4 Design Tactics to Take Your Deck From Good to Great

October 28, 2013


In order to deliver an all-around memorable experience, great content must be accompanied by great design. My motto is, “Content is King, and design is its Queen.”

Take, for example, these two slides below. Which one grabs your attention more? I’m pretty sure we all agree on the same one. I’ve done this to show that design can allow a person to better experience content. Instead of giving a presentation, you create an experience.

Here are 4 ways to help create that experience with design:

Find Powerful Images

“Images can improve recognition and recall, and images combined with text can make for an even stronger message.” – Garr Reynolds, Presentation Zen Design

Slide A does a good job delivering a simple message about an important subject. However, Slide B’s image allows for the message to be driven home even further by supplementing the text with a powerful image. Keep in mind the image must be applicable. When using photography for your presentation ensure that the image is of the highest quality. Pixelated or irrelevant images can work against conveying your message.

Use Full-Scale Photos

When using photography for presentations, larger and full bleed images allow for more impact. Slide C is a very clean slide, but Slide D uses a full bleed image to convey the same message. Keep in mind that this technique cannot be used for every slide that includes an image. But if there’s a minimal amount of text and the image is high quality, it’s usually a good option to use a full bleed photo.

Select the Right Typeface

When designing your slides, remember to use a typeface that allows for maximum legibility. There might be a typeface that is well designed and unique, but if your audience is not able to read the slide, it will do more harm than good. Slide E has a unique type, but is less legible than the simple sans serif used in Slide F. Slide F also highlights important data to let the reader know what information is the most significant on the slide.

Make Data Visualization Memorable

“Simplicity is a fundamental tenet in all aspects of design and communication. It is especially important concerning the creation and display of quantitative information.” – Garr Reynolds, Presentation Zen Design

When conveying quantitative information to your audience, there are many routes you can take – charts, graphs, etc.  Slide G is a slide that takes Reynold’s notion of simplicity and applies it to a very simple bar chart. This slide’s downfall is the wrong choice of chart. A pie chart would have allowed for the relationship between the data to be better understood. Slide H used photography to allow the reader to better comprehend the data with an image that is more memorable – and applicable.

You don’t want to become dependent on your slides for a presentation; you want them to amplify it. With these guidelines, you can make sure your slides don’t become a crutch. For more design and public speaking tips, check out the rest of our posts, and subscribe to our blog for more information.

About the Author

Kenny Nguyen is the CEO/Founder of Big Fish Presentations, a company that works with clients from the Fortune 100 level to startups, providing high-quality presentation design, training and creative video. Kenny has been featured on popular news outlets such as TEDx, Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, Yahoo!, Business Insider, Mashable, Huffington Post and the Washington Post.