Clear content and fluid design are what make an effective PowerPoint presentation. Once you have developed your main message content and structured the supporting content, it is then time to think about your presentation slide design.

The presentation needs to stand on its own; slide designs should only enhance the listening and viewing experience. They shouldn’t fill the role of the presenter. Here are a few tips to designing an effective PowerPoint presentation.



Keep Text Simple

A Powerpoint is meant to supplement a presentation, not to be the ultimate source of content. It is only a visual representation of a speech. The speaker presenting should be the main focus.

Avoid using complicated slides with a lot of text, especially if it is only repeating what the speaker is saying aloud. Having a lot of text divides the attention of the audience and will only hurt your message. The same goes for bullet points. People think by using bullet points to outline the important parts of their message is easier to read than a wall of text, but sometimes a long list of bullet points is just as distracting as using multiple paragraphs on a slide.

Don’t be afraid of having white or negative space on a slide. The less clutter you have, the more powerful your visual message will become. If you must show a lot of text or bullet points on one slide consider progressively revealing the text so you can show the text as you need it.

Limit Effects and Transitions

Microsoft® PowerPoint and similar programs come with the ability to create a lot of interesting effects and transitions. However sometimes this can suggest that your content is so tedious that you need something to snap your audience out of their disinterest. It is best to use these effects very subtilely, as they often do little to enhance the audience experience. Subtlety and consistency are key with slide animations and transitions.

Use Quality Photography and Graphics

Simple, punchy photographs are great for presentations. They help support what you are saying without drawing focus away from your words. Your photos can be metaphorical or something more literal, but it should be clear as to why the audience is looking at it, and why it’s paired with what you’re saying. You can take your own or use stock photos but be mindful of their size. Never stretch a small, low-resolution photo to make it fit your layout. Stretched or pixelated images will make your slides look unprofessional. Also, it is generally best to avoid PowerPoint Clip Art and other cartoonish line art.

Create a Consistent Look and Feel

You need to have a consistent visual theme throughout your presentation. Most templates included in PowerPoint have been seen by your audience countless times and often times are not that attractive to begin with.

Creating a new slide template that reflects your company’s current collateral look is a good place to start. Make sure you use related typography, colors, and imagery treatments thoughout your slides. But be careful though, too much consistency can be boring. You don’t want every slide to be identical. Using topic transition slides is a good way to break up the monotony. They can feel part of the same family but also give the presentation texture and are great for giving the audience visual cues. 

Use Appropriate Charts

When using charts try to keep them consistent with the look you’ve created throughout your presentation. Dropping in a chart that doesn’t match the look of your presentation can disrupt the look and feel. Consider recreating charts to match the colors, typography, and style of your slides. You can also take that time to simplify a chart to its clearest form. That way there is nothing extra shown that will take away from what you are saying.


Look At The Slides as a Whole

Spend time in the slide sorter. Viewing your presentation all together will show you how it flows. In this view you may decide to break up or condense slides to create a more natural and logical flow. You might notice some extraneous pieces of data that can be removed to increase clarity and improve communication.


There is a lot of thought that goes into creating an effective PowerPoint. Our portfolio has some great examples of PowerPoint slide designs to inspire you. Contact Digital Canvas today, we’d be happy to guide you though the process.