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Master the Art of Presentation with These Free PPT Template Designs

In today’s digital age, presentations have become an integral part of our professional and personal lives. Whether you are a student, entrepreneur, or working professional, chances are you have had to create and deliver a presentation at some point. However, creating visually appealing and engaging presentations can be a daunting task. This is where free PowerPoint (PPT) template designs come into play. With these templates, you can easily master the art of presentation and captivate your audience with stunning visuals. In this article, we will explore the benefits of using free PPT template designs and how they can elevate your presentations to the next level.

Enhance Visual Appeal

One of the key advantages of using free PPT template designs is the ability to enhance the visual appeal of your presentations. These templates are professionally designed by experts in graphic design and offer a wide range of layouts, color schemes, and fonts that can instantly transform your content into a visually stunning masterpiece. By using these pre-designed templates, you no longer have to worry about spending hours on end tweaking every aspect of your slides. Instead, you can focus on crafting compelling content while letting the template take care of the aesthetics.

Save Time and Effort

Another significant benefit of using free PPT template designs is the time and effort it saves you in creating a presentation from scratch. Designing slides that are visually appealing can be time-consuming and requires a certain level of design expertise. With pre-designed templates readily available for download, all you need to do is select a template that suits your topic or theme and customize it according to your needs. This not only saves you valuable time but also ensures consistency across all your slides.

Professionalism at Your Fingertips

Using free PPT template designs adds an element of professionalism to your presentations without requiring any specialized skills or expensive software. These templates are designed by professionals who understand the principles of effective design and visual communication. By using a template, you can easily create a polished and professional-looking presentation that will impress your audience and convey your message with clarity.

Flexibility and Customization

While free PPT template designs provide you with a great starting point, they also offer the flexibility to customize and personalize your slides. Most templates allow you to change colors, fonts, and layouts to match your branding or individual preferences. This ensures that your presentations not only look visually appealing but also align with your unique style or corporate identity. Additionally, these templates often come with pre-designed slide layouts for various content types such as charts, tables, and infographics, making it easy for you to present complex information in an organized and visually appealing manner.

In conclusion, free PPT template designs are an invaluable resource for anyone who wants to master the art of presentation. They enhance the visual appeal of your slides, save time and effort in designing from scratch, add a touch of professionalism to your presentations, and provide flexibility for customization. So why settle for dull and uninspiring presentations when you can elevate them to new heights with these free templates? Download a template today and unlock the full potential of your presentations.

This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.


presentations in art

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Artist Presentations

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Ileana Hunter Presentation

This is the official, artist-approved, presentation about the work of artist Ileana Hunter. The presentation includes a script, which is below each slide, and through questioning the presentation encourages students to consider their first impression, explore her different types of work, themes in her work and her powerful use of negative space. Famous for her […]

presentations in art

Nicola McBride Presentation

This is the official, artist-approved, presentation about the work of artist Nicola McBride.  Famous for her detailed ballpoint pen, still life artworks of Scottish products, she is the perfect artist to introduce your students to if you are exploring the themes of food and drink, local products, still life or memories.  The 16-slide presentation includes: […]

presentations in art

Duncan Cameron Presentation

Artist Duncan Cameron creates work on a range of topics, including marine life and skulls.  Working on interesting surfaces, he is wonderful to include in your teaching if you are delivering natural forms or ‘under the sea’ projects.  A majority of slides include questioning to engage your learners.  This presentation includes: An introduction to the […]

presentations in art

Sarah Graham Presentation

This is the official, artist-approved, presentation about the work of artist Sarah Graham.  Famous for her brightly coloured, hyper-realistic oil paintings, she is the perfect artist to introduce your students to if you are exploring the themes of food, colour, nostalgia, childhood or identity.  The 13 slide presentation includes: A script that includes information and […]

presentations in art

Natural Forms Artists Presentation

If you are planning on running a Natural Forms project, this presentation of artists that feature natural forms in their work makes an excellent introduction.  16 painters, photographers, ceramicists and sculptors are featured. You can learn more about the featured artists in a blog post here. When you register on The Arty Teacher you can download up […]

presentations in art

Klari Reis Presentation

This is the official, artist-approved, presentation about the work of artist Klari Reis.  Famous for her Petri dish installations, she is a perfect artist to introduce your students to if you are looking for a science connection or want to deliver a STEAM project.  The 15 slide presentation includes: Questioning to introduce your students to […]

