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The do's and don'ts of presentation design [Expert agency tips]

Imagine yourself at a conference, surrounded by some of the most influential people in your field. You’re about to give a presentation on your latest research findings, and you’re feeling confident. You take the stage and begin speaking, but suddenly, you realize something is wrong. The design of your slides is cluttered and confusing, and the message you’re trying to convey is getting lost.

As you struggle to keep your audience engaged, you feel the weight of their disinterest heavy on your shoulders. You know that this presentation could make or break your career, but you can feel it slipping away. You silently curse yourself for not putting more time and effort into your presentation design, and you vow to never make the same mistake again.

If you’ve ever found yourself in a situation like this, you’re not alone. Presentation design is an often-overlooked aspect of public speaking, but it’s crucial to the success of your presentation.

“A good presentation is like a good play, it opens strong, delivers the message, and closes strong.”  —  Patricia Fripp

In this article, we’ll cover the do’s and don’ts of presentation design, so you can ensure that your next presentation is a success. So sit back, relax, and imagine yourself as the star presenter, nailing every slide with confidence and style.

Do’s of Presentation Design

1. Know your audience

When it comes to crafting a captivating presentation, the first step to take is to intimately understand your audience. Knowing their wants, needs, and interests is crucial in ensuring that you create a presentation that truly resonates with them. Think of it as a tailored suit, designed specifically to fit the unique shape and style of your audience. By taking the time to understand who you are presenting to, you are setting the foundation for a successful and impactful presentation that will leave a lasting impression.

2. Keep it simple

Imagine walking into a room filled with sparkling chandeliers, plush velvet couches, and golden trimmings. It’s grand, it’s extravagant, but is it truly effective? No, not always. In fact, too much glitter can often blind the audience and divert their attention from the real message. So, strip it down to the basics and let your words do the talking. Opt for a clean and minimalistic approach, where your images, colors, and font styles are the subtle accents that enhance the delivery. This way, you’ll have the audience hanging onto every word you say, and not just be distracted by a screen full of clutter.

3. Use visual aids effectively

Whether you’re displaying statistics, trends, or key findings, incorporating visual aids into your presentation can make a world of difference. Just make sure they’re relevant, enhance your message, and are not simply a meaningless addition to your slides. Utilize images, graphs, and charts to paint a vivid picture for your audience, breaking down complicated information into easily digestible pieces. Let your visual aids do the talking, guiding your audience through a journey of discovery, illuminating insights, and captivating their imagination.

4. Tell a story

Spin a yarn, captivate their hearts: We’ve all grown up listening to tales, and they have an undeniable charm that draws us in. Harness the power of storytelling to craft a presentation that holds the attention of your audience. Weave a story that not only educates but also empowers your listeners to become a part of the narrative. By captivating their hearts, you’ll keep them engaged, invested, and eager to learn more.

5. Practice, practice, practice

Before you step up to the podium and steal the show, it’s crucial to put in the hard work. Take the time to rehearse your presentation multiple times, this way you’ll have the confidence to command the room and deliver a seamless performance. The more you practice, the more you’ll become a seasoned performer, ready to tackle any curveball thrown your way.

Don’ts of Presentation Design

1. Don’t overload your slides with information

Don’t turn your presentation into a data dump. Your audience wants clarity, not chaos. Keep your slides clean and focused, highlighting only the most essential information. Remember, simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, so aim for a minimalist approach.

2. Don’t use poor-quality images/visuals

Visuals are a crucial aspect of any presentation, and a subpar image can quickly unravel all your hard work. That’s why it’s imperative to use only high-quality, visually appealing images that align with the topic at hand. After all, you don’t want your audience to be distracted by blurry or pixelated graphics, do you? Invest in clear, crisp images that will complement your message and leave a lasting impression on your audience.

3. Don’t use too many font styles

Too many font styles can distract from the message of your presentation and make it appear unrefined. Stick to a maximum of two font styles and choose ones that are easy on the eyes. Consistency is key to creating a polished and professional look.

4. Don’t use too many colors

Embrace the power of simplicity: Too many colors can detract from the impact of your presentation. Limit your color palette to two or three hues, and make sure they complement each other, to create a cohesive and sophisticated look. Like a beautiful painting, every stroke must have a purpose, and too many colors will only make the picture look messy and disjointed.

5. Don’t forget to rehearse

Stepping onto the stage, microphone in hand, and realizing you’re not quite ready for the spotlight is a nightmare scenario. That’s why rehearsing your presentation is a crucial step in the preparation process. It allows you to familiarize yourself with the material, fine-tune your delivery, and minimize the chance of any on-stage slip-ups. So, make sure to carve out some quality time to practice, polish, and perfect your performance, and you’ll be ready to captivate your audience when it’s showtime.

Work with us

Creating an effective presentation design requires careful consideration of various factors. By following the dos and don’ts of presentation design, you can create presentations that are both engaging and effective.

If you need help creating visually appealing and effective presentations, reach out to us. We’re experts in presentation design and would be happy to help.


Ink Narrates is a Presentation Design Agency. We craft storytelling PowerPoint presentations & provide services in presentation outsourcing, pitch decks, sales decks, animated presentations, template systems & design guidelines. Basically, we live & breathe presentations!

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1 Comment

Jun 20, 2023

Helpful list! Thanks for writing this article.

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