If you’re looking to create beautifully designed PowerPoint presentations, it all comes down to how you arrange your slides. We’ve outlined four important points that will help you arrange your slides like a graphic designer.
- Utilise Visual Hierarchy
Any type of design – whether in PowerPoint, Adobe, or even on canvas – should begin with visual hierarchy. Arranging visual elements according to importance is vital in highlighting essential information to audiences while subconsciously guiding them through the content.
Visual hierarchy will help determine the structure of each slide and the arrangement of your PowerPoint presentation. When used correctly, visually hierarchy ensures the right information and elements are being seen by the audience.
To achieve visual hierarchy, there are several design techniques at your disposal. Contrast is probably the most useful in highlighting specific elements. By implementing differences in size, shape, shade, texture, colour, or proximity, audiences are intuitively led to focus their attention on those contrasting elements.
Inversely, slides with little contrast will seem dull and potentially confusing for audiences. Use contrast sparingly to help highlight certain visual elements. Don’t try to emphasise too many things on one slide, otherwise nothing will seem highlighted.
Varying text size can also create contrast as larger text is generally perceived as the most important message, regardless of where it is placed on the slide. Contrasting fonts can also break up the monotony of the message and highlight specific words – just pair your fonts well.
- Be Conscious of Slide Layout
Based on how visual hierarchy works, you can apply this knowledge to create effective PowerPoint slide layouts. By sticking to one important idea per slide, you won’t inundate your audience with too much information, ensuring what is said is more memorable and impactful.
For example, if you have a few consecutive slides on the same topic, arrange to add some visual weight to the conclusion slide to help your audience pay attention, such as increasing the font size, using deeper contrasts, or adding a new image.
Consistent design across your slides ensures people won’t start picking out faults and thereby paying more attention to you design choices rather than the content.
While it can be tempting to play around with text sizes to fit longer chunks of text on a slide – don’t do it! If the text is too long to fit on a slide, it should be split up onto multiple slides, reworded, or potentially omitted.
Consistency demonstrates order and professionalism, but this doesn’t mean maintaining the same layout/structure every slide. Using a variety of 2-column and 3-column designs alongside image and chart slides can still look consistent if you use the same colours, fonts, and backgrounds. The slide master can be a useful resource for ensuring consistency across colours, fonts, and layouts.
We always abide by the notion ‘less is more’, whether it comes to text or design choices. Keeping things minimal and simple ensures your message is retained by audiences, which means incorporating data visualisation to help simplify key statistics and figures.
For example, first display the graph (or all the statistics) that offer context for the key number. Then display the key number on a single slide without any further elements as a follow-up, which makes people pay attention to this number. This is known as letting your design and content breathe, which offers audiences a moment to absorb and contemplate the information they’ve just received.
- Kickstart your Designs with Templates
PowerPoint was created to make presentation design easier, which means there is no shame in using free templates and stock imagery in your own designs. A little repurposing, editing, and customisation can go a long way in PowerPoint, so don’t be afraid to use ready-made resources for your creations, so long as you make enough amendments and touch-ups to make it your own. Also, keep a library of free images, old PowerPoint presentations, templates, and other design resources to save yourself time and sanity.
It can be overwhelming to build your own presentation from scratch. Fortunately, we’ve put together some PowerPoint presentation templates to help speed up your design process and ensure your slides are consistently aligned and arranged. PowerPoint templates are a quick and easy way to create professional looking presentations without any design experience. You can edit all of the text easily, as well as change the colours, fonts, and images.
- Font and Colour Choices are Critical
The right choice of typography and colours go a long way in improving how you arrange your PowerPoint slides.
When it comes to typography, remember – good fonts are invisible while bad fonts are noticed immediately. If your audience notices a font choice, it’s often because the legibility is poor, which makes things challenging for the audience and forces them to pay extra attention just to decipher on-screen text.
Traditional font choices are often the best to use for PowerPoint presentation design. Stick to Helvetica, Arial, Open San, Gill Sans, or Roboto, for example. Use the regular version for your body text and use the bold version for your title. Make your font size big enough to ensure readability (and make titles even larger.
The simple rule for typography is that solid typography goes unnoticed. Unnoticed typography means it’s legible and with that, you’ve accomplished already a lot in terms of typography. Of course, typography is a way to customize a design and make presentations much more unique. But, when starting out, it’s best to stick to basics.
Also, remember that it’s rarely useful to write down full sentences on your presentation slides. It’s much better for audiences and more practical simply listing key facts to ensure people are paying attention.
Colour choices can be much more complicated. A good understanding of colour psychology, clashing colours, and complementary colours can really help make your choices easier. At its simplest, brighter, more vibrant colours often come across more playful; while darker colours often feel a little cooler and more professional looking.
If you’ve noticed, more and more apps are offering a ‘night mode’, which reverses the background and font colours so users have a black screen with white text. Not only is this more relaxing for the eyes to read, but provide significant contrast that helps the text stand out visually.
If you have no set brand colours and are afforded the design freedom to choose your own palette, it’s best to work with a single primary color and different shades of a supporting colour (such as whites, greys, and blacks). Using one or two colours while keeping the arrangement simple, makes for a much tidier and consistent slide design.