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Armand Lee - The Art of Presentation

Art Presentation – When Walls Have Meaning

by armandlee | Oct 1, 2015

Armand Lee - Art Presentation

Art presentation, like other artistic expressions, has become more experimental, more conceptual, more varied, and more personal. Interior design has evolved to meet the emotional and intellectual needs of more educated and worldly clients by challenging convention in the use of space, materials, scale, color, and texture. Personal and public spaces, like everything else, are becoming more interactive. Even traditional environments are filled with eclectic collections from family legacies, world travels, and expressions of personal interest.

As an integral part of interior design, art presentation must work on three dimensions: respecting the art, accessorizing the setting, and reflecting the importance of the art to the owner. Of these three, how the owner feels about the art is the driving force. Custom art presentation, which effectively balances all these considerations, requires an almost infinite assortment of profiles, finishes, and design details.

The Importance of the Art

In cases where the art is seen primarily as an investment, the presentation would be done to preserve and enhance its monetary value. In that case, archival presentation, conserving historic elements where possible, or using period-appropriate, formal presentation techniques would be a likely solution.

However, most important art is not valued primarily as an investment. Most art is used to set a tone and express ideas and feelings that are specific to the owner. Whether it is to evoke a comforting nostalgia, ritualize an event, impart energy or serenity, playfulness, humor, irony, worldly sophistication, personal style, or a simple appreciation of beauty, the presentation can greatly enhance that aspect of the artwork that is important to the owner. Only when the art presentation reinforces the emotional and intellectual relationship between the owner and the art does the presentation ‘feel right.’

Accessorizing the Setting

Where is the art to be displayed and how is it used? Is it in an intimate, personal space? Or will it be displayed in a formal, public one? Is the art to be a central focus, independently adding to the emotional and intellectual quality or the space? Or is it primarily to support the design idea?

Making appropriate framing and art presentation choices requires a close partnership with the designer. Site visits can help the art presenter understand the genre, and get accurate field measurements. Custom finish samples can be prepared to take into the setting or to coordinate with other suppliers. Custom profiles can be created to reference an important shape or pattern. Custom mirror engraving and silvering can be used to help the designer achieve a particular look or mood. Custom hanging methods, including an analysis of the appropriate angle at which to hang, lean, or cant the art of the wall can all influence the impact of the art. For three-dimensional works, cabinet or pedestal designs that complement the art and the setting require the design and fabrication skills of a fine cabinetmaker. The art of presentation is doing whatever it takes to get the details right.

With so many design rules being broken for interest and effect, understanding the underlying design principle for the space in which the artwork will reside is essential for satisfying art presentation. One of the more common design challenges is incorporating contemporary art in a traditional setting, or classic art in a contemporary setting. Frames and presentation treatments that make that transition comfortable frequently have ambiguous references to period design rendered with an unusual finish or a change in scale. The Tulip frame, shown right, combines sleek lines and a silver finish common in contemporary design, with a fluid carved corner detail more common to Art Nouveau. It is appropriate in traditional as well as contemporary settings, used as a mirror or as a complement to art.

Another common role for art is to add drama and formality to an ‘industrial’ or high-tech setting where the finish materials are exposed brick, brushed, rusted or painted steel, or hewn beam. ‘Organic’ finishes over profiles with strong, architectural, and graphic lines are a new formal language for art presentation. For example, the Deco Step frame, shown right, combines geometric forms frequently found in Art Deco design and architecture. The 12K white-gold finish is toned to gives it an organic texture unusual in fine finishes, with the fleeting impression of brushed steel.

The quality of light within the space is also an important consideration. Should UV protective glass be used? Is an independent light source required?

Respecting the Art

After understanding the emotional and physical context for the art, the final presentation decisions are driven by the art itself. Appropriate presentation means respecting the kind and level of detail, the strength of line, the color palette, the subject matter, and the materials used.

