Presentation Tips

Here Are 26 Presentation Design Tips & Ideas You’ll Love

By March 15, 2014 No Comments

Lemme guess:
presentation design tipsYou’re keen to lean a few actionable presentation design tips that’ll give your slide deck that extra boost to convince and leave an amazing impression?
You see amigo, chances are that your presentation is designed to produce sales, convey ideas, educate people, or get them to make a decision.
And to do that, you must keep your audience engaged with a solid, well-designed presentation that grabs their attention from the get go.
The good news is that it’s exactly what we’re going to cover today.
So if you want to improve your presentation skills and design beautiful slide decks that stand out, check out this new guide.
All the design techniques and strategies in this post are fully actionable, and I guarantee you’ll walk out knowing exactly how to build presentations that hook and impress when we’re done.
Sounds good?
Then let’s get started !

Here’s a fact that may surprise you… 

According to Prezi, 70% of employed Americans who give presentations say presentation skills are critical to their success at work.
To me, that finding reflects just how important (oh, and overlooked) making great presentations is to one’s career.
Before we dig deep into the presentation tips infographic, I want to spend a quick moment with you to look at the # 1 reason why presentation skills are just so overlooked.

Why presentation design matters

“Design has the power to do more than sell a product, but that it can make a difference through altering perceptions, emotions and actions for the good of us all”. Cultivated Wit.awesome presentation design rocks

26 Presentation Design Tips And Guidelines That’ll Make You Stand Out !

If you’ve been thinking:
“How to create a good presentation? It’s so hard to get started.”
I feel you.
And the thing is, you can’t learn (and apply) it all at the same time.
So today I’ve broken down this post into sections that cover different techniques and strategies, depending on your level and the results you want to achieve.
At the end of this post, you’ll be able to put together good presentations slides that impress and leave a great impression.
Get those PPT design foundations right and you’ll be set to deliver consistent decks, even if you’re starting from scratch.

1) Customize your slides size

Add more length to your slides.
PowerPoint slides are usually sized 10 inches (width) * 7.5 inches (height).
Resize them 12*7.5 (Open a PowerPoint document, go to Design > Page Setup).
ppt design basics
The screenshots below shows you the extra space you’re getting.
ppt design
[Tweet “Here’s how to customize your slide design !”]

2) Use quality visuals (a lot)

We process visuals 60,000 times faster than text so yes, you’d better use image over text whenever possible.

business presentation images

Here’s my personal favorite free-to-use visual resources:
Gratisography (crisp, fun)
Startup stock photos (genuine-looking)
Pexels (lots of themes, love it)
Unsplash (nature related)
Little visuals (like Unsplash)
Pic jumbo (urban-related mostly)
More photo resources right here.
[Tweet “Check out these amazing sites with beautiful free photography!”]

3) Apply a solid, consistent color theme

[Tweet “Color accounts for 85% of the reason why someone decides to purchase a product.”]
I recommend the use of TWO or THREE colors.
For all your content slides, use of black for core text (in that case, your PPT background shall be white or light grey) and use the ONE or TWO additional colors to highlight important keywords, statements or figures.
Colors picked must be visible, contrast between each other’s and with your PowerPoint background.
No like that:
PowerPoint Design
But like that:

PowerPoint Presentation Design
Color sell products so make sure the colors you chose for your presentation are:
  • Associated with your company guidelines or culture
  • Aligned with your audience’s core characteristics (for instance: 76% of women prefer cool colors compared to 56% of men).
  • Complementary: which means colors opposite each other on the color wheel.
    Here’s the color wheel:


If you’re not sure about where to start, try out Kuler, Adobe’s awesome color palette generator. It’s free and you can choose y from thousands of pre-built schemes.
ppt design
How to apply the RGB color codes in PowerPoint:

powerpoint design

4) Choose easy-to-read fonts

There are three principles I want to you to get under your belt when it comes to typography:
First, chose easy to read fonts: it’s a fact, people are more likely to engage in a given behavior the less effort it requires (Source).
Second, If you want to mix fonts, then pick ONE font for your body text (like Helvetica or Calibri).  Apply an additional, more creative font for your cover slide, slide title or a word you’d like to get your audience focus on.
Just like that:

make-it-stickppt design typography

Third, for all your presentation slides, try to keep a big font size.
You will increase your audience visual comfort. Plus, it’s a good exercise to help you develop effective presentation skills, as you will have to learn how to summarize content.
I personally use a minimum of 20 for important parts (headlines), and 14 to 18 for less important parts (sub-headlines). To comment charts or graphics, 12 is the minimum.
For free and creative font options, check out:
Tip: To install new fonts on Window, download the archive > click Start > Control Panel > Font > Paste your font files.

5) Apply grid systems

In her guide book on creating great presentations, Nancy Duarte explains the principle of grid systems.
Wanna know why they work great?
It’s because grids keep your content organized in a clean, structured lay-out.


6) Use the CRAP principle

There are not a hundred but one principle of design that I want you to get under your belt.
The CRAP principle: Contrast, Repetition, Alignment, Proximity.
  • Contrast is all about making things stand out. It can be achieved using three major tactics:  manipulation of space (near / far, empty / filled), color choices (dark vs. light / cool vs. warm) and text (typography style / bold vs. narrow).


