With a few clicks, it is possible to create powerful print design in PowerPoint. It can suit print design of any size, saving you money on expensive graphic design programs few can use.
Below we’ll outline each of the elements you can place into your print design in PowerPoint. Not only will we show you how to do it, we’ll show how to do it well with basic print design principles. Before we move into that though, we’d like to make a few arguments for the power of print media in the age of digital. If you’re determined to embrace the power of print media, feel free to skip it. If you’re cynical about what print could possibly do for you, let’s answer the question of…
Why Print Media?
According to research from the renowned branding expert Martin Lindstrom, brands that appeal to more than three of a consumer’s senses will increase retention by a remarkable 70%. Digital media may often be cheaper than print, but it can only ever offer sight and sound. With the power of print design in PowerPoint, you add the sensation of touch. Think of how much identity you attribute to a crisp calling card, or a waxy shopping catalogue.
In addition to activating more senses, print media sends a meaningful message in the age of digital clutter. Any no-name brand with a negative budget can spam your customers’ Facebook feed for free. Conversely, print design in PowerPoint shows a certain sense of establishment. It says you can afford to invest in one of today’s less common kinds of media. It can also be an excellent way to augment your online strategy, with QR codes, Augmented Reality, and other pulls to your online pages.
In addition, print media has a much longer shelf-life than digital. Say your company sends out a Tweet to promote a new product. On average, a Tweet lives for just 18 minutes in the feeds of your followers. In contrast, making a piece of print design in PowerPoint creates collateral that could live on your client’s desk for days.
As well as having a longer life on the shelf, print can have a much longer life in the mind of consumers. According to studies by Sebastian Haupt, an expert on sensory marketing, physical contact with printed material wakes the mind up to marketing contents much more than mere audiovisual stimulation.
Magazine Layout Design in PowerPoint
Of all the print design in PowerPoint, magazine layouts can look the most amazing. Of all the magazine layouts to pick, double-page spreads are perfect for showing your brand off. Here’s how to pull them off.
Know where your readers look first
In the diagram below, the grey areas represent the most visible areas of the spread. The darker area is more visible than the lighter area. For this reason, a reader’s eyes are drawn to the upper parts. Ensure you place something impactful in those areas in PowerPoint.
How to do it
First, you must set up a document under A4 dimensions. Once you have done this, establish margins using the “Guides” tickbox under the “View” tab. This is fundamental to all print design in PowerPoint. Once these appear on screen, you can drag them until you have a visible barrier about 5mm from the edge of the slide. This establishes a “Bleed”.
Next, go to view and click “Show” under the Guides check-box. This will bring up the “Grid and Guides” dialogue box. Ideally you want to insert a 12 rows by 12 columns grid with 3 mm spacing. This is because your standard A4 page width is 210 mm, with 20 mm outside and 13 mm inside margins. Taking that into account, we now have 177 mm left for 12 columns and eleven 3mm gutters between each.
Use these guides, as well as our top design tips, to create your superb double page spread.
Before you can consider print design in PowerPoint, you must ask fundamental questions about what you want it to achieve and how you will distribute it towards this end. What are the steps you must take to achieve this?
1 – Identify your audience
Who will be most receptive to the message in your printed media? How old are they? Do they have the time to read through a pamphlet, or only enough time to glance at a poster? Where do they live, play, work and visit? What influences them? In answering these questions, you’ll uncover the parameters of your distribution strategy.
2 – Set the goal for your printed media
Are you promoting a limited offer, or event? Do you want to convey important information about a particular topic? While this is primarily a goal for your content, it can also inform the parameters of your distribution strategy.
3 – Consider the many proven ways print media can be distributed
Below are just a few examples of proven print distribution strategies. Of course, the only limit to what you want to do is your imagination:
- Advertising your organisation with A3 posters at conventions
- Giving complementary catalogues to potential clients
- Distributing educational brochures throughout your company
- Providing a placemat document for meetings
4 – Organise distribution well in advance of when the material will be printed
You must also ensure there is a comfortable length of time between when your media will be printed and when distribution begins. This allows you to correct any errors that arise during the printing process, and ensures you can avoid disrupting your distribution.
With your marketing in mind, you can move on to the most fundamental part of your print design.
Now that you’ve decided to embrace the power of print design in PowerPoint, you must adjust the program to whatever size you’re printing to. If you’re still unsure of what dimensions to use, we’ll discuss that below. Even if you know exactly what you want, read on to see the two things you need to consider before any print design in PowerPoint:
1 – Results
Now as we said, the size you want depends on the result you want. Looking for something small that can direct people to your business? A run of business cards may be best, as you can always have a few on you. Have the budget to print a large employee training tool? Create a professional A3 infographic. While PowerPoint has the power to create print media of any size, for the sake of your printer you need to consider printing to one of the many standard printing sizes. Below is a chart outlining the most common ones.
