PowerPoint Presentation Design – How to Make It

With the help of technology, even the most novice graphic designer (or regular, every day student) can create pictures and graphic designs that rival those of the seasoned professional. Okay, maybe not ‘rival’, but they can come close. Don’t let the fact that you have limited experience (or maybe even none at all) prevent you from attempting presentation design that leaves your audience awestruck.

All too often, people (students and new professionals in particular) make the mistake of believing that powerpoint design and presentation should only focus on creativity and they fail to recognize the importance of being able to effectively convey or communicate their message. In essence, the basic design scheme you select shouldn’t be limited only to imagery, it needs to also take into account the message that you are delivering.

PowerPoint Presentation Design – How To Make It Impressive?

Knowing that PowerPoint presentations should be used to augment the material being presented, more specifically, to offer visual aids, provide supplementary information or to serve as a vehicle to deliver supporting material, it only makes sense that you would want to follow a few design ideas or guiding principles to strengthen your chances of creating an overall presentation that is not only polished, but also engaging and thought provoking for anyone who might happen to be watching it.

Here are five PowerPoint presentation design principles to help you create a high quality presentation – without having to study for a degree in graphic design – unless of course you are already studying for a degree in graphic design. In which case, you could probably teach us a thing or two.

5 PowerPoint Presentation Design Principles that will Improve Your Presentation Style

Design Proximity

Proximity, despite being rather basic, is a powerful fundamental element of design that relates to grouping likeminded elements together in order to create a single, conclusive element instead of multiple individual ones.

It serves a very specific purpose – rather than providing your audience with an array of visual elements, proximity works to organize visual elements in the same manner that a librarian might work to organize and group books according to the Dewey Decimal System. It then acts as a pseudo navigational tool to direct viewers to different parts of your message.

By applying proximity, what you are really doing is strengthening the unity and continuity of your design slide. Remember, proximity is not linked solely to on page text, but is intended to be applied to all elements of the overall design.

Design Alignment

Graphic and text alignment is another design principle that shouldn’t be ignored. Taking alignment into consideration means being mindful of where various elements are being placed.

Similar to proximity, focusing on proper alignment means that you are working to establish a sense of balance and unity in your overall presentation. Even if the various design elements on their own do not appear next to each other on a busy page, aligning them correctly can make them feel connected and like they belong.

It is a good rule of thumb to follow a pattern whenever you are aligning pictures, blocks of texts or other visual aids. For example, if the majority of your page elements are left aligned, aligning one to the right will throw off the entire slide.

Maintain Consistency

Repetition, or consistency as it is also referred to as, simply means making sure that you repeat various design elements in order to not only add visual appeal, but also place emphasis on the style you would like to continue to demonstrate throughout the entire presentation.

Maintaining consistency is about more than simply creating an aesthetically pleasing presentation. Consistency is an important tool for drawing in the attention of your audience, encouraging them to focus on specific elements and to take in more of the information that you are delivering. If applied correctly, consistency will help those viewing your presentation to take in more of the facts and details being shared, it will encourage them to learn new things and also increase the likelihood that they will retain more of the knowledge that you are sharing with them.

Design Contrast

What if you needed to apply two very different design elements? You would need to use design contrast to your advantage in order to juxtapose differing elements of design in your presentation.

Contrasting design elements have the potential to make your presentation stand out by hooking the audience’s attention at various intervals throughout the presentation. In addition to shifting things up a bit, contrast also helps to better organize the information that is being presented.

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Proper Use of White Space

White space is a hard concept for novices and experienced professionals alike. Oftentimes, those who are newer to PowerPoint design fear leaving too much white space on their design deck.

When in reality white space can be a powerful presentation tool – when it is appropriate for the presentation, that is. White space supports the concept of ‘less being more’ and encourages both the presenter and the audience to focus on the more essential aspects of the presentation.

White space amplifies that message being delivered and prevents it from drowning in a cluster of graphics or other design elements. Several studies have found that white space, when used appropriately, makes it easier for readers to digest the information being presented and also encourages audiences to follow along more closely without getting lost in heavy graphics or difficult to understand graphs and charts.

The above mentioned design principles should serve as a guiding resource for anyone creating a Power Point presentation (or any visual presentation, for that matter.) Remember to make your slides relevant to the information in your script – or talking points if you do not have a script.

Nothing is worse than an audience trying to follow along to a visual presentation that doesn’t line up with what the speaker is saying. This is why it is important to always practice your presentation, in whole, before delivering it to your audience. You might want to enlist the help of a classmate, trusted friend or teacher to act as a mock audience and to gather their feedback and overall opinion before actually delivering your presentation for real.

If you are struggling to remember that design principles, here is a quick anagram that may help, CARP.

C stands for CONTRAST
A stands for ALIGNMENT
R stands for REPETITION
P stands for PROXIMITY

Things like the proper use of white space and timing your speaking aside, at the very root of PowerPoint slide design are contrast, alignment, repetition and proximity.

Void of these four basic design elements, even if you are using the latest templates, interactive background or catchy slide transitions, your presentation is likely to come across as not only amateurish, but also disorganized, cluttered, difficult to understand and incapable of holding the attention of your audience.

Your objective is to create an effective presentation. One that not only applies the fundamentals of design, but also encourages your audience to take something positive away from your presentation.

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