Slide Makeovers: How We Amplified a Bestselling Author's Advice

September 10, 2014

The Ethos3 team and I happen to be really big fans of business author Bernard Marr. He has plenty of useful and helpful decks on SlideShare -- many of them fetching over 100,000 views. No offense to Mr. Marr, but we thought his slides could get even more views with a redesign.

Mr. Marr kindly agreed to let us give 6 Ways NOT to Shake Hands a makeover. It had fetched close to 188,000 at the time of this writing, but the design was a bit predictable with the inclusion of a stock image hand shake on every slide. In this case, the design was not really adding value to the message but rather detracting from it.

Our Task: Give it a presentation facelift. Here is the revised deck (Bernard's original deck starts on slide 13):

Exploit the Theme

For this redesign, we chose to give the deck a consistent theme that matched the fun, semi-humorous content of the deck. The clean stock images used throughout seemed generic and sterile, especially when matched with the fun and informative content. And while the stock handshake photos gave the original deck a sense of a theme, there was no variation in imagery which makes the deck less engaging for the viewer.

Take a Risk

For our take on the deck, we chose fun, playful colors and decided on a somewhat whimsical illustration style. We decided right away to not let ourselves or his content get dominated by generic approaches to presentation design (i.e. stock photos or heavy use of bullets).

Eliminate Where Needed

By cutting down on content, we opened our canvas to add both unique imagery and straight forward content, both of which serve to really emphasize the points Mr. Marr is making.

Capitalize on the Metaphors

We chose to take the illustrations in a metaphorical direction in order to make the content a little more playful, and to give the viewer a unique and memorable image to associate with the content.

Aim for Consistency

By using consistent colors, illustration style and fonts, we’ve given the deck a cohesive theme without sacrificing the uniqueness and creativity that make an impression in a viewer’s mind.

There you have it -- another presentation design makeover. I hope you have been enjoying these case studies. May you find inspiration and encouragement as you begin to rethink how you tackle your decks moving forward.

READ MORE: Slide Makeovers: Buffer's Social Media Guide

Author Bio

Scott Schwertly is the author of How to Be a Presentation God and CEO of Ethos3, a Nashville, TN-based presentation boutique providing professional presentation design and training for national and international clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to branded individuals like Guy Kawasaki. If Scott is not working with his team building presentations, you will find him in the pool, on the bike, or on a long run. Scott lives in Nashville, TN with his wife and three dogs. He has a B.A. and M.B.A. from Harding University. Find Scott on Google+.