Effective presentation of artwork is as much an art as the creation of the art itself. Working knowledge of art history gives the art presenter a context that makes “respecting the art” possible. The eclectic nature of contemporary design requires a balance between convention and novelty. Having trained artists and art historians on staff with expertise in contemporary as well as classical art gives designers the creative resources to break “new ground” in the world of design with confidence.

Intro to Art

For non-majors, presentations.

The class will be split into groups of 3-4.  Each group must select an artwork and a piece of visual culture (visual culture = an advertisement, a video game, a movie, packaging on a product, a website, etc) to analyze and present to the class.

When analyzing the artwork & piece of visual culture, you must address each of these items :

– Formalism – analyze the formal elements (chapter 3) – Iconography – what famous moments in art history does this piece remind you of? – Marxism – think in terms of economics (poor vs rich, how might money have affected the creation of this work?) – Feminism – think about social factors that relate to women as both subjects and viewers of art – Biography/Autobiography – how does the artist’s life relate to the work of art or the piece of visual culture?  Remember to APPLY biographical info to the art you are critiquing (don’t just list it). – Your Group Conclusion about the work
  • You will create a presentation to present your analysis to the class (you can all access/edit the presentation online). Use the comments feature to communicate with each other.
  • Everyone in the group must contribute equally to the project (there will be an anonymous survey taken after the assignment is complete, and students will be able to report any issues that came up, or people who did not put in their fair share of the work, etc).
  • Everyone must speak an equal amount when presenting to the class.  I strongly recommend you practice your presentation together at least once or twice before presenting in class.
  • Presentations cannot be longer than 10 minutes and no shorter than 5 minutes ( there will be a timer , and when it goes off, you must stop if you haven’t already).
  • The first slide should list everyone’s names , and you all need to verbally introduce yourselves before diving into the presentation.
  • Make sure to speak loud enough for everyone to hear, and avoid reading directly off the slide (you can read a quote, but otherwise you should be familiar enough with your material that you can generalize and address the audience rather than burying yourself in the computer screen or craning your neck to stare at the screen instead of the audience).

presentations in art

GROUPS: (as people email me the links to their presentations, I will add the links to their names)   MWF Groups 1. 4 names Two shoes (Van Gogh) & Fight Club movie poster 2. 3 names Ecstacy of St. Theresa & Burger King Ad 3. 3 names Prostitute (Manet) & Pretty woman poster 4. 3 names Titian Rape of Lucretia & Uncle Sam poster 5. 3 names Starry Night & Cover for Hunger Games 6. 3 names Court of Justinian & Obey Poster 7. 3 names Louis XIV & the other boleyn girl movie poster 8. 3 names Girl with Pearl Earing & Beer ad mentioned in the “Killing us Softly” vid 9. 3 names God as Architect & Direct TV commercial (series of events) 10. 3 names The Swing & Victoria’s Secret Ad 11. 3 names The Scream & Going Green Ad 12. 3 names Capitolione Venus & Calvin Klein perfume ad 13. 3 names Mona Lisa & Covergirl Ad   TTH Groups 1. 2 names MC Escher’s “The Eye” & Avatar Poster 2. 3 names Flaming June & Opium Perfume 3. 3 names Gargantua and Olympic Rings 4. 3 names Andy Warhol Shoes & Mac Logo 5. 3 names Monster energy drink & Ecstacy of St Theresa 6. 3 names Michael Jordan 6-rings picture & Girl With Pearl Earing 7. 2 names Levi’s ad & Starry Night 8. 3 names Bob Thompson Crucifixion & Coke internet ad with a woman 9. 3 names Fur-Covered Cup & iTunes ad 10. 3 names Kony 2012 image & Picasso Jamie Sabartes 11. 3 names 12. 3 names Stone Breakers & Intersport Ad 13.  3 names The Swing & Carl’s Jr Commercial

Wed, Apr 11 – Group 9 – Group 12

Fri, Apr 13 – Group 4 – Group 6 – Group 10   TTH Presentation Schedule

Thu, Mar 22 – Group 7 – Group 8

Tue, Apr 3 – Group 1 – Group 10 – Group 12

Tue, Apr 10 – Group 6 – Group 9 – Group 2 – Group 3 – Group 1

GRADING:  20 points

– did everyone appear to do their fair share in the project, and did everyone talk an equal amount of time?

