Now and then I encounter a PowerPoint presentation at a client which is clearly the work of a designer who comes from the world of Adobe / brochures / infographics. Here are the differences with my style:

  • Often, an incredibly spectacular opening slides (sometimes 2-3), lots of detailed artwork, lots of time invested. Serious designers with powerful graphics design tool out-design me easily.
  • But after a few pages, the design quality drops of, and you can see that these slides are created rather last minute, in a back and forth between the executive and the designer. Maybe there is the occasional icon, but most of it is text bullet points, which are formatted by a professional.
  • Usually PowerPoint's template functions are ignored, guides, color schemes, defaults, making it very hard for anyone but the designer to add/change slides. "Insert new slide" gets you a blank standard PowerPoint page with nested bullets
  • Heavy use of custom fonts, looking way better than the standard PowerPoint fonts, but they cause issues when displaying the file on other computers without them. Versions of old presentations usually continue to live through the organization without people even realizing that their headlines show in Arial rather than the intended font
  • Massive file sizes as the images are kept in at their highest resolution

Business presentation design is a blend of practicing good design, and making compromises to deal with the practicality of working with lots of non-designers. Being able to deal with frequent changes, keeping design standards up (also on page 5 to 20), and making sure that everyone can make decent looking edits in the presentation.

I am sure that Adobe Illustrator designers can write a similar post about PowerPoint designers trying to edit a basic vector illustration...

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