4-ELEMENT SUPERSLIDE DESIGN FRAMEWORK: PT 2
If you missed our last post, THE 4-ELEMENT SUPERSLIDE DESIGN FRAMEWORK: PART 1, it demonstrates why clean design + great content is like peanut butter + jelly—it just works.
This time around, we're thrilled to share the next phase of our framework featuring guest writer, design boss, and Pitch DNA co-conspirator, Molly Scott. She’s developed a system to keep your audience focused on your message—and most importantly, on YOU!
Molly, take it away…
Let’s start by talking about Mexican food.
Here are menu boards from two restaurants:
After looking at each, think about the following:
Which menu communicates higher quality?
Which restaurant would you guess is cleaner?
Which restaurant seems to take more pride in their food?
Which food is healthier? Fresher?
Where would you rather eat?
I’m going to take a wild guess and say you answered “The Red One” for all 5 questions.
Here’s my point (other than Chipotle is delicious)...
Menu boards = your slides
Slides are a visual representation of your brand.
The design of the slide says much more to the audience than the actual words.
Slides convey subconscious messages about your company (like how organized, modern, clean, creative, and profitable you are).
So how can you set up your slides to convey the most positive message possible?
The 4 Building Blocks of WOW! Slide Design
1. Less is more
Choose a simple color scheme, bold graphics, and the fewest words possible to convey your message. In fact, if you can communicate without words, even better. Be wary of using colorful backgrounds and decorative fonts. Bright colors and graphic elements can be used for emphasis, but should be inserted sparingly. My rule of thumb is 2 colors per slide. There’s a reason books and newspapers are usually plain black text on white paper. It’s the easiest for human eyes to read.
2. Don’t be afraid of blank space
Give. Your. Slides. Room. To. Breathe.
It’s OK to only use ⅓ or ½ of the total space on a slide. The eyes in your audience will thank you for the visual break! Just because you have the space doesn’t mean you need to fill it.
Pro Tip: Instead of cramming everything from a talking point on one slide, break it across 2-3 slides. Even though it may make your deck a few slides longer, it will help you clarify your main points, and can streamline your narrative.
3. Encourage listening
If you put text on a screen while you’re talking, the audience will read it. If you put lots of text on a screen while you’re talking, the audience will read it. If you put lots of small text on a screen while you’re talking, the audience will struggle to read it, but they’ll still read it—and at this point, they’ve completely given up on listening to you.
Think of this blog post as a slide. Right now, you’re using your energy and focus to read these words. What if someone was also talking to you while you tried to read this post? It would be hard to pay attention to both, right? That’s the same experience the audience has when they try to read your slides and listen to you talk. It’s distracting, confusing, and less impactful.
If possible, refrain from putting words on slides and use simple visuals in their place. It encourages your audience to listen to you instead of squinting to read what’s behind you.
4. Get help
Did you know...there are people who study the art of laying out things like slides? They’re called graphic designers (shameless self-promotion, I know). And they want nothing more than to transform your presentation into organized, power-packed, bite-sized visual masterpieces. Find one, hire ’em, and trust their creative decisions. It frees up your time to focus on other important stuff (like choosing between the barbacoa or vegetarian burrito).
In future posts, I’ll dive into slide makeovers to show you how you can craft your slides for maximum impact.
The Final Word
We’re grateful to Molly for her insights. For those who don’t already know, Molly has played an integral role in the creation of the Pitch DNA brand, from the design of our logo, to our website, all print materials, business cards, handouts… the list goes on and on. Plus, she creates amazing slide makeovers for our clients. Learn more about Molly here.
Stuart & auGi
PS. Want to see great design in action? Check out Singer Vehicle Design and invite us to the track, please.
PPS. Pitch DNA Insider has been going for a year! Thanks to all of you who read, share, and participate with us. If you want to ask a question to be featured in an upcoming Q + A issue, send us an email.