A Non-Designer’s Guide to Creating Visual Presentations
We're not going to discuss how you're supposed to decrease the amount of text in your presentation and just stick with bullet points. You already know that. If you want to make your presentation visual, you minimize the text to only what you need.
Remember that the text is there to reinforce what you're saying. It's not there for you to read.
Now that we've got that out of the way, let's discuss how we can tweak small details of your presentation slides to make them more visual.
Creating a visually appealing presentation is not as hard as you think. There are tons of free slides that can help you get started. You can also turn to these presentation templates if you need inspiration. Tutorials on the basics of design elements can also help.
1. Identify Who Your Audience Is
Knowing your audience will help you decide on what your visuals should be.
Identify the demographics of your audience members. Here are a few things to take into account:
- Educational Level
Knowing these things will help you identify what kind of content they can resonate with. Think of it this way. Will you include memes in a PowerPoint presentation for elderly women? Of course not! They wouldn't even know what a meme is in the first place. Memes wouldn't connect with them, but could be energizing and tension-breaking for your audience if they're younger.
Being able to establish a connection with your audience will help them process the information better. They'll be more attentive to what you're saying and more engaged when you ask questions. If they can connect with your content, they'll have longer attention spans.
2. What Is Your Core Message?
Sometimes while we're in the middle of all the mess, we lose sight of what we need to talk about.
This is why it's helpful to chop your topics into little pieces so your audience can digest them better. Think of it as setting up a full course meal for your viewers.
Here's the catch. These presentations can be lengthy if you've got a lot to talk about. If you need to chop it up, it's a clear indicator that it's long. Your viewers can get lost if you don't remind them where you are in your discussion.
To resolve this, include slides that indicate the progress of the presentation to help your audience get back on track. This also helps set their expectations as to how long the presentation will run.
If you're feeling a little extra, you can include this indicator in a small portion of your slides. Think of it as a small loading bar at the bottom of your presentation.
Adding this small detail to your slide design makes a professional presentation.
3. Colors are your Friend
Colors are a part of visual communication. It helps you communicate with your viewers and grab their attention at the same time. Statistics show that a viewer's attention span is increased by 82% if the visuals contain colors other than black or white. Make sure to utilize this in your presentation.
The Psychology of Colors suggests that each color can bring forth emotions. Here are a few colors and what people associate them with.
- Red - love, passion, power
- Blue - calmness, stability, sadness
- Green - nature, luck, safety
- Yellow - warmth, energy, attention
- Orange - energy, enthusiasm, happiness
- Pink - romance, kindness, nurturing
- White - calmness, innocence, cleanliness
- Brown - security, strength, nature
Use these associations to your advantage whenever you can. If your presentation is targeted towards kids, then use bright colors to make it eye-catching. In contrast, neutral tones will help in business presentations for corporate companies. Colors build an effective presentation.
The right colors will help to keep your audience’s attention intact.
Aside from this, colors can help direct your audience's attention to important parts of your presentation.
You should strategically place important text in colors that pop in contrast to the background. Reserve this technique for parts that you want to emphasize.
It's important to note that you should have a color scheme you'll stick with at the beginning. It will strain the eyes of your viewers if your colors are too contrasting. Go for colors that complement each other. If you need inspiration, look at some pre-made PowerPoint templates. They tend to have good color schemes that you can use in your own work.
4. Use Fonts To Your Advantage
Picking the right font can make or break your presentation deck. Some fonts are not meant to be used for a presentation. This is one of the design elements that most often gets overlooked, but it’s really important.
Take Old English for example. If you were to do a professional presentation for a corporate company and use this font, it might not go well. People will spend more time figuring out what they're looking at instead of listening to you.
Choose a font that suits your presentation. According to the Psychology of Font Types, certain kinds of typography can invoke a particular feeling just like colors do. Here are the font types and what they're associated with:
- Serif - respectable, traditional, reliable, comfort
- Sans Serif - stability, objective, modern, clean
- Modern - strong, progressive, stylish, chic
- Display - friendly, expressive, amusing
- Script - elegance, affectionate, creative
Make sure to choose the appropriate font based on your audience, topic, and event to make it eye-catching. You can also check PowerPoint templates for examples of what kind of fonts to use.
5. Can an Infographic Help?
Using facts help build your credibility. This establishes that you have done your research before coming here and you know what you're talking about.
But let's admit it. Facts can be boring and uninteresting when there are tons of numbers and tables. If I present a slide that is entirely made up of text and numbers, will you take the time to read it?
But what if the data is presented in fun and creative ways? Would you be able to understand it better? Will you be more interested?
Statistics show that the answer is yes. Infographics help boost reading comprehension by up to 50%. Learning and information retention is also increased by 78% when using visuals.
If there's a chance to use infographics in your presentation, do so. If you're talking about different locations, why not use a map and represent them with pinpoints instead? If you're talking about statistics, then use graphs and charts. If you're talking about a series of events, a timeline will do great. If you're analyzing similarities and differences, pie charts are the perfect way to represent the data.
Data visualization helps maintain your audience's attention. But admittedly, there are certain types of data that cannot be effectively represented by an infographic.
When this happens, you can always find icons that can represent your data. But make sure the icons are relevant. You wouldn't want to use an icon for food when you're talking about documents.
Luckily, you can use Vectornator’s feature Iconator to browse a searchable library of over 80k royalty-free vector icons, which can easily be dropped into your presentation.
6. Stock Photos Can Hurt Your Presentation
When you’re trying to find visuals to make your presentation stand out, searching up images in Google can be tempting. All you have to do is type in the name of the topic and tons of photos will come up. Just save the photo, paste it into your presentation, and boom, you're done.
But it's not exactly that simple. Here are a few problems with randomly finding photos on the internet:
- low-quality photos
- unrelated to your topic
Admit it. You've been to one or two presentations where the images are so low quality, you can't see it. Even worse, the images have no connection to the topic whatsoever. This is an example of a less-than-great presentation. Don’t be that person.
This is why it's important to take time to find the right stock photo for your presentation. Here are a few websites where you can get high-quality stock photos for free:
If you want to find Unsplash photos quickly and easily, just use Vectornator! The in-app Unsplash integration allows you to search for relevant photos and drag and drop them right into your presentation!
Making your presentation visual doesn't always mean adding more pictures. It also doesn't mean you bombard it with unnecessary animation. If you overdo these things, it will only make your presentation obnoxious and distracting.
Incorporating these design principles will help elevate your presentation slides. Applying these basic design tips will take your presentation from a boring to an engaging presentation in no time.