In this 3-part series on “How to Make a Presentation”, we have already covered in Part 1: How to brainstorm ideas for a story and in Part 2: How to choose the best color scheme for your sides. Today we will dive into how to align various elements of design together, including composition/layout, background color, image assets, font, bullet points, graphs and charts. We will again review some fundamental graphic design rules such as consistency and contrast, and walk you through how to apply them to every single design element for your presentation.
Let’s break it down. Number 1 we’re talking about the composition and layout. So generally speaking in composition and layout you know, one of the advantages of me running a presentation tool at Visme is I got to see a lot of slides created by various different types of people and one of the biggest mistakes that I see has to do with the composition, it has to do with the way people put the sizing and spacing between the objects and so in the example behind me, the photos, there’s a gap between the padding and also the content is actually overflowing the photo itself.
Taking that same exact content and building it into a nicer slide, what’s happen here is there’s an actual boarder that has been built. So there has no bleed between the slide. The images going into each corner on the top, bottom and the right and also on the left side, the title the header is defined, it’s larger and there’s a smaller text underneath of it serving as the body text itself. So it’s a little more organized and cleaner.
Now, let’s go through to a couple more example. Same thing with this slide, what we have is, poor contrast between the header and the background and additionally, we have the content underneath of it where you know, it’s hard to understand, hard to visualize the statements. So again, this is a slide, you’re supposed to allow people to easily and quickly grab and understand the information as presented to them. Now the same exact content is been built out in this slide. So the header is defined, it’s larger and also again, the last lesson talking about the different types of color scheme and in this case the monochrome colors, the colors are adhering to each other and you have just kind of a nicer, cleaner set up and also using the visual cues, you have a better understanding of the audience, goals and the medium.
2.Less is more
So, a couple more things. Less is more. We’ve talked about this a lot. A lot of times in design, you want to have a clean aesthetic design. And by doing that, what you want to do is to avoid the complexity. So in this case, the content, the “Keep color simple” text has been made a lot more complicated. There is actual introduction of colors, there’s the background color behind it and so it’s just not a cleaner set up. And look at this one, same exact text but with minimal style. It’s a lot cleaner and crisper, in fact, all this is, is a background, a solid background and text in front of it. But yet, it is a lot cleaner and crisper than the example here.
Now, let’s talk about images. That is one of the most common issues that I see is that people just start pacing images over to their slide. There’s really no focal point. So in this example, there are 3 separate images and they’re just kind of flowing over each other. You don’t know which one you’re supposed to look at and I don’t understand what is being perceived here. What you could instead is to use just one image. So using one image per slide is pretty easy to follow tip. If you have high-quality images and so you establish a focal point and you have the content to a side.
Now, what if you do want to use multiple images? If you want to do that, in that case, build the pattern. So, the large image on the left and using the similar pattern, in this case, 2 different images to the right and they’re basically flowing and they have the same aesthetic design.
And let’s talk about the font. So you know, is it making it easier for the user? That’s the question you want to ask. Whenever you create content and slides, you have to ask yourself, do I implementing the style? Is it making it easier for the user to understand and read that information? So 2 examples here. This one is using a couple different fonts styles and formatting and the one on the right is a little bit easy to understand. It’s actually cleaner set up.
Also, talking about bullet points. I see a lot of slides where people just copy paste their bullet points from their actual storyboard. So, in part one, I talked about creating an outline, they pretty much go ahead and just copy paste part of their outline into the slides. Instead of creating bullet points, try to take each of those bullets because each of them is actually a key message and implement them into separate slides. You know, that allows you to talk more and also engage with your audience more versus them having to force themselves to actually read the text that is on the slide. They’re really are supposed to be visual cues.
Now, number 3 is design elements. When it comes to design elements, beautifying your content, again, there should be a purpose with the text. So Times New Roman is the text on the left, it’s a default text very commonly used, and the one on the right is a San Serif. It’s a little bit of a cleaner set up. So you can actually follow that through. There’s a purpose to it. So beautifying make the content a little bit more aesthetic and easier to read.
