If beauty is only skin deep, then humans are pretty shallow. It’s well established that we judge value by appearances. With this in mind, a well designed deck is key to a good pitch. The following principles will help you avoid some common design mistakes.
1. Use consistent colour.
By establishing a colour pallet you can visually tie your slides together. If you don’t have a colour pallet, tools like coolors.co can help you find a style. Once you’ve found your colours, use them wisely. Applying the 60, 30, 10 rule let’s you include colour without blinding your audience.
2. Maintain balance and distribution.
Whilst not noticeable when present, without proper balance and distrubution, things feel messy. The example below shows an example in the wild.
3. Maintain margins.
Whilst there are exceptions to the rule, in general the edges of the slide (margins) should be maintained. This avoids content from appearing to jump around.
The easiest way to do this is use the text box for the heading as a guide. Both Google Slides and Powerpoint will show you when resizing elements which boundaries they are passing.
4. Be consistent.
A good template will use several slides designed for specific purposes. To keep the structure clear you should use each slide for a specific purpose. This is especially the case where a slide type forms part of a structural marker.
You should also make sure the position of elements like headings consistent between slides. Don’t move or resize them to fit an extra word. Doing so results in slight variation between slides that appears messy.
5. Think about typography.
At the most basic level, there are three elements to consider:
- Headings should be the same size and font accross the deck (for similar slides).
- Body copy should have a line height of at least 1.15pts.
- Highlight key points using your highlighting (10%) colour.
None of these will come as a surprise, but these elements are frequently ignored.
6. Use appropriate imagery.
The right images can make your deck stunning. The wrong images make it look amateur.
Additionally, you shoud think about which images are suitable for your brand. I have seen beautiful but completely irrelevant or off brand images included in presentations simply to fill the space. At best this is a distraction, at worst off putting. Use images sparingly. But, if you need good looking, free stock images, check out Unsplash.com.
Putting it all together.
The challenge with design is that everyone has an opinion. Whilst there are often no right or wrong answers as to how you approach your slide design, there are still rules to follow. We have only touch on a couple here. Once you have mastered putting together presentations, you can start to bend the rules. In the mean time, a good template can go a long way. If you need a template and don’t have the resources for an in hous designer, consider using a resource like Envato Elements to buy a template. To find out more about how Pitch helps it’s partners develop, sell and deliver digital marketing services, book a consultation.
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