NOTE: There will also be a 1-point questionnaire on Blackboard in the Assignments Folder to be filled out after the in-class presentation.  You will be asked questions about how well the workload was distributed, and if everyone did their fair share of the project.  You must also send me the link to your prezi, which will be posted above when I receive it.

This video might help you think of more pieces of visual culture you could use…

As we become more and more engaged with the internet in every aspect of our lives, powerful questions have arisen regarding the ownership of digital media and information, the relationship between corporations, governments, and individuals online, the power of pop culture influence, and the dissolving border between the digital and physical worlds. Taking these issues head-on is The Free Art & Technology (F.A.T.) Lab. An international group of 21 artists, hackers, thinkers, designers, developers, and entrepreneurs, F.A.T. Lab employs art, activism, pop culture, and a wealth of knowledge about how the internet works to create projects that challenge people and institutions to think a little deeper about this new world we all live in.

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Art of Presentation: A Guide to Captivate Your Audience with Visuals

presentations in art

Presenting a complex topic often results in an audience with glazed -over expressions, or hours of agonizing preparation to avoid those blank stares. Preparation is essential and can be simplified when you know how to use visuals to engage, explain and boost retention.

There is no definitive answer to whether drawn images are better than photos, videos, charts, or graphs. The choice largely depends on the type of information being presented and the presentation objectives. Each type of visual has strengths and weaknesses.

Charts and Graphs

Charts and graphs often simplify presenting complex data sets in a concise manner that summarizes a state or condition. They are effective because visual representation transforms numbers and abstract concepts, revealing the most important aspects of the information. Charts and graphs, however, are limited in their ability to tell a story or convey the nuances behind the numbers.

Photos and Vide os

presentations in art

Photos and videos, on the other hand, can provide a more realistic and immersive audience experience. They are particularly effective for demonstrating real-life situations and processes,  conditions, procedures, or actions. Photos and videos can also convey emotion and social cues, making them suitable for presenting social science topics. The challenge is often finding or capturing the exact best image(s) to support the message. Searching or producing what’s required can involve considerable time and expense to capture quality images.

Drawn Images

presentations in art

Drawn images offer unique flexibility and broader application than any other single visual approach. The ability to create, re-create, conceptualize, and summarize with imagery checks a lot of application boxes. Ultimately drawn images allow the audience to focus immediately on the most important aspects of the information. When verbal delivery and images are synchronized, it enhances the clarity and understanding of the story. The images also provide visual cues and details that support the message, making it easier for the audience to follow along and recall. Images can also convey emotions that may be difficult to express through dialogue alone.

The choice between static drawn images or animation also depends on the presentation objectives and the type of information being presented. Animation can provide an interactive learning experience by demonstrating processes and procedures in real-time, illustrating cause-and-effect relationships or conveying emotions and social cues.

However, the detail and motion of animation can distract the viewer from important aspects of your message. It can also be more complex and time-consuming to create compared to drawn images. It requires additional resources, like software and premade stock images. Stock images aren’t custom made for your message so they may not fully connect with your audience. Custom animations require expertise in animation design to produce high-quality content. Regardless of quality, animation can lack authenticity, or a feeling of human connection. 

A compelling solution is hand-drawn whiteboard video where an artist’s hand is filmed as it creates the drawings. This form of drawing is particularly excellent in providing a framework for understanding complex topics. Moreover, the neuroscience behind it explains its power to engage audiences and boost retention.

