Quick and simple design tips for presenters

These guidelines can help make your presentation engaging, yet clear and easy to follow.

Whether you’re starting a presentation for an event next month or you’re sprucing up—or just beginning—one you’re giving tomorrow morning, here are some fast design tips:

Think “kids’ book.”

Have you ever seen a presentation that looks minimalist, contemporary, sleek? It probably followed this design principle, which takes a cue from children’s books by including only a short amount of text and single object of focus per slide.

Avoid “snazzy” typefaces.

You might think Flower Cursive River Serif is the most inventive typeface you’ve ever seen, but illegible and distracting fonts don’t belong in your presentation.

Remember the Comic Sans outcry? How about the Papyrus humiliation? Stick to the classics when it comes to typefaces.

Beware of humans.

It’s hard to correctly choose a stock photo image from a site, especially when the site is overwhelmed with awkward, staged, and uncomfortable photos of people in fake office environments.

If you are having a hard time selecting an image, pick a visual metaphor that doesn’t deal literally with your topic. Choose nature shots, travel images, or close-ups of flowers. Choose anything except an uncomfortable image of someone laughing at their work computer, please.

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Go with a full bleed.

In design nomenclature, a full-bleed image simply means it fills the slide all the way to the edges. This not only looks contemporary (depending on the selected image), but it also can be seen from the back of the room.

Limit colors.

Too many colors found in presentation text, background images and other design elements can make your presentation look sloppy and mismatched. Choose a modest palette of three colors, with a single bright accent color to add visual interest.

Presentation design has a lot in common with billboards, because it must be seen at a distance and in a short span of time. Even if you’re throwing something together quickly, make sure it looks big, bold and beautiful.

Sunday Avery is content manager at Ethos 3. A version of this article originally appeared on the Ethos3 blog.

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