Business presentation design requirers a combination of skills:
- Content story: the strategy consultant. Somehow all the raw material, content need to be in place. All in a logical order, no holes, no overlaps, all the items of check list need to be ticked off: need/problem, solution, market, competitors, business model, financials, etc. etc.
- Slide layout: the designer. Colours, fonts, look and feel, white space, layout, image cropping/scaling/positioning, diagramming.
- Data visualisation: the strategy consultant. Challenge one: pick the right message you want to emphasise from the thousands of options that a data set gives you. Challenge two: actually emphasise it with the right chart, the right colours, the right rounding.
- Pitch story: the movie director. Now take all the structured, analytical, and boring base material, and turn it into an exciting, emotional, convincing 20 minute pitch. (Note the difference between content story and pitch story)
- Outside reality check: seasoned business executive. What are the weaknesses in the story, what are the difficult (and/or obvious) questions the audience will ask, what elements of the story are totally obvious?
I was trained in 1 and 3, got 5 through the years, taught myself 2 (clean, good enough, but not at the level of a master illustrator), and trying my best at 4.
Many professional designers in the market will lack 1, 3, and 5: but they will still do fabulous work on presentations that have less hard core business content.
Many corporate executives lack 2, 3, and 4. They also will have trouble with number 5: being able to look at their story from a true outside perspective.
Management consultants lack 2 and 4.