Things to Consider When Planning Your Visuals

Ultimately, the choice of presentation visuals depends on the presentation objectives and the audience. Visuals make it easier to absorb information by enabling the brain to process information quickly and retain it for longer periods. Here are some considerations in planning presentation visuals:

To take your presentations to the next level, consider using hand-drawn whiteboard video. This powerful medium will illustrate complex ideas and engage your audience in a dynamic and interactive way. To learn more about how hand-drawn whiteboard video can enhance your presentation, contact us today . Let us help you deliver presentations that leave a lasting impression on your audience.

presentations in art

  • Understand the purpose: Before creating visuals, understand the role they will play. What is the goal of using visuals? Are they meant to explain a concept, highlight important points, or provide a summary? Knowing the purpose will help you to create relevant and effective visuals.
  • Choose appropriate visuals : The choice of visuals should be guided by the content being presented. Are you explaining a process? Are you presenting data or are you interpreting it? Choose visuals that are easy to understand and support the presentation objectives.
  • Consider relationships: How do your visuals connect with your message points? How much space/time should a visual have in your presentation? It will help your audience understand better and remember longer if the visuals sync with what is being said. Present your visuals in manageable chunks that directly support your message.
  • Keep it simple : Visuals should be simple and easy to understand. Avoid cluttering the visual with too much information or using complicated graphics. Use colors  sparingly and fonts that are easy to read. Create a visual hierarchy that guides the eye.
  • Make it accessible : Ensure visuals are accessible to everyone in your audience, including those with visual impairments. Use alternative text, captions, and audio to make visual content accessible.

Incorporating visuals into your presentation is a powerful way to engage and communicate complex information. By understanding the purpose of your visuals, choosing appropriate visuals, organizing the information, keeping it simple, and making it accessible, you can create effective presentations that will stick with your audience long after your presentation is over.

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Art research guide: Art 100 presentation guidelines

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PowerPoint guidelines

The following are some best practices to follow for your Art 100 PowerPoint presentations.

  • Illustrate your ideas with examples, especially images, and don’t read from your slides if you are presenting to a group.
  • Limit fonts to no more than three throughout your presentation.
  • Use sans-serif fonts such as Verdana, Arial and Helvetica as these display better when using projection equipment.
  •   Always use a font size of at least 16 points.
  •  Use a font size of at least 20 points if you are presenting to a large room. 
  • Use a small set of colors consistently throughout your presentation.
  • Use a high-contrast color for text.
  • Use light backgrounds with dark text when using projection equipment.
  • Use no more than six bullet points on a slide.
  • Write no more than about six words on each line of text or bullet point.
  • Use headings and subheadings for new topics.
  • Spell check your presentation.
  • Have another person proofread your presentation.
  • Use appropriate punctuation and capitalization and use them consistently.
  • Use bolding to emphasize words but avoid using italics unless citing a resource.
  • Use a consistent layout for all of your slides; this is easily done by creating a master slide prior to starting.
  • Use animation and transitions sparingly and consistently ; dissolves, blinds and fly-ins distract the audience from your message.
  • The only sound your audience should hear is your voice or other audio content; turn off sound effects on any animations you choose to use.

Graphic Elements

  • Provide details of art images to demonstrate the artist's process (e.g., brush strokes), when appropriate.
  • Use no more than two graphic elements per slide.

Slide example

  • Arial font is used (20 pt. for bullet points, and 16 pt. for image caption)
  • A light backgroud with dark text is used
  • Only a few colors are used
  • Only six bullet points are listed
  • Approximately six words per bullet point are used
  • A single graphic is used

PowerPoint slide example following best-practices guidelines

Click on the file linked below for the full-size slide.

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Presentation Design and the Art of Visual Storytelling

Discover a practical approach to designing results-oriented presentations and learn the importance of crafting a compelling narrative.

Presentation Design and the Art of Visual Storytelling

By Micah Bowers

Micah helps businesses craft meaningful engagement through branding, illustration, and design.

Presentations Must Tell a Story

We’ve all been there, dutifully enduring a dull presentation at work or an event. The slides are packed with text, and the presenter feels obligated to read every single word. There are enough charts, graphs, and equations to fill a trigonometry book, and each screen is awash in the brightest colors imaginable.

As the presentation drags on, the lists get longer. “We do this, this, this, this, this, and oh yeah, this!” Unfortunately, everyone in the audience just wants it to be over.

This is a major opportunity missed for a business, and we designers may be part of the problem. No, it’s not our fault if a presenter is unprepared or uninspiring, but if we approach our clients’ presentations as nothing more than fancy lists, we’ve failed.

