We’ve all been in a situation when we needed to present some idea, a school project, ourselves, a new product feature, etc. And we’ve all sat through many presentations, some of which stayed in our minds for a long time.
Whether you are trying to sell your brand, wow the audience with your products, send your portfolio, or pitch a business idea, you will need to master the art of making powerful visual stories.
What separates a fantastic speech from one that will fade out the minute we leave the room? Here are five design tricks to make your presentation stand out and have a pleasing effect on people.
How to use text to increase interest in your presentation
When it comes to text in your presentation, a few simple rules will ensure your message is effectively delivered.
Don’t use sentences
Don’t use sentences if you want to make your presentation stand out. You want your audience’s attention to be both on you and your presentation, and you want them to remember the core of your idea and the feeling you are trying to communicate.
By putting whole sentences in your slides, you’ll lose the audience’s focus since they’ll try to read everything instead of listening to you.
You, as a speaker, are supposed to deliver content and information, and the display is there to reinforce your core ideas and attract attention visually.
So, instead of using sentences, use bullet points.
Use simple fonts
Fonts that are usually used on paper aren’t as great on presentations. A group of fonts that are easier to read on-screen is sans-serif fonts – Helvetica, Tahoma, Verdana, Arial, etc.
Of course, you can try out some other fonts, but make sure to check out the font’s readability from far away.
Also, it would help if you stuck to one or two font tops. Don’t overdesign your slides with various fonts, as it will only draw attention and carry the message badly.
Size of the matter of the letter – use 30pt or larger
If you want your presentation to be easily readable, you should stick to large font sizes – 30 or higher.
With this simple rule, you’ll do two things at a time – make your slideshow readable and focus only on essential points instead of whole thoughts.
To test if the slides can be easily seen, stand six feet from the monitor and check if you can read everything written on a slide.
To make a point, use simple effects
If you want to point out specifically, use bold, italics, or a change of color. Our minds are drawn to even the smallest changes, so these will be the easiest and most effective ways to make something stand out.
Use colors so your key points pop-out
Make your presentation slides simple and adds all the exceptional details in your speech. Being simple is more effective when it comes to using colors, too.
If you use a light background and light colors, your audience will quickly get tired of figuring out what is written in the presentation. So stick to a light and dark color scheme – light letters on a dark background and vice versa. Also, avoid harsh gradients for both background and the letters since that can be hard to read.
You should use more than four colors on one chart. If you have a chart with many variables, try to break them down into a few charts.
To pick the colors, check out your company’s brand guidelines which probably include primary and secondary colors that should be used when presenting in the company’s name.
While you are at it, you can check if those guidelines have some rules about how the company’s logo should be used. That can affect your slide layout a lot.
Before your presentation, check how the colors are projected before your presentation since they can be different from what appears on the monitor.
Use images to evoke interest and inspiration
Images should be used to break down the text, add a human feel to your slides, and inspire the audience.
To do so, you should pick the images you plan to include in your presentation carefully. We are all used to overly used stock photos of businesspeople in a meeting, so try to think about pictures in a different light.
If you choose the right images, you could make your audience ask themselves questions about your topic, connect it to something of their interest, better remember critical points, and come up with new ideas.
So, how to choose the right images for your presentation? Yeah, choosing the right visuals is also part of your responsibility to make your presentation stand out.
There is no simple answer, but there are a few guidelines.
Avoid being generic
The images need to be relatable, original, and motivating. That means that you need to illustrate the situation in a way that is slightly different from the literal showing.
For example, it’s better to show intertwining tree roots or branches when trying to illustrate the connection than a cable.
Or, if you want to demonstrate teamwork, try to think about some complex systems like beehives, traffic, or something from daily life that can illustrate many components working together to make a whole, instead of a few people in an office.
Don’t be distractive
Another aspect to think about when choosing images for your presentation is how well it goes with your point. You don’t want people to look at the picture and stop listening to you.
For example, suppose you have a complicated chart with a lot of information. In that case, your audience will try to understand the chart, and their attention will transfer to the visual part of the presentation.
Also, if you go too far with illustrating situations, people might lose the connection between the images and the topic you are talking about. So, try to find supportive photos for your presentation and lead your audience to understand why a specific idea is there.
Evoke inspiration and engagement
Just like we said at the beginning of this section, your images can make people think about your topic in the broader sense, coming up with new ideas or topics to research.
That’s why you need to use a bit more abstract and aspirational images. That way, your audience will connect what you are saying and what they have thought about lately.
To find inspirational images, you need to think about the tone of your presentation, colors, topic, and related ideas.
A few general tips are to use one or two large images instead of several small images on a single slide, keep the size of the pictures the same throughout your slides, and arrange pictures vertically or horizontally.
Use templates already made for your topic
Presentation layout is an important part of how understandable your visual showcase is.
The way you distinguish headlines from other parts on a single slide, the way you position images, text, illustration, and use colors can make your display very effective or, on the other hand, make your audience baffled by trying to understand what is happening.
There are endless possibilities on how you layout your slides, but if you want to avoid confused people trying to figure out what you are trying to show instead of listening to you, there are a few rules to follow.
Left to right, top to bottom
Most people are used to reading left to right, top to bottom. Also, we tend to read the largest letters first and the smallest at the end. Newspapers use that rule for headlines and subheadlines for ages.
You can also use these tips to navigate people’s eyes the way you want them to see the information.
Use premade templates for your topic
One of the tricks on how to make your presentation stand out is using premade templates related to your topic. When you don’t have time to figure out how your presentation should look and how the layout complements your topic, you can turn to premade templates and save a lot of time.
There are two ways you can approach a template. You can think about your idea, its key points, and how it should be organized and try to find a template that suits your needs.
Or, you can search templates by topic so the template can give you ideas on how to organize your visual story.
People who made the templates researched many different topics and needs of people trying to present something, so they included everything you need in a particular template.
So, if you search a template by topic, you’ll find focused slides built for your industry needs.
Most of the templates are easily adaptable and customizable to make the presentation look and feel like your brand.
Design rules to make your presentation even more attractive
Since the possibilities are endless, there are many ways you can ruin or at least damage your presentation. But, here are some design rules that will make your presentation stand out, your job become easier, and your slides more attractive.
- Layout – standardize fonts, positions, colors, and styles throughout your slides
- Header – always use the same graphical rule at the top of the slides
- Background – should be consistent and subtle so your content can pop out
- Transitions – better to stick to one transition. At least limit the number of transitions so your audience doesn’t get confused
- Space – leave some space around your content (images, text)
- Borders – if you use borders, always stick to the same type
- The number of slides – keep it simple because too many slides can make your audience doze off.
The need for a great to make your presentation stand out is never higher.
Whether you are pitching a new product, a new feature of a product, trying to explain something, teaching someone something new, or wanting to showcase your portfolio, you’ll need to show that you are not only great in what you do but also great at selling that.
See also: 20 Books about Presentation Design
It’s effortless to make your presentation stand out
Some presentations can even make money online on their own, without the speaker. Being here and reading this means you are on a great track to learning how to make awesome slides, so bravo to you!
Keep on learning by reading, researching, and doing. And pay attention to your audience, ask them for feedback (the good and the bad points), and try to incorporate the feedback to get better every time you are presenting your brand.
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