2 – Bleed
Bear in mind that whatever you design for, you must consider keeping your content comfortably away from the edge of your document. This is because content can get cut off in printing if it is too close to the edge. The space you need to keep between your content and the edge of your document is known as a bleed. The size of the bleed you’ll need varies according to the size of your document. Below is a chart outlining a few common bleed sizes.
Setting your sizes
Now, let’s say you want to design a professional A4 poster without a costly, complicated program like Photoshop. First, open PowerPoint 2016 and click on the Design tab.
Under the “Slide Size” option on the right, you’ll find the “Custom slide size” option.
Here you can select from a number of print dimensions, or adjust your own.
As you can see in the above example, PowerPoint does not adjust the Width and Height based on the dimensions you size your slides for. Because of this, you must make sure that you manually adjust the width and height to the dimensions you see in the top drop-down.
Unfortunately, PowerPoint cannot set automatic parameters for your bleeds. To ensure you do not lose any content in print, you must check your bleed-lines by selecting the “View” tab and ticking the box which says “Ruler”.
Establishing a grid
Grids are the easiest way to establish readability and harmony when creating a piece of print design in PowerPoint. In fact, we’ve written an entire article in praise of grids. To establish a grid, go to View and click “Guides”.
Now right-click each guideline to add more. Drag each to adjust bleed margins, as well as gutters if your print design will need folds or staples.
When aligning objects in your document, an easy way to create symmetry is with the Align option under the Format tab.
By shift-clicking objects in your document, you can align them to any position and distribute them evenly on your page.
How much colour?
At its core, the amount of colour you decide to use would seem to be about cost. Full colour printing uses four inks and four runs through the press for each page. Spot colour printing uses colour sparingly, highlighting particular points of information or branding. Single colour (black and white) printing is, obviously, the cheapest and fastest option of all three. When deciding how to use colour in your printed media, your decision doesn’t only have to be about cost. It can also be about the image you wish people to associate with your brand, and the impression you need to make upon your audience.
Before you want to invest in printing with heavy brand colours, consider the subtle ways to serve your branding needs. Below we’ll break down each of the three colour printing options, including examples of each from our own work in PowerPoint.
Full colour printing
Printing with full colour heightens the perception of a professional, financially viable organisation. If you are communicating with important clientele, entice them with eye-popping printed colours. In fact, this can be financially justifiable for small run printed media. This is often the best option for brand consistency, as you may make good use of your most recognised colour scheme.
Spot colour printing
For mass printed pamphlets and newsletters, spot colour printing can convey your branding and communicate key parts of your message without breaking your bank. Strategic use of colour can bring attention to important arguments in your copy, or make your brand logo stand out in a sea of black and white. While more expensive than black and white printing, its benefits cannot be overstated. Ensure you use only one or two inks other than black, and any printing house will adjust its price accordingly.
Black and white printing
Bold. Traditional. Simple. Black and white is anything but old-fashioned. Though printing allows for any combination of colours, none are more versatile than black and white. Unless you have a particular image to include, or strict branding guidelines to adhere to, black and white is often the best option.
An important thing to keep in mind when considering colour is the fact that PowerPoint has no native support for CMYK colour. This is important, as CMYK colour (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black) is used in the traditional four-colour printing process. PowerPoint works with RGB colour (Red, Green and Blue), as it is optimised for screens and projectors.
Establishing a consistent colour scheme with Theme Colours
This is incredibly easy to do by changing your theme colours. To change your theme colours, go to the Design tab and click the bottom arrow on the Variants bar.
In the resulting pop-menu, mouse over Colours and click “Customize Colors” at the bottom of the drop-down menu. In the ensuing pop-up menu, you can adjust the theme colours for your print design in PowerPoint.
As you can see, you can adjust and preview the colour scheme for every element throughout your PowerPoint. Once you click Save, you will input those changes throughout your document.
Text for print design in PowerPoint
This is often the most important element of print design in PowerPoint. There are several elements to consider as you type your text:
1 – Font
Before you start writing, start on the right foot with a font that’s easy to read and appropriate for your brand. If you have an established presence in other media, keep it consistent with the fonts you use there. Otherwise, it’s best to avoid common fonts like Calibri (or crappy fonts like Comic Sans). Ideally, your font should contain serifs: the small lines attached to the end of each stroke on each character. These can be seen in typefaces like Times New Roman. Serif fonts make print media easier to read, as they create a simple reading line that any eyes can easily follow.
