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Presentation in 60 Minutes: Quick Design Basics

by Mary Ivanova

Presentation in 60 Minutes Quick Design Basics

Ever been in a situation where your client wants a visual pitch for your product, service or business idea right now, and all you got is a concept hastily scribbled on a napkin? You might even have a few spreadsheets filled with data and market research you swear you put somewhere in one of these folders just yesterday, but what you most certainly don’t have is that visually complete, simple yet mesmerizing layout of your core points that makes your whole idea feel nothing short of exceptional.

What to do? You’ve heard it all before – have something to say, add structure, tell a story, make them laugh. In short – make sense. That goes both for your content and your design. Here are the few basic design rules you might like to apply when designing your presentation.

White space

While it might be a crying shame to let all that white space on your slide go unused, designers insist – allowing for plenty of white space in all your presentation slides is essential for smooth user experience as it ensures your audience knows where to look right away.

“White space creates this perceived vacuum around your central image or piece of information, making it easy to focus and process what you see,” explains Alexey Galyzin, Product Designer at Crello. “The empty space places a buffer between your cluttered immediate environment and your object, serving as a surrogate lightbox,” he continues. “It draws you in.”

Let’s see how we can implement the principle on a presentation slide:

Presentation in 60 Minutes: Quick Design Basics

Repetition

Think about it this way – why do people love poetry? Well, nobody loves poetry anymore, but you know what I’m getting at – it’s just clever how an author is able to force words to function as both the vessel of the actual meaning they are trying to convey and its external decoration. The same principle applies to design. You commit to a set of visual principles you want to apply to your content, say using certain size and color font for headlines, and make it work throughout the whole multi-page thing.

Let’s look at this Candy Shop presentation in Crello templates:

Presentation in 60 Minutes: Quick Design Basics

Despite what it might seem at a glance, this presentation template owes its deliciously unified look not only to the delectable banana cupcakes prominently featured in its title and second slides, but, and markedly so, to the pink side and top panels and single font, size and color of the page numbers for all but the title slides.

So before you do anything else regarding your presentation design, decide on the final look of your headlines, text fonts and colors, as well as decorative slide elements that you will then invariably use throughout the presentation.

Alignment

This one is simple – all the elements on your slide (text, illustrations, logos, headlines, etc.) need to fit on a grid. If you are using a template style for your presentation, make sure you either pick one that fits your content most, or readjust elements of the slide after you add your text and data in a way that preserves the grid:

Presentation in 60 Minutes: Quick Design Basics

Flow

One of the key design principles says elements in proximity to each other appear related. Place related information spatially close to establish pleasing to the eye flow of information. This principle works because when items are grouped together, they are perceived as a category. This makes it easier for your audience to prioritize what information to turn to first.

For example, on the slide below you can instantly spot the three-element list on bottom right and categorize items as related to each other. This structure tricks your brain into thinking it got everything figured out without having to actually absorb and analyze the information in full. Don’t believe us? Look closer at the body of the text in each template – bet you didn’t even notice it’s just gibberish.

Presentation in 60 Minutes: Quick Design Basics

Distinction

When it comes to dividing attention, humans evolved to prioritize change over uniformity as the former pertains to their continued survival in case a change poses a threat. Meaning that if you decide to use a series of unvaried lines of text or images in your presentation, you are more likely to watch your audience doze off than make a sale.

To grab and keep your audience’s attention, ensure that separate elements of your presentation appear and are distinct from each other on each slide. Contrasting colors, sizes and typefaces will establish hierarchy between pieces of presented information.

Presentation in 60 Minutes: Quick Design Basics

In conclusion

Let us know if you’ve managed to meet your deadline, and if you are one of those people who always finish the test first, use the spare time to design a quick business card while you are at it. Here’s mine:

Presentation in 60 Minutes: Quick Design Basics

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