Presentation slide design has two components:

  1. The visual concept of the slide
  2. The look and feel of the slide

Number 1 can be hard, hard enough that professional presentation designers like me can make a living out of helping out clients to do just that.

Number 2, the look and feel, is a lot easier to solve, and yet people get it wrong so many times:

  • Times Roman (or even Comic Sans) fonts
  • Standard Microsoft Office 2010/2011 colours (later versions of PowerPoint actually look OK)
  • Low resolution, cheesy images yanked from Google image search full of copy right issues
  • Three levels of bullet points (dots, dashes, stars) in different font sizes
  • Clip art

Here is a simple observation: you come across they way you look. So, if you want to come across as a successful startup:


Slides that are poorly designed, contain too much text, and use the wrong visual concepts, still can look calm and professional when the basics of layouts, fonts, colours are sorted. Most slides in Apple presentations consist of a large picture of a piece of hardware with 2-3 short sentences/words. It all looks great.

It is hard to copy a design style of someone else. You often start out great, but bit by bit your own style creeps back in. You look at your effort, you look at your example, and somehow the example looks good and yours does not. You need to stick to your example. Fonts, positioning of headlines, text, images, everything. It is a similar effect when you see a small child trying to draw a 3D house. It does not come out right because does not have the courage to simply follow what you see: lines disappearing in a vanishing point, sometimes at extreme angles. It does not match with the child's perception of reality where everything is supposed to be straight.

In my presentation design app SlideMagic I tried to do the look & feel bit for you. Upload your logo, pick a matching accent colour, and you can't go wrong with the look & feel.

Art: Georges Seurat, The Models, 1888

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