8 design tips for presentation slides with impact

posted by Chris Cooke May 26, 2020

Just because we’re all in lockdown doesn’t mean our design standards should slip. If anything, the way we present ourselves is even more important now than ever. No one really wants to stare at your face for 20 minutes while you waffle on about last month’s financial update.

So, I’ve put together a list of my top 8 design tips to give your presentations an impactful and professional edge. By the end of this list you’ll be a presentation design master!

1. KISS

The KISS principle is something that I use all the time, it stands for “Keep It Simple, Stupid”. So, no matter your presentation's subject matter, try and keep it to one idea per slide. Keeping the text short and to the point will help you get your message across faster.

2. No Sentences.

Get your message across using as few words as possible. Think of your slides as a visual aid that will help your audience understand your presentation more deeply. Don’t distract your audience with busy slides. Use simple statements to help keep the focus on you and your message.

3. 6x6 Rule

If you can’t avoid having bullet points on your slides, then I recommend using the 6x6 rule. This rule states that you should use no more than 6 bullets per slide and no more than 6 words per bullet. Remember: Keep It Simple, Stupid.

4. Go Large or Go Home.

It’s no good using the 6x6 rule if people can’t read what you have written, so keep your fonts nice and large. Many experts agree that a font size of 30pt is as low as you should go.

5. An Image speaks a Thousand Words.

Go big and use a single full frame image to get your idea across. Science tell us that images are processed 60,000x faster than words. This will help get your message across faster and keep the audience's focus on you and your message. If you’re struggling for images, I recommend Unsplash for great royalty-free images.

6. A Splash of Colour.

Using the KISS principle, you should keep your colour palette simple too. I recommend using no more than 2 - 3 colours, or shades of a single colour if you dare. If you’re not the artistic type, you can use sites like Adobe Color to help you pick the perfect palette.

7. Simple fonts

We know having lots of words on screen is distracting, but so too is having the right amount of words in an illegible font. If your audience is trying to decipher the hieroglyphs on the screen they aren’t listening to your message. Use a nice sans serif font and try to stick with just one font or one font family, if you can.

8. Top of the Charts.

Finally, if you want to show your audience all your lovingly collected data, try putting it into a simple chart or graph to help them digest the information more easily. Remember: images are taken in by the brain much faster than words, so take the time to convert your spreadsheet to something a little easier on the eye.

I hope these 8 tips will help you make your next presentation a captivating one, and remember to Keep It Simple, because less really is more.