Jul 2, 2018

What makes your slide look good? {Examples inside}

David Ogilvy, the father of advertising, in his book ‘Ogilvy on Advertising’ writes, “When I write an advertisement, I don’t want you to tell me that you find it creative. I want you to find it so interesting that you buy the product.”

Design should not draw too much attention towards itself. And design is not to impress. Our slides help us communicate the message quickly and powerfully. Garr Reynolds, the author of Presentation Zen says, “Projected slides should be as visual as possible and support your points quickly, efficiently and powerfully.” Let us look some slides sourced from the internet (public sources).


Don’t you think there is too much going on in this slide. There is too much ‘design’ that is actually hurting the audience experience. I have improved this slide. Below is the new improved slide.

Suddenly it feels clean and nice. What did we remove? We removed all design elements which add no value. The blue oval for each bullet point, the orange arrow, the box for each bullet and the abundance of colours. We also added a strong and stable header to the slide. A good header is like a good foundation. The blue header along with the blue line at the bottom hold the slide together.

Here is my improvement 2.0. This slide looks even better because it is visual. We have very few words on the slide, and this creates lots of empty space (designers call it white space). The more the empty space, the better the slide becomes. Empty space increases the visual power of what’s there on the slide (images and words).

Let us look at Rajan Anandan's slide from Google for India event in 2017. Rajan Anandan is the Vice President, South East Asia and India. Notice the empty space, less words and a visual cue (the phone icon). To see more of this awesome slides read 17 Impressive Slides from 'Google for India' Keynote 2017.


Now look at the slides of a very famous entrepreneur of our times, Elon Musk. He was presenting at an event where SolarCity was launching its solar tiles for roofs.


This is a good clean slide. The text and the image support the main message that Elon Musk is talking about (Global warming is a serious crisis and global carbon dioxide is reaching record levels). He follows this up with another slide.


This provides the proof that the audience wants. No extra words, just a simple chart which has shot up I recent decades (notice the jump in carbon dioxide levels between 1950 and today).


Elon Musk also launched Tesla Powerwall 2 in this event. The Powerwall stores solar energy generated from your solar panels to be used at night. This slide is quite neat too. Click here to read more his style: Elon Musk starts every Product Launch presentation this way


Here is Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, giving a keynote address at the Google I/O 2018. His slides are simple, clean and devoid of clutter and excess colours. Look at one more slide from Sundar Pichai’s keynote.


He has a headline, a sub-headline and four icons (instead of four bullet points). He has used just one font, four simple icons for visual cues and a light grey background. This is what makes a slide simple and clean.

Slides are not meant to impress the audience. They are meant to help you simplify your message and create impact. Design clean and simple slides.