On that note, avoid “Reverse copy” at all costs. “Reverse copy” refers to light coloured text printed on a dark background. Studies show it can reduce reader comprehension by up to 70%. Not only that, it can make dramatically increase your printing costs.
If you’d like to know more, see our blog on the 5 rules for fonts.
2 – Size
This is the most important part of print design in PowerPoint, as there’s only one way for readers to change the size of printed text.
The rule of thumb is to use size 12 text with size 14 sub-headings. If you’re producing print media, it’s likely that your aiming for an elderly audience. If you are, aim for large, easy-to-read text.
3 – Readability
Because you’re producing print media, your message must be optimised for scanning rather than scrolling. If you’re producing a small card or flier, lead with a large header and a few quick key points before getting into the body of what you want to say. If you’re looking for something larger, like an article, lead with a large and enticing headline. Make your sub-headings and captions stand out and tell your story on their own. After all, readers will skip to these straight away. Keep your text level and organised, otherwise it will be almost impossible to read. Thankfully, PowerPoint’s inbuilt sight-lines and snapping tools make it easy to keep your text organised.
4 – Content
Whatever you say will depend on the size and purpose of your print design in PowerPoint. Will it need to stand out among a sea of brochures? Make it straight to the point. This lets people seeking your information see it straight away. Will it be something longer that you’d like readers to linger on? Be conversational. Share stories.
If you absolutely have to share statistics, be sure to read our article on the right way to work statistics into design.
Print design in PowerPoint is effective because it offers no other distractions. When someone sits down with a piece of print media, they aren’t being lured away by enticing links at the edge of the page. On that note, print media can’t simply link to webpages that prove what they say. If you want to uphold the assumed authority of your print piece, you must name the source of any information you use.
5 – Use Theme Fonts for Consistency
To create a powerful impression, you need to use consistent fonts. Do you really want to select the same font every time? Wouldn’t you like one click to change the font throughout your print design in PowerPoint?
This is incredibly easy to do by changing your theme fonts. To change your theme fonts, do as you did before with the theme colours. Go to the Design tab and click the bottom arrow on the Variants bar.
In the resulting pop-menu, mouse over Fonts and click “Customize Fonts” at the bottom of the drop-down menu. In the ensuing pop-up menu, you can adjust the theme fonts for your headings and body text. Once you click Save, you will input those changes throughout your document.
For more tips to engage your readers, check out our essential guide to highlighting information.
Images and illustrations
Generally speaking, simple illustrations are much cheaper to print than photographs. That said, it is best to consider the power of each before considering their price. In either case, your image or illustration must not overwhelm the overall layout of your print media. Unless you are making a clear, concise catalogue, avoid image overload. Instead, use only as many as you need to make your main point. Ideally, you should aim to include only one image or illustration. This will reduce your printing costs, and will focus your reader’s attention.
As well as being cheaper to print than images, illustrations are ideal for illustrating abstract ideas. If you want to discuss a service, something like a simple flow-chart might be best for making your point. To create them in PowerPoint, simply go to “Insert shapes” under the “Insert” tab or draw them freehand under the “Draw” tab.
The Draw tab might not be available when you first open PowerPoint. To activate this handy tab, go to options under the file tab. In the pop-up box, select “Customize ribbon” and mark the check-box next to Draw. When drawing your illustration, PowerPoint will recognise everything you draw in one pen-stroke as its own element. To ensure you move them as one illustration, select or shift-click each element before dragging them into position.
For print media which must project an image of professionalism, photographs are far more effective than illustrations. On top of that, they are essential for discussing physical products. In particular, images which show a real human face are up to 38% more engaging than any other kind of image. In PowerPoint, inserting an image is as easy as going to the “Insert” tab and selecting “Pictures”.
Read our article on the art of picking the perfect images.
Once you have selected the photo-based files you would like to use, you can edit them with the tools found under the “Format” tab.
Let’s explore each of the options:
This tools uses smart software to detect the background of your image. One it has, you can adjust it manually using a simple selection tool. From there, simply click “Keep Changes” and voila!
In “Corrections”, you can change the sharpness, brightness and contrast of your image. It’s fairly straightforward.
Under “Color”, you can adjust the saturation and tone of your image. You can even recolour it with a collection of crazy filters.
“Artistic Effects” offer effects similar to the “Filters” feature in Photoshop. Give your image the appearance of anything from a neon sign to an ancient mosaic.
The remaining features are all fairly straightforward. They allow you to resize, re-border and re-align each of your elements on your page.