Contrast – I’ve talked about this a lot in the last few episodes. So when it comes to the contract, you know, you want to appreciate it, you want to respect it and to actually implement it. So, that example here and the same one right here. So you have a lighter text over a darker background. And that allows you to easily read that text. Now, visual cues as far as using icons is a big tip. You want to use visual cues as much as you can. However, there should be a certain type of organization to it. So you know this is pretty cool stuff, we got some nice icons here. Well, what’s the problem? They’re in different formats and different styles. So you got to decide, do I want to go with the solos, do I want to go with the outlines and make sure that you follow that through each of the slides. So in this case, let’s say if I have to go with the wine glass at the bottom or maybe it’s a champagne glass or martini glass and going to the next slide, that outline is being reflected through them. So, use that similar type of icons throughout the set, stick to the same style.
4.Using graphs and charts to visualize data
Now, let’s talk about using graphs and charts to visualize data. A lot of times in presentations, you data that you need to present. And often what people do is they create these tables. So, with tables, it’s a great way to present information but it is often hard to understand. 3-second test, what year had the highest for bachelor degree? Can you tell me in 3 seconds? Probably not. Let’s do the same thing, same test again. What year had the highest degree? The highest rate of the bachelor rate. So if you look over here at 2016 had an approximately 59% rate over the 2006. So that was taking data from a table format and into a more visual format.
Now, another example is sometimes you want to represent figures, okay? So autism is a big issue in terms of the ratio where boys to girls, it’s about 4 to 1. So you have to kind of read the sentence here or you could actually visualize that into a more easy format. So, simple and effective data visualizations really allow you to present information more easily. So the same exact information is 4 to 1 is a ratio of boys to girls approximately. So very quickly you can actually absorb that information.
5.Using high-quality photos
Now, I can’t emphasize enough about the high quality photos. So these days. there’s should be very little excuse in terms of the type of photos that you used. If you look on the left, that is a low quality photo. So we probably took that photo and basically stretched it out. And then on the right side, we have this another photo that is very crisp and aesthetic. So these days, photos are very inexpensive. They are inexpensive, there’s tons of royalty-free photos, a lot of free resources that ‘you can tap into and that allows you to create better presentations.
Now, let’s talk about consistency. That’s a big element that you want to follow through your presentation. So look at the slide here, what we have is the slide deck and there’s a problem with it. It’s not cohesive, and there is a sense of you know, inconsistency, too many fonts, too colors, a number of bullet points and none of the slides really follow the same aesthetics. However, this one is more cohesive, it’s actually very popular slide deck on SlideShare and if you look at it, there’s a certain style and color scheme that follows through all the slides. That’s what you want to shoot for.
So finally, let’s bring it all together. This slide behind me, I’m going to show you a few slides that are going to be consistent, doing it together. Now, this slide in the last couple of parts, I have provided in a couple of last episodes, and it kind of follow a similar scheme where I’m going to build this out into a few additional slides. So this is your cover and there’s a certain font and it’s a monochromatic feel, we’re not using too many colors and let’s go through the next one.
So we’re going to actually take the same flow of the color, the similar color scheme follows through every slide and the next one. So in this case, what we’re doing is using consistency in the fonts and also using visuals to do that. And also if you look at it, the same background is following through. And that angle that you see, that’s actually being consistent. So that’s the opposite angle and a couple slides before and here we’re following that through here as well.
Now, additionally here what we’re doing is we’re creating a focal point. So following the similar slides through, the focal point is the map and the information about the places that I’ve travelled. So that allows you to have a consistent feel. So if you go through these slides going back and back and back, you get to see that there’s a certain type of cohesiveness, consistency through the fonts, the styles and that gives you the look that you’re looking for.
So, there you have it. This was a 3-part series. I hope that you benefit from it in terms of How to Create Compelling Presentations. I’m going to be talking some new stuff especially with infographics coming up in the near future and I hope you put this to good use. Thank you very much.