  • Repetition, for instance making a headline and a sub-message the same color, makes scanning your deck much easier. Repetition helps you create a cohesive look to your presentation.
  • Alignment. Newspapers use this to great effect. Aligning a whole bunch of elements with one another makes them scan faster. Alignment makes things easier to read.


  • Proximity means that things are associated with one another. Let me explain that for you: the closer things are, the more they are associated The farther they are away from one another, the less they are associated.


    Side note: Can’t recall where I’ve seen those slides of SlideShare. If they’re yours, lemme know and I’ll add relevant links.

7) Use the dominance principle

It’s very simple:
The more dominant element of your slide will attract the eye and get noticed first.
For each slide you design, always think, which element do I want my audience to notice FIRST?


8) Make sure it’s perfectly visible and readable


Image credit

9) Have relevant hierarchy


Image credit

10) Use white space


Image credit

11) Don’t use shiny effects


Image credit

12) Craft an attention-grabbing opening slide

Here’s the deal, your presentation cover design has two targets:
  • Grab the attention of your audience (pike their curiosity – to get them want to know more)
  • Give a crystal-clear overview of the topic you’re going to cover in your presentation

open web - social recruiting tips


How to create a beautiful cover slide in 5 minutes

13) Design your body slides (use this business template)

Fancy a professional slide lay-out design that’ll help you save time for your next presentation?
Look no further.
Click the image to head over to the professional business template post and download your template for free. Apply it to your deck and you’ll be able to design good presentation slides fast.


14) Make transition slides

To help your audience figure out where they are in your presentation:


15) Make a strong closing slide

Remind the audience of what they just got.
Close with a strong call-to-action (AKA what you want your audience to do when the presentation is over).


The CTA here: “share this presentation on Twitter to be able to download this deck”.

16) Stick to one message per slide

You can do this exercise to make sure your slide is focused on delivering ONE core message, idea or concept to your audience:
The purpose of this slide is to [ ____ ]
For example:
The purpose of this slide is to [ show that our sales increased by 25% this year ]

17) Each body slide has 3-4 elements

slide structure

Image source
  • Headline to grab the attention
  • Sub-headlines give you more information and further
  • Illustration: to get your attention and to illustrate the point more fullyspee
  • Copy: to convey the main selling message of the slide

18) Make your slide headlines visible (use the 30% rule)

I like to use the 30% rule because it’s very easy:
Use approx. 1/3 of your slide area to integrate a headline that wraps up the content of your slide.
Why it works:
Using the 30% rule forces you to allocate enough space for the part that matters the most: wrap up your slide’s main selling point in one catchy headline (more on how to do that here).


19) Get to the point

Begin by asking yourself:
“What would I like them to remember about this data?”
“What is it I want your audience to get from your data?”
“What’s the message I want them to take away?”

20) Integrate stylish backgrounds

Grab them here

21) Integrate stylish shapes

Slide2  Slide3

Get my favorites PowerPoint shapes right here (includes detailed examples on how to use them).


22) Use icons

Lemme ask you a quick question:
Which of these slides sounds more appealing to you?



Ah, that’s what I thought 🙂
This post shows you how to integrate icons in your presentation slides. Here are great, free icon resources:

 22) Use flags

bestellar  worldmap
Grab these editable flag shapes to spice up your slides.

23) Use stickers

growing-our-presence-21 kpis
Get them here.


24) Use world maps

pptpop-com_example1 worldmap
Grab your editable world maps here.

25) Steal like a boss

Create a folder on your desktop and title it “Swipe File”.
Anytime you see a beautiful slide design, just add it to your swipe file.
Set up individual folders or labels to organize your findings well and save time (E.g. “Great Cover Slides”, “Business Slides”, etc). Pretty soon, you’ll have a huge bucket of inspiration that you can tap into when working on your own presentations.
Here’s how my own swipe file looks like:
Swipe file

26) Head over to the best sources of inspiration

These resources will help you fill in your Swipe file with solid PowerPoint presentation design inspirations:

Additional resources you’ll love

PPTPOP’s best resources: a hand-curated list of articles, templates, and life-changing books that will help you become a better you, faster than anyone else.
Dramatically improve your presentation skills: 50 proven ways to build effective presentation skills. If you have to read only one piece of content related to presentations, read this one.
Make a killer sales presentation: my personal blueprint to building high-converting sales decks form scratch

Presentation design made simple

When you’re having high-stake meetings all year long, being able to quickly crank out quality presentations without learning Photoshop or hiring an expensive designer is a must.
Presentation templates help people of all talent ranges to create fantastic presentations fast.
Don’t take my word for it, judge by yourself instead:

300+ unique, ready-to-be-edited slides
2,500+ Royalty-free vector icons
Dozen of charts and graphs
Fully-editable elements (change colors and sizes without losing quality)
And so much more!
And you can get them for the price of a movie ticket (yes, really).
See this template
See other templates like this one