For some reason, I find myself designing more complicated, busy slides recently. Busy does not mean more text and bullet points. Busy means showing complex arguments in diagrams: boxes that overlap, are interwoven, move from one into the next.

My guess there are a number of potential reasons:

  1. My presentations are mostly investor decks, and the most important use of my slides is actually the moment when the recipient opens and reads them on the computer. The standup presentation that follows (if the first screening was successful), is almost a formality in terms of slide content, it is more about having the opportunity to get the know the people behind the slides.
  2. Misuse of cliche stock images or forced visual analogies have started to make people tired of certain big picture slides. "Oh, it's going to be this type of presentation, let's page down to the meat quickly".
  3. Larger, and higher resolution screens create a temptation to design more complicated slides (thinner fonts, thinner lines, more subtle colour shadings). Today, these slides even look great on a retina iPad. (Old crappy VGA projects are a different story though).
  4. Big, page filling image slides, are actually not that hard to make and this might be a segment of work that gets done more and more in-house.

So, not a return to crammed bullet points, but diagrams lifted to a higher level.