Companies that care for their brand provide their employees with presentation templates. This is certainly a good practice, because it enforces a common brand identity, and ensures a uniform background and consistent layout for all company visuals.
Here are a few tips for designing a good template, and applying it effectively to your slides:
- First of all, never use the templates that come standard with your presentation software. Most of them belong to the world’s PowerPoint heritage and will provoke a déjà vu feeling. Create your own backgrounds (or have them built by a professional designer), but don’t overdo and leave ample space for content.
- Use contrasting colors (dark text on a light background or light text on a dark background) and stay consistent with fonts, colors and bullets (as explained in my preceding post in this “look’n’feel matter” series).
- Keep logos and other design elements discrete – when you introduce yourself properly and deliver a first-class presentation the audience will remember you and the name of your company. On the other hand, it may be good to add a (rather large) page number to each of the slides, especially when they will be presented to remote audiences (e.g. in conference calls or webinars) that may not get speech and visuals delivered in a synchronized way.
- When creating presentations, be careful with moving slides from one layout to another, as this operation –when the tools are not used as directed– may ruin your whole slide show. An often-made mistake is copying and pasting content between standard-screen (with a 4:3 aspect ratio) and wide-screen (16:9 ratio) formats, resulting in squeezed images and distorted company logos. Also make sure you don’t mix up fonts and color themes originating from different templates.
Other articles about this topic that are worth reading:
- Who says we need our logo on every slide? (by Garr Reynolds)
- 6 Tips for Professional Presentation of Identity/Logo Design (by Alexa Miller)
- Create your own template (by Ellen Finkelstein)
- Corporate presentation cockups and problems (by Simon Raybould)