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How to use illustrations in your presentations

Illustrations, to be honest, have existed for a very long time. But recently they’re not only used by professional designers, these assets are easily available on multiple sites on the internet. What I mean is, even if you’re a DIY presentation designer, you’re in luck. You can make your slides look pretty using an art form that always wins hearts

If you’re not aware of what I’m talking about. This is what they look like…

Illustrations style used by Ink Narrates

These art forms are either available in stock or if you’re willing to spend higher budgets, these can be tailor-made for your brand and presentations.

What’s so special about them?

Illustrations add personality to words. When designers work on text-heavy projects, illustrations become especially important. For instance, brochures and magazines are filled with text. Designers can take what is in the copy and make visual representations to balance out the text. Especially in today’s fast-paced world, people read for headlines and bullet points. If you can design an illustration that helps portray the big idea of the piece, it will help grab attention and ensure a reader retains something from the piece.

As you can see, they’re trendy, playful, fun, and casual. Some big brands use them too, for example, Etsy, Asana, Salesforce, etc. They create an instant rapport with the audience & make you come across as a friendly brand.

But, there are some downsides too!

If you use them at the wrong place at the wrong time, you may come across as cheesy & foolish. Hence, using them right is super important.

Ink Narrates | The best presentation design agency

In this article, you’ll learn some guidelines to follow while you use them. As we’re a presentation design agency, we’ll teach you how to use, edit & place them in your presentations.

Rule 1: Get the right format

Even though PowerPoint is quite flexible and supports multiple file formats, keep in mind that always use the .svg file format for icons & illustrations. This will help you separate & edit the singular elements of the asset to your choice.

Some illustration sites do allow you to edit the color of your illustrations, but they don’t allow you to choose individual elements. For example, if you’d like to change just the tree color in your illustration, using the platform won’t do you any good. However, you can do that in PowerPoint.

Rule 2: Manage the size

The illustrations are always nice looking. In fact, you can like them so much that you end up covering your entire slide with them. I’ve been there! But remember it’s just a visual to complement your presentation message.

You don’t have to make it too small, just check if there’s enough eye-resting space on the slide. If it passes this test, you’re good to go.

Rule 3: Don’t overuse

I know there are some templates on the internet, even on Canva, where the illustrations are used on every slide. That’s a bad idea!

If you overuse them across your PowerPoint presentation, it loses its powers of persuasion and looks hideous. What’s the most amount of times you can use them? Using them in alternate slides would be the maximum. That’s it. Anything more than that is crossing the thin line between design & ugly.

Rule 4: Use in combination

You’ve probably never thought about this, but consciously or subconsciously, people know what a lazy PowerPoint design is. Imagine being the audience for a minute, now imagine there’s someone pitching to you with just a big block of illustration on one side of the slide & text on another side.

What would you think? You’d think the person didn’t bother. To avoid a lazy look, merge the illustration into a layout with different colors (either contrast or shade), and add a decorated title & body to the text. This is very basic or the least you can do about it.

Rule No 5: See if they align with brand personality

As awesome as this art form is, it’s not for everyone. If your brand’s personality isn’t playful, casual, or easy-going, don’t try to build presentations with illustrations. A lot depends on the audience too.

For example, most big management consulting firms across the world follow stringent presentation design guidelines that are too corporate and serious. If you use illustrations with such a tough crowd, they’ll be seen as nothing more than “cartoon characters”.

Good for visual storytelling…

All in all, we at Ink Narrates look at illustrations as one of the most important tools for visual storytelling. The best thing about them is, they could be animated too. So if you feel like the static image isn’t enough to propose your value, you can use a combination of morph & transition animations in your PowerPoint presentations.


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