.

Common mistakes in PowerPoint 15: Cliché content

Our investors hate tacky things for sure. That is why avoid cliché like explaining our company as simply as “What is Biology? Biology isn’t math”. Find an excellent way to present our concept, build storytelling, and attract emotions. In the same way, keep a note that investors can be so critical. So, make sure to know our content better than anyone else.

Common mistakes in PowerPoint 16: Lacks of branding

If we want to stand out, we polish our pitch deck by making it a seamless and well-to-do result. Besides that, we can achieve this by using suitable fonts, colors, icons, layouts, and images that match our brand’s look and feel. Include your logo and tagline as well.

Common mistakes in PowerPoint 17: No team profile

Behind a great project, there will always be a great team. Our investors will ask, “Who is behind our successful product?” It is not hard to convince them by introducing our team. By showing our team, we can appreciate the people that offer ideas for the goods.

Common mistakes in PowerPoint 18: Terrible animations and transitions

PowerPoint presentations present a diversity of animation and transition options we can utilize on our slides. One of the pitch deck mistakes overlaps with these, making our deck extremely unprofessional without dismissing the message. Attach simplistic animations like wipes and fades, create consistent changes throughout the entire deck, and avoid common mistakes in PowerPoint presentations like unnecessary sounds.

Common mistakes in PowerPoint 19: Irrelevant problems

Our pitch deck proposes to present the analysis problem of our company. If we show the question incorrectly, then the investors won’t learn more about our problem when giving some solution. Thus, it will create a misunderstanding between both parties. Let’s engage with our audience’s emotions by using SWOT tables. They will be excited about showing their interest and learning how we solve the problem and how they help us overcome our company’s issues.

Common mistakes in PowerPoint 20: Ambiguous plans

To counter ambiguous plans, we can formulate a clear roadmap by using Miro to brainstorm. With it, our investors will not feel anxious when funding our company. When asking for pitching an investment, be very clear about where those funds will be used precisely. Nevertheless, we can express this as a percentage of the total secured investment.

Common mistakes in PowerPoint 21: Uncorrelated visual

Our pitch deck should combine visual support with our verbal pitch. Our pitch deck also shouldn’t need to stand alone and be used as our cue cards. If we need to leave something for our audience as their references, don’t provide copies of the slides instead of creating the handout covering our pitch and all the necessary details.

Common mistakes in PowerPoint 22: Low-quality images

Low-quality images can create unprofessionalism and is an attractive way to turn off investors. Our deck is a reflection of our company with the overall quality we make. Hence we must use high-quality images over our deck. Stop adding amateur photos, and if it is possible to hire a professional to make sure everyone looks good, we plan to include our team’s headshots.

Common mistakes in PowerPoint 23: Too old-fashioned

Investors like for new and innovative thoughts to look at. If our pitch deck looks out-of-date, we are likely to be skipped instantly by them. Try to avoid old colors and cheesy effects like 3D bevels, shapes, and lens flares in the best way. Start designing current trends such as modern design elements and simple graphics. Do you feel like you can’t do it all? Hire a designer for professional support.

Common mistakes in PowerPoint 24: No product demo

Are you serious about creating a pitch deck without a demo? You will regret it. Without a good demo, it can be challenging for investors to grasp our product and idea. A demo could be a screenshot, a mockup, or a video. Notwithstanding our delivery method, it will help potential investors to get acquainted with our product.

Before we arrived at this point, there is always a feeling that says, “Hey, we’re better than X or Y!” It’s so easy to make ourselves feel better by putting others down. Alternatively, we decide to step back and learn from those common mistakes in PowerPoint presentations. By then, we know that we have learned lessons. Just so you know, the slides we put as an example of blunders above are the first release of our 2017 presentation template, one of our best-selling items. In consequence, in 2020, we’ll repair them with some content maturation.

See also: Dos and Don’ts of Impactful PowerPoint Presentation Design


With introspective belief, we will say that functionality comes first, and artistic later. It is vital when creating something to consider what that message is. It is essential to view what that object could have been used for, why it was made with its characteristics, and its communication.

That is the sum-up of these common mistakes in PowerPoint presentations revelation. We have been in a position to think of an amazing-looking design that can impress people. So silly. Still, we are not truthfully correct to say so. We are far from that. Though we radically wiped out those aesthetic ideals, it doesn’t mean that whoever does all forms of artwork is wrong. We believe that everyone has their methods, and now we are just on the way to craving more substances for our clients without ego-surfing to impress them. Alongside these scenarios, we won’t stop learning and give the best shot for valuable purposes.

Let’s visit RRSlide to download free PowerPoint presentation templates with many categories. But wait, don’t go anywhere and stay here with our Blog to keep up-to-date on all the best pitch deck template collections and design advice from our PowerPoint experts yet to come!

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