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Improving PowerPoint design

  • Published on March 17, 2022
Improve PowerPoint presentation design for remote or in-person presentations.

In this business environment the design of your PowerPoint or Keynote presentations has never been more important. Improving PowerPoint designs can help you make a sale, convince others of your skills or expertise, or show the productivity of you and your team. This is equally true for presentations created with Keynote or Google Slides. In-person presentations may have allowed for banter with small talk, a smile, conversations before or after a seminar, or to even sway people with refreshments and small gifts. Now it is all on you, your voice, and your presentation. Now, more than ever business professionals need to prepare and present powerful messages with convincing visual designs. There are two parts to improving presentation designs for PowerPoint, Keynote, and Google Slides. The first is to focus on information design and the second is to improve the visual design. Both of these are discussed here. If you prefer, you can also take a training class for presentation design which are available online or in-person.

Using Information design to improve presentation design

The way to make certain your presentation in PowerPoint, Google Slides, or Keynote is well designed and powerful is to take a step back, away from your computer. Start your presentation design with a large piece of paper and a pencil. Take on the task of mind-mapping your thoughts. Explore your message, expand on it, try to find the fundamental information that will make your presentation better and different than any other like it.

Another important step for improving your presentation design is for it to be well organized. Before building the slides, create an outline for your presentation. Using sticky notes, Microsoft Word, or any other text editing tool, break down your concepts into an outline view. Test your presentation, make sure the hierarchy is in order. This is also when you will recognize a pattern that will help you to build a more powerful story. For instance, the three reasons you want to work out, or the five improvements we made over the last month.

You can also create your outline in your presentation software. Both PowerPoint and Keynote allow you to work in an outline view that help you to build your story without distracting you with visual design. At this point the visual design is less important than the story you are creating.

Using Visual Design to improve presentation design

Once you feel confident about your message you can apply your company’s theme to your outline. PowerPoint, Keynote and Google slides allow you to use Master slides that can be shared with others within your organization as themes. By discovering how to create and use these themes you can easily apply your company branding, change fonts and colors.

By following principles of visual design, you can build a simple clean presentation design that is as powerful in its imagery as it is in its story. Large hero images, along with strong text and good use of space are important. You do not have to be a designer by trade to learn these things. Learning principles of good design are available to anyone.

If discovering how to better design a presentation is something that is interesting to you consider attending a PowerPoint Design class or Keynote Design class. These classes are useful individually, but they also work as a great team building course as well, and can be customized to use your marketing tools, and branding elements.

About the author

Christopher Smith is president of American Graphics Institute in Boston, Massachusetts. He is the publisher and editor of the Digital Classroom book series, which have sold more than one million copies. At American Graphics Institute, he provides strategic technology consulting to marketing professionals, publishers and to large technology companies including Google, Apple, Microsoft, and HP. An expert on web analytics and digital marketing, he delivers Google Analytics classes along with workshops on digital marketing topics. He is also the author of more than 10 books on electronic publishing tools and technologies, including the Adobe Creative Cloud for Dummies. Christopher did his undergraduate studies the at the University of Minnesota, and then worked for Quark, Inc. prior to joining American Graphics Institute where he has worked for 20 years.