A Comprehensive Guide to Presentation Design (With Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published May 2, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A presentation layout is a concept that involves combining stories, texts, and images to portray a story or lead an individual or a group of people to reach a unique conclusion. A good presentation requires an interesting design, excellent communication skills, the ability to connect with the audience, and the presenter's understanding of the topic to impact the viewers. Understanding the principles that constitute an excellent presentation and the types of design can help you build an engaging presentation or connect better to a presenter.

In this article, we explore the importance of design in creating presentations, discuss a few presentation types, and share some presentation design tips.

Importance of presentation design

One of the numerous goals a presenter can achieve by incorporating excellent presentation design into their work is grasping the audience's attention and ensuring the presentation is memorable. The presenter can accomplish this with good design tools by ensuring the display is much more than words on a page. Alongside brilliant public speaking ability and a complete understanding of the idea you want to present, implementing the best design practices to complement those efforts can help you achieve all these purposes.

You can successfully offer a business opportunity to clients or investors, educate students, and present innovative ideas in the workplace. A presenter can explain an idea in a compactly designed package by combining captivating visuals, detailed data, and insightful statistics. You can categorize these components as presentation layout elements. Customarily, the purpose of a good presentation includes:

  • Informing the audience by imparting groundbreaking and sometimes life-changing knowledge.

  • Instructing the audience on how to use the shared information practically for their improvement.

  • Entertaining the audience by capturing their attention for enough time to make them absorb the data portrayed in the presentation.

  • Inspiring and activating the audience to adopt different positive behavioural improvements.

  • Persuading the audience by appealing to their logic and emotions in an attempt.

Types of presentations

You can make a few common types of presentations for different reasons. These reasons can include the background of the audience or the difficulty of understanding and explaining the idea to the audience. Here are the most common types of presentations used in different industries:

Sales presentations

A sales presentation's primary goal is to explain the appeal of a particular product or service to customers. To create such a presentation, you require detailed statistics, an overview of the company's unique selling propositions, pricing and payment information, reviews from customers, and various other components. Combining all these components can make a presentation that captivates customers and may lead them to engage in and purchase the product.

Related: How to End a Presentation

Educational presentations

There are various reasons one may require a presentation in the education system, whether as a student or a teacher. A student can use a presentation to share study results or a hypothesis with peers. A teacher can use a presentation to simplify the explanation of a complex topic to students. The common factor in both presentations is that both parties create plans to educate their audience.

With this goal in mind, such presentations can consist of engaging components to keep the audience interested in the exhibition until the end. A thoroughly captivated audience possesses a better chance of learning from the presentation than a bored audience.

Related: How to Become an Instructional Designer (With Skills)

Investment pitch presentation

Any startup or existing small business that plans to thrive requires funding. One way to acquire this funding is the creation of a presentation for potential investors. A display of this nature can include:

  • Brief opening: An introduction or brief overview about the product or service, for example, the inspiration behind its creation.

  • Explicit slide: A slide dedicated to the explanation of the solution that the product or service can provide.

  • Statistical slide: A slide dedicated to the projected data, including statistics on the growth rate, profit rate, and customer numbers both locally and possibly internationally.

  • Detailed slide: A slide devoted to displaying the primary staff involved in the product or service's creation and maintenance, including the Chief Executive Officer, Chief Marketing Officer, and Chief Financial Officer.

Report presentation

Most organizations require a periodic report detailing specific metrics highlighting the organization's performances across all departments. For example, if a sales and marketing department manager attempts to report detailing the organization's marketing methods, they can create this report as a message. This presentation may contain metrics such as a monthly sales comparison, sales percentages, and an item breakdown.

Conference presentation

Whether at political or industrial conventions and expositions, speakers deliver speeches that set the underlying tone and summarize the most important revelation of the event. These speakers customarily deliver their speeches in front of a large audience, and they require another component to keep the crowd engaged besides their spoken words. Using a presentation for a conference can help keep the audience up-to-date during the speech. Considering the size of the audience, you can use bright colours for the fonts and backgrounds of the slides and display only the main points from the speech.

8 common presentation design tips

Regardless of your role in an organization, a colleague or an assistant may require you to create a presentation to aid in accurately explaining an idea to them. Here are a few presentation layout tips you can use to make a slide deck that catches the interest of the audience:

1. Use minimal words

Presentation designers customarily accompany a slideshow with a speech explaining the contents of the slides. This is because the presenter may seem as repetitive if everything the presenter says appears on the slides. This means the slides can contain only a few lines of text for proper effectiveness. The text can display only the audience's main topics and critical information for improved presentation layout.

2. Use a minimal range of colours and fonts

When creating all the slides in a presentation, it's critical to limit your colour choices for the background and limited fonts for the texts. Although using many colours and fonts might create an eye-catching design, you can consider using a maximum of two or three hues and fonts. While using this limited number of colours and fonts, it's critical you assign each a role.

For example, if you decide to use three fonts, you can use the first one to write the header while the second appears in the following paragraphs. You can use the third font to distinguish standard body copy from critical points the audience can pay attention to during the presentation.

3. Use visual elements

To engage the audience, the presentation layout you use requires captivating visuals to resonate with the viewers, both emotionally and logically. These illustrations can include videos, stock photos to appeal to the audience's emotions and charts or graphs representing statistical data for logical appeal. You can use these visuals alongside texts on a slide or use them alone if they can represent the texts you can use ideally.

4. Use minimal transition styles

Throughout the presentation, you're displaying slides in constant transition to explain your idea to an audience. These transitions can easily distract the audience if you use different styles. Finding a single transition style that can convey your idea well is essential, and once you find it, you can use it for the entire presentation.

Related: 13 Best Jobs in Design (With Salaries and Job Duties)

5. Use colour contrasts

One of the presentation layout tools you can incorporate is colour contrast. By using different backgrounds and font colours, there is little chance of the text mixing with the background. Implementing colour contrast well can help the texts on your slides become visibly appealing and ultimately become easier to read and learn from.

6. Maintain similarity across all slides

Design components, ranging from lines and shapes to fonts, colours, and icon styles, require a sense of uniformity. Throughout the presentation, the audience requires this uniformity to know you're still talking about the same idea or topic. If you successfully apply this consistency, your presentation layout may appear to possess cohesiveness, which increases the effectiveness of the slideshow.

7. Use design components to display proper reading order

Considering the fact that a presentation is full of texts, it's crucial to allow and ensure the audience can read the texts. By using the components of colour, font size, and font-weight, you can make it easier for the audience to assimilate the texts on your slides. You can refer to this process as the improvement of the visual hierarchy of the texts.

8. Use data visualization widgets to represent statistics

Whenever you incorporate metrics or data representing performance numbers into a presentation, you can use data widgets to simplify the numbers representing the statistics. These widgets can include a pie chart or histogram created to convey complex or basic numbers. Using such widgets may increase the audience's attention span regarding your presentation.

Explore more articles