See, presentations are stories , not lists, and stories have a structure. They build towards an impact moment and unleash a wave of momentum that changes people’s perceptions and preconceived notions. Good stories aren’t boring and neither are good presentations.

But before we go any further, it’s important to ask why presentations exist in the first place. What’s their purpose? Why are they useful?

Presentations exist to…

Presentations impart new and sometimes life-changing knowledge to an audience.

Most presentations provide a practical method for using the knowledge that is shared.

If executed correctly, presentations are able to captivate an audience’s imagination and lead them to consider the worth of what they’re learning.

Well-crafted presentations have the power to arouse feelings that can influence an audience’s behavior.

Presentations ready people to move, to act on their feelings and internal analysis.

Ultimately, presentations make an appeal to an audience’s logic, emotions, or both in an attempt to convince the audience to act on the opportunity shared by the presenter.

With this kind of power, designers can’t afford to view presentations as “just another deck.” We shouldn’t use the same formulaic templates or fail to educate our clients about the importance of high-quality image assets.

Instead, we need to see presentation design as an opportunity to craft a compelling narrative that earns big wins for our clients.

Need more convincing? Let’s take a quick look at how a few big brands merge storytelling with world-class presentation design.

Salesforce – Write the Narrative First

Salesforce visual storytelling

The overarching emphasis of any presentation is its narrative. Before any flashy visuals are added, the presentation designer works hand-in-hand with the client to establish the narrative and asks big questions like:

  • Who are we presenting to?
  • Why are we presenting to them?
  • How do we want them to respond?

The marketing team at Salesforce, the world’s leading customer relationship management platform, answers these questions by first writing presentations as rough essays with a beginning, middle, and end. As the essay is fleshed out, themes emerge and section titles are added.

From here, the presentation is broken into slides that present the most impactful topics and information the audience needs to know. Only a few select words and phrases will make it onto the screen, but the essay draft will be rich with insights for the presenter to further refine and share in their oral narrative.

Writing the narrative first prevents the chaos of slide shuffling that occurs when a presentation’s stories aren’t clearly mapped out. With no clear narrative in place, slides don’t transition smoothly, and the presentation’s momentum dissipates.

Deloitte – Establish Credibility

Deloitte presentation design

Within the first few moments of meeting someone new, we quickly assess whether or not we feel they’re trustworthy.

Presenters are typically afforded an initial level of trust by virtue of being deemed capable of talking in front of a large group of people. But if that trust isn’t solidified within the first minute of a presentation, it can vanish in an instant.

Deloitte is a global financial consultant for 80 percent of all Fortune 500 companies. Naturally, they understand the need to quickly establish credibility. The slide used in the example above is number five in a thirty-slide deck. Right from the outset, Deloitte establishes their authority on the topic, in essence saying, “We’ve been at this awhile.”

Including a slide like this in a client’s deck can be a real confidence booster because it allows them to quickly secure expert status. Establishing credibility also helps an audience relax and engage with what they’re learning.

iControl – Define the Problem Visually

icontrol slide design

It’s not always possible to express a complex problem or solution with a single visual, but when it happens, it can be a powerful experience for an audience.

iControl is a Swedish startup that built an iPad app designed to replace paper and create better documentation at construction sites. They aren’t a big brand, but their investor pitch deck powerfully identifies a huge audience problem with a single slide—too much paper wasted, too many documents to track. An image like this so clearly identifies the problem that it simultaneously intensifies the need for a solution.

Defining the problem visually is an awesome strategy, but use it with care because an image that’s confusing or overly specific to an industry can leave audience members feeling like outsiders.

Arrange a Compelling Narrative

“Storytelling” is everywhere these days. Social media platforms have cleverly packaged the promise that our every post, image, and interaction is part of an ongoing story, but most of what we call “stories” are loosely related moments strung together by the happenstance of time and technology.

So what’s the distinction between narrative and story? How do they relate, and how do they differ? And most importantly, how do they tie into a compelling presentation?

A story is bound by time. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end. It details events and orders them in a way that creates meaning. In a presentation, stories speak to specific accomplishments and inspire action—“We did this, and it was amazing!”