This is the most important part of print design in PowerPoint. Layout can tell your readers a lot while tying every element together. Let’s explore each element of layout below:
Hierarchy gives order to every element of your layout. By establishing no more than four sizes for your typographic elements, you can draw your reader’s eye from heading to sub-heading to body copy, weaving what you want to say over your graphics.
Establishing a focal point first frames the layout of your print design in PowerPoint. The focal point is the element you want all eyes to be drawn to. On top of that, it’s the element you want every other piece of information to be drawn from. This point could be a single image or piece of text, but it doesn’t have to be the biggest thing in your print. You can establish its importance through contrasts in colour or size, or by considering its position in the reading path.
Another way to draw eyes towards a focal point is by use of leading lines. They can also lead your reader through every part of your print design in PowerPoint. Leading lines don’t have to be actual lines, just elements in your design that guide your reader’s eyes along a path (like those serifs we mentioned earlier).
One way to establish a reading order without leading lines is to create a visual hierarchy of elements through size. Human beings notice elements from largest to smallest, which probably helped our ancestors assess threats easily. If you position your elements in order of importance from largest to smallest and top to bottom, readers can quickly and easily order the information on your page.
Across all of your elements, you must ensure balance. The easiest way to achieve this, especially in PowerPoint, is through symmetrical balance. By mirroring and aligning elements with PowerPoint’s inbuilt sight-lines and snapping tools, you can easily create aesthetically pleasing print media.
To put balance into print design in PowerPoint, you must insert complementing elements into your composition. Work with elements that align to similar principles of colour, texture and feel. Let’s say you want to use PowerPoint to make a poster promoting an exhibit of classic Impressionist Paintings. To complement the subject matter, you could use a handwritten font that evokes the feel of their time.
We know this clashes with what we said about being complementary, but it can create powerful print design in PowerPoint. Use splashes of light colour on dark backgrounds to frame important elements. Add dark coloured to light backgrounds. As well as using high contrast to make elements stand out, you can use low contrast to “hide” certain elements of your design.
To get the best contrast, you need the best background. Read our article on choosing the right background for your design.
Repetition is one of the most important parts of print design in PowerPoint. It’s also one of the most important elements of an effective layout. By using similar shapes, patterns and lines throughout your design, your layout stays strong and cohesive. This is incredibly important for ensuring readers appreciate your message.
While all of this seems complicated, it’s important to remember that you must keep it simple. In fact, one of the best ways to keep your print media cheap and simple is to use blank space. Read our article on graphic design tips to find out more.
Now that you know what your print media looks like, it’s time to figure out what it should feel like. As we said above, the sensory feel of your print media can have a powerful impact on the impression it creates. Thankfully, by exporting to a PDF in PowerPoint, you can print your media upon any material available to you. Let’s look at the four basic kinds of paper out there, in order of least to most expensive:
This refers to the low-end, raw papers used almost entirely for utility purposes. These are not usually used for consumer level marketing materials. To give you an idea of their quality, they are called “Newsprint” because they are most commonly used in the printing of newspapers. For mass-printed media where touch isn’t much of an issue, such as posters, newsprint may be your best bet.
Offset papers are generally uncoated raw paper. These are your average, everyday copier and writing papers. They can sometimes be referred to as “bond” papers when being sold at the consumer level. Offset papers have some teeth in the finish, and they’re not terribly smooth to the touch. For print media where the message is the main focus, such as in a letter to customers, consider offset paper.
Matte paper is sometimes referred to as “Dull coat”. It has a dull, semi-gloss coating on the stock (the traditional term for the raw paper itself). While it is a gloss, it has no glare and is neither slick nor shiny. Matte paper is comparable to laser printer paper, which is smooth but not particularly shiny. This can be an excellent choice for printing sturdy, professional looking materials, particularly business cards.
Gloss paper has a slick shine that reflects light, resulting in eyecatching glare. While it is the most expensive of these four broad categories, it can give you a great return on investment. Glossy paper communicates a certain level of style and financial success. For printed material which must stand out among others, such as for a pamphlet in a rack, a glossy paper may be the perfect stock for your print.
Brochure Design in PowerPoint
Brochures are still an incredibly effective way of putting your brand in the hands of customers. Below are 5 tips to better your brochure design.
1 – Ask “What is the purpose of this brochure?”
Figuring out what you want your reader to do narrows the scope of any print design in PowerPoint. After all, you don’t need to explain everything about your organisation. Just focus on inspiring one action with your brochure, whether that’s buying a product or just visiting your website. Once you have a purpose to guide you, you can plan everything else more easily.
