From email to PowerPoint: Four tips to keep slides looking their best (PART 3)

Welcome to the third part of our blog series dedicated to branding. In this post, we’ll tackle a common business tool that can have a great impact on the way your brand is perceived; PowerPoint.

If you missed the earlier posts in this series, you can find them here: Three Ways to Keep Branding Spot On   |  Three Tips to Ensure You’re Using Brand Colors Effectively

I’ll start with something simple, but not widely recognized: unused space is not a problem –  you don’t need to cover it up.

One of the things we covered in a previous post was that the use of color should be a decision, not an intuition. 

Let’s start with this basic 3-bullet example:

This is definitely not an exciting slide and has too much white space. Let’s look below to see what changes when we add an image.

In this case (and most of the time when we’re using PowerPoint) the images we tend to put in the presentations are just “fluff” – they rarely assist or strengthen the copy.  

Below are 4 tips to improve the look and feel of your presentations.

#1 Don’t cover up white space in your slides: it decreases a slide’s potential and does not let you fully show off your brand.

Instead, try something like this:

Using color in order to help convey the information within the bullets can be a better alternative to using images in many cases. Even though there is white space left over, remember to ask yourself “Would adding an image clarify my point? How will it affect the way people interpret the content?”

#2 If you can’t think of a good reason to put in an image, don’t do it.

We’ve already used colors to highlight the most important parts of our bullets; let’s look at how applying the concept of color-coding would work throughout the rest of the document.

Imagine we have a slide for each bullet we introduced in our introductory slide – we can now color-code them in green, blue and grey to ensure they correspond with the right bullet point.

Even something as simple as three bullets can reach through the document to improve clarity. This in turn may allow you to improve other troublesome slides as well!

#3 Be mindful of last-minute changes: each slide is part of a whole, so changing one may affect another. 

When thinking beyond a single slide and considering an entire document, there’s no harm in incorporating visual elements to add context and clarity. However, make sure to identify why each one is being added and how that affects the document as a whole.

Lastly, let’s not forget the audience. Sometimes it’s a single person reading a print out or looking at a screen. Other times, it’s an auditorium full of people looking at a wall-to-wall screen.

#4 Always consider how your audience will absorb the document (and make different versions for different audiences and contexts).

Instead of a printed document, let’s assume the following is for a presentation:

If the text on a slide is something you intend to communicate verbally, why not remove it entirely and replace it with an image? That’s going to be less distracting and will enable your audience to focus on what matters most in the presentation, the presenter!

In addition, multiple versions of your presentation are your friend. Consider having a printed handout that includes all your major talking points which you may not have time to cover during your presentation. By catering to this likely scenario you can get the best of both worlds!

Next time we’ll dive a bit deeper into the dreaded “There’s too much to fit on one slide!” and will go through some tricks to overcoming common pitfalls when it comes to PowerPoint.

Till next time!

Author Bio

Gregg Hecht

Placing a definition around art is always a subject of debate, but Gregg likes to think that we can all agree that whatever we see art in (be it a painting, in design, or even an athletic activity) there is always something special that distiguishes it. That “something special” has no formula, but trying to find it in design and in fencing has been the direction the last several years of Gregg's life has followed. He has no problem imagining that his interests will continue on in that direction for many more years.