A narrative is not bound by time. It relates separate moments and events to a central theme but doesn’t seek resolution. In a presentation, the narrative encompasses the past, present, and future—“Where we’ve come from. Where we are. Where we’re headed.”

How does this information impact the presentation designer? Here’s a simple and practical example.

You have a client who makes amazing paper clips that always bend back to their intended shape no matter how much they’re twisted. They ask you to design a presentation that highlights the paper clips and their company vision to “forever change the world of office products.” How do you begin?

Office product presentation design

Start with the Narrative

The narrative is the overarching emphasis of a presentation.

In this example, you would shape the presentation around your client’s company vision of forever changing the world of office products.

Advance the Narrative with Stories

Use succinct stories that highlight challenges, improvements, big wins, and daily life.

Perhaps the paper clip company’s research and development team faced several setbacks before a eureka moment made mass production cheaper than traditional paper clips.

Use stories like this as brush strokes on a canvas, each one contributing towards a more complete picture of the narrative.

Support Stories with Visuals

This is where the simple, yet stunning slides you design come into play.

In this case, you could show a simple graph that compares the production cost of traditional paper clips to your client’s innovative paper clips. And, to make sure you’re reinforcing the narrative, you could add a short title to the slide: “Game. Changed.”

Conflict Is the Engine of Memorable Presentations

In his bestselling book Story , Hollywood screenwriting guru Robert McKee writes, “Nothing moves forward in a story except through conflict.” This advice is extremely valuable for the presentation designer.

Overly positive visual storytelling

An overly optimistic presentation packed with positive information simply crashes over an audience and sweeps away their enthusiasm. Each rosy insight is less impactful than the one prior. Before long, all the audience hears is, “Good, better, best. We’re just like all the rest.”

An effective presentation designer looks for ways to create internal conflict within an audience. This means they feel the weightiness of a problem and actively hope for the relief of a solution. The yin and yang of problem and solution is the presentation designer’s true north, the guiding principle of every piece of information included in a deck.

One tried and true way to ensure a healthy positive/negative balance, without overly dramatizing a presentation is withholding information.

For instance, in our example of the paperclip company, this could mean devoting an extra slide or two to the research and development process. These slides would hint at the soon-to-be-revealed production costs and build anticipation without providing actual numbers.

Then, when the cost comparison chart is finally shared, the audience is genuinely eager for the information it holds, and the payoff is far more rewarding and memorable.

Unlock the Power of Clear, Consistent, and Compelling Content

Content doesn’t exist apart from the narrative; it enhances it. Once the narrative is in tip-top shape, it’s time to make the content shine, but before we dive into slide design, let’s take a quick detour.

Imagine we’re reviewing an investor pitch deck and we take an elevator into the sky to observe the presentation from an aerial view. From this lofty position, the deck’s content should have a cohesive appearance that ties in with the brand, organization, or topic being presented.

If you’ve ever been hired to work on a company’s pitch deck design , you understand how challenging this can be.

Many times, clients already have some sort of skeleton deck in place before they hire a presentation designer. Sometimes, these decks are packed with a dizzying assortment of charts, graphs, fonts, and colors. Here, you have two unique responsibilities.

Bad powerpoint slide design

First, you must help your client understand how the disunity of their content detracts from the narrative. Then, you must provide a way forward and present them with a practical vision for remaking things in a cohesive style.

Be warned that you may have to sell this idea, especially if your client thinks that their visual content is presentation ready and only in need of some “design magic” to make it look good.

If this happens, remember to be gracious, and acknowledge the role that their expertise played in generating such valuable information. Then, bring the conversation back to results. “This is a compelling topic. I want your audience to be in awe as you present, but for that to happen, I need to recreate the visuals.”

This is a tough chore, but as designers, we’re hired to improve the way our clients communicate—not fill their heads with false affirmations of poor content.

Presentation templates are a good start to great presentation design

Essential Slide Design Principles

Slide design is an important part of presentation design, and effective slides are rooted in visual simplicity. But the strange thing about simplicity is that it stems from a thorough grasp of complexity. If we know something well, we can explain it to someone who does not in just a few words or images.

