Recently, a colleague sent me a template file for a presentation we’re working on together. Meh, it was merely one single slide, with our company logo on it, a title placeholder, and five pre-defined text fields (12-point font each. But, well, I’ve already given my opinion about too small presentation fonts in an older post).
To make things clear, I have no intention to format the visuals I’m creating for this joint presentation with a – or particularly this – single slide layout. A presentation template should provide a common look and feel, NOT a uniform one. It’s a guidance for the author, rather than a prescription. A key purpose (maybe even the most important one) of a template is to create and enforce corporate brand identity. Making sure the audience knows that’s your company’s representative who’s speaking (even without being presented with a logo on each slide).
Another motivation for distributing templates is to keep up visual consistency by giving you and your colleagues a common structure, style, and layout for creating slides. So, when you distribute a template, make sure it offers several alternative layouts: one for the title page, for bulleted text, for tables, for charts, etc.
Finally, there are use cases for spartan templates like the one I mentioned above: e.g. data sheets, financial reports, or project plans. Though I would hardly call these presentations, as their authors are only (mis)using presentation creation software to quickly and easily craft beautifully formatted documents – a.k.a. slideumentation.
But never forget that it takes more than a (even sexy) template for creating compelling presentations…
Here are some of my other posts about using templates and formatting your slides:
- Why look and feel matter in business presentations (by me)
- Me and my brand (by me)
- Don’t feed the chameleons (by me)
- Size matters! (by me)
- The (in)evitable agenda slide (by me)
- Hear, hear! long and descriptive assertions may be more effective than short and crispy slide titles (by me)
- My design agency is called none (by me)