2 – Know how people will receive your brochure
Will members of your sales team leave them with potential customers? Maybe you want customers to pick them up in your physical store? Either way, you will need to design accordingly. If they will be given to a customer, it should build on what your sales representative has already said to them. If the onus is on the customer to take it, the front page should explain exactly what they will get from your brochure.
3 – Consider the size of your brochure
As we explained above, setting the size of your brochure is as simple as adjusting the slide size for each page (or “fold”). Before you do this though, you must think about how they will be stored and who they will be given to.
Let’s say your organisation will use them as part of a stall in an convention. You will need to make them large enough to stand out at your stall, but small enough to easily transport. In this instance, an A5 brochure would be best. Being half the size of A4, it can be easily transported in any box or bag. As well as that, it will stand out with a bold cover. Best of all, it’s incredibly easy to print. All you have to do is print A4 and fold each page in half.
4 – Get your writing right
With your purpose already established, it’s time to explain why readers will benefit from doing what you want them to. Start by typing out these benefits within the blank template of your brochure. Your font size should be between 9 and 12, as this is the range for best readability. Of course, exceptions should be made if you are designing for an audience with poor eyesight.
As you type, try and condense your message while keeping in line with your organisation’s identity. Above all, remember to…
5 – Use graphics to get your point across
It’s easy to explain information using our above advice for illustrations. This can reduce your word-count, and increase the possibility of your brochure being understood by a wider audience.
A4 Flyer Design in PowerPoint
An A4 flyer is often considered the “Swiss army knife” of graphic design. They can function as well as a poster as they do as handout. They work just as well online as they do in a physical copy. Below are 2 tips to design a fantastic flyer in PowerPoint.
1 – Break the rules
Your flyer needs to stand out from the crowd for it to be seen. Once you understand the rules of design, you can make it unique by making it look unlike anything else around it. As long as you keep a few core elements (such as a typographic hierarchy), you can go crazy with colours, shapes and patterns.
2 – Use custom fonts
We recommend sites like dafonts.com and font library, as they provide excellent custom display fonts. Be sure to export your print design as a PDF when showing it others, as PowerPoint files do not carry custom fonts.
Pull-up Banner Design in PowerPoint
Pull-up banners are one of the best ways to win attention in your brand’s physical spaces. On top of that, they’re also one of the easiest examples of print design in PowerPoint. Below are 7 tips to to create powerful pull-up banners in PowerPoint:
1 – Keep important information at the top
Wherever your banner goes, it will need to be seen over heads and other obstructions. To work with this, keep important information (like your logo and key selling point) right at the top.
Scientific Poster Design in PowerPoint
Creating posts for academic conventions and projects is one of the most valuable uses of print design in PowerPoint. Below are 7 tips to nail your next scientific poster:
1 – Know your audience
Depending on the scope of the conference where you’ll premiere your poster, you may have to adjust your terms. If it is a general conference, avoid using specialty terms from your field as you write your text. Try to keep your word-count lower than 250.
2 – Know your dimensions and orientation
Will your poster need to be portrait or landscape? Will it be A0, A1, or something smaller? You should be able to find out such details on the conference website. Once you have, adjust the size of your slide using the instructions under our “Size” sub-heading.
3 – Draft your poster
Before you even open PowerPoint, pull out a piece of paper and sketch a rough layout. Start with a large, eye-catching title, then neatly organise your information under such sub-headings as:
- Contact details
4 – Laying out text
Now that you’re arranging your text-boxes, be sure to apply the following sizes to the following elements:
- Title – 85 point
- Authors – 56 point
- Sub-headings – 36 point
- Body text – 24 point
- Captions – 18 point
5 – Inserting images and graphs
Under the “Insert” tab, users can insert pictures from their computer and online. Users can also create their own scientific graphics through the “Chart” and “SmartArt” options. Remember, visualisation is a great form of explanation.
6 – Create scale bars for relevant images
Say you have an image of a microscopic cell. To overlay a scale bar, simply click “Insert” and “Shapes”. In the drop-down, select a simple line. Drag your line over a scaled section at the corner of your image, now insert a textbox explaining the scale of that line.
7 – Use of colour
Aim for no more than 2 or 3 colours in your design. We find it’s best to apply dark colour to a light coloured background. This is especially good practice for printing, as an abundance of dark ink will drain your budget. Try to avoid garish primary colours, and ensure your body text is only black on light.
As we said above, print design in PowerPoint can be the perfect way to stand out in this age of digital overload. With its powerful design and customisation features, you can easily create editable, effective print design in PowerPoint.
Of course, it takes time and stress trying to get it right. Get in contact with our professional print designers to save time and ensure a successful piece of print media.[thrive_lead_lock id=’8826′]Hidden Content[/thrive_lead_lock]