In this section, we’ll look at hierarchy, typography, image selection, and color schemes, but know that these design elements are rooted in a proper understanding of a presentation’s narrative and content. If we start the design process with slides, we seriously risk equipping our clients with presentations that are unfocused and unimpactful.

Create Emphasis with Slide Hierarchy

steve jobs simple presentation slide design

Design hierarchy relates to the placement of visual elements in a way that creates emphasis. For the presentation designer, this means asking, “What two or three things do I want the audience to see on this slide?

Do’s and Don’ts

  • Do create visual contrast through scale, color, and alignment.
  • Don’t try to visually highlight more than three ideas per slide.

Whenever a really important idea comes up, be brave and only use a few words in bold type to communicate it. This kind of simplicity signals to an audience that it’s time to intensify their focus and really listen to what the presenter has to say.

Overcome Ambiguity with Thoughtful Typography

Sapientnitro presentation font

Most presentations are built on words, so it’s important to know which words to include and how to style them. This starts by choosing the right font, then knowing how big to make the words and where to include them.

  • Do ask if your client has any designated fonts listed in their brand style guide.
  • Don’t use more than two fonts in your presentation, and avoid text blocks and lengthy paragraphs like the plague.

Try not to use anything smaller in size than a 36 point font. Some designers believe it’s ok to use sizes as small as 24 point, but this often leads to packing slides with more text. Remember, slides are a speaking prompt, not promotional literature.

Communicate Authority Through Graphic Simplicity

Deloitte presentation design

Every chart, graph, icon, illustration, or photograph used in a presentation should be easy to see and understand. Images that are difficult to interpret or poor in quality can erode the trust of an audience.

  • Do look for ways to use symbols, icons, or illustrations as they have a way of communicating ideas more quickly than photography.
  • Don’t use more than one photograph per slide, and don’t use stock photography that conflicts with your client’s brand (e.g., too funny, serious, or ethereal).

During the consultation phase of a presentation design project, ask your potential client to see existing charts or graphs they’re hoping to include. If anything is confusing, pixelated, or inconsistent, tell them you’ll need to remake their graphics. Be prepared to show high-quality examples from well-known companies to sell your point.

Add Energy and Meaning with Bold Color Schemes

Laszlo bock work rules color in presentation design

Color plays an important role in nearly every design discipline, and presentation design is no different. The colors used for a presentation affect the tone of the topic being shared and influence the mood of the audience.

  • Do keep color schemes simple. Two or three colors should make up the majority of slides.
  • Don’t use complementary colors for text and background (e.g., blue background with orange text). This has a way of making words vibrate with nauseating intensity.

Identify a few high-contrast accent colors to make strategic cameos for added impact.

The Mission of Every Presentation Designer

It can’t be overstated; presentations are huge opportunities for designers to positively impact their clients’ businesses. Innovation and advancements in culture and technology are occurring so rapidly that it’s become absolutely vital to be able to tell a good story. No one has time for poorly communicated ideas.

Here’s the simple truth: A bad presentation designer dresses up junk content with no thought for narrative and dumps a pile of slides into their client’s lap. Maybe the presentation looks pretty, but it doesn’t inspire, doesn’t activate, and certainly doesn’t sell.

To be effective, results-driven presentation designers means that we must empower our clients with an efficient tool. We carefully consider each slide, word, and visual for maximum impact, and we remember that presentations are intended for a human audience. Whether it’s a room of investors or a conference hall packed with consumers, it’s our job to provide our clients with opportunities to change minds and win business.

Understanding the basics

What is presentation design.

Presentation designers craft an array of ideas, stories, words, and images into a set of slides that are arranged to tell a story and persuade an audience.

Why is storytelling so important?

Where numbers, lists, and facts merely inform, storytelling has the power to make an audience care about and act on information that is being presented.

What are the basic elements of a slide?

The basic elements of a slide are its dimensions, text, images, layout, and color.

  • SlideDesign
  • VisualStorytelling
  • PresentationDesign

Micah Bowers's profile image

Located in Vancouver, WA, United States

Member since January 3, 2016

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