Part of my job, as a senior presentation designer here at Eyeful, is to create visually impactful slides to aid the presenter as they take their audience on a journey that should follow a clear pathway. In this guise, we see a recurring issue darkening our doors more than you can ever imagine - the overloading of slides with content, along with a lack of brand and visual consistency.
I find myself time and time again explaining that empty space is not a waste of screen real-estate. In fact, it’s a very important way of allowing your content to breathe.
In the design world, it has a term called whitespace but it doesn’t have to be white. It’s basically any space around the different elements on your slides that provides a visual breathing room, looks clean on the eye and digestible for the brain. So, rather than panic about the number of slides, let the content and message dictate this by how the content is grouped and how best the audience will understand that information. Ask yourself a question - could those ten slides work better as twenty slides instead?
Which brings us to the importance of consistency in terms of repetition, alignment and proximity, and not forgetting colours, fonts, icons, image styles, animations/transitions etc.
All of these brand elements and design principles need to be consistent to let the message and the primary slide content come to the fore and be clearly understood by the audience.
If I was to give an analogy, I could compare it to the creative world of improvised jazz music. When a musician comes to the fore and has a blistering solo, the other members of the band keep the familiarity flowing with the rhythm and groove of the music to give the foundation for the soloist to prominently and individually perform a unique part of improvised playing. The grounding of familiarity and consistency from the rest of the band keeps the audience comfortable while the solo demands attention in a very engaging and creative way.
Apply this same theory to presentation design where the logo placement, header/footer, fonts, colours, shapes and all the other elements need to have great consistency. It’s with this blend of repetition and consistency that you can really showcase the individual visuals on the slides in an unrestrictive way that help resonate the message and story using visual hierarchy and creativity.
Please remember that simplicity in design is not simple design.
Keeping the basic elements consistent frees up the space to be creative and impactful. This is what I personally love about presentation design - it doesn’t have to be tedious; each presentation gives it’s own unique opportunity to design something bespoke and influential. A foundation of professional, unified and on-brand consistency with added creative flourishes will really help your message resonate with your audience.
So think 'jazz' when designing slides - get the basics in the flow and let your content steal the show.