PowerPoint is the single most abused visual communication tool that this designer has ever seen. I know, harsh, right? And it very well may be that I am bashing your favorite creative tool.
Stay with me.
As a designer, I dismissed PowerPoint as a design tool. Didn’t want to have anything to do with it. Rolled my eyes when someone sent me design content to work with in a ppt. Scoffed at Microsoft products in general. I was brought up on a Mac and Adobe is my second language. There was not room in my life for Microsoft foolishness. Real designers don’t take that nonsense seriously.
Until about six years ago I got a freelance opportunity for steady contract work. The catch- it was working in PowerPoint on a Windows machine.
The horror. Granted it was steady work at a good rate in an excellent environment. But still, I had my standards. A little voice in my head said give it a go. How bad could it be, and you don’t have to tell anyone.
Six years in and I’m here to take back most everything I said in the first paragraphs of this ramble. In the right hands, PowerPoint is a powerful visual communication tool. And while Adobe is still my second language, I’ve learned enough about Microsoft’s PowerPoint to share some tips on how you can make the most of this powerful tool.
Here are five tips to designing better presentations:
Keep it simple: The less clutter the more powerful the message, and the more likely your audience will listen to you
Minimize your onscreen text to key bullet points: Talk your audience through the main points. They’ll take more away from your presentation than if they are reading a screen full of text.
Use a simple slide transition throughout your presentation: Transitions are not a design tool. Stick to one or two if you must. Any more are going to make your presentation look less than professional
Use high quality graphics: There are plenty of online sources for free visual content. The image at the top of this post was a free download from unsplash. Always remember to credit the artist if you use free images.
Have a visual theme: But avoid using PowerPoint templates. Assume that your audience has seen many PowerPoint templates before. Be original- it doesn’t have to be complicated.