In my “Create an Outstanding Presentation” workshops and self-study course, I teach four layouts that always look good. I taught them again recently in a presentation skills class for college students.
I find that many presenters who create their own slides struggle with slide design. Not being artists, their efforts are clunky. They usually know this, but don’t know what to do about it.
In March, I’ll be giving a training webinar, Slide Design for Non-Designers, that will provide many more solutions that anyone, even the artistically challenged (like me!), can use.
But until then, I thought I’d give you two layouts that always look good. They’re easy to create, too.
Many people use this layout, which I call “everything centered on top of everything else.” The default template seems to encourage centering everything. It’s certainly not horrible, but I think you’ll see that it can be improved.
Here’s an alternative. The heading is on the left, which I recommend for a couple of reasons. (See the Related Tips section below.) The image covers the slide from left to right. Part of the reason this slide looks better is that the image is larger. But it’s more than that; there’s a more pleasing balance. Your eye starts at the upper left and travels diagonally.
Garr Reynolds calls this an “asymmetrical design” in his book Presentationzen. He says, “symmetrical designs are more static than asymmetrical designs and evoke feelings of formality or stability.” If you have his book, look on p. 149 for an example of both types of designs.
A second look is what I call the vertical split. If you have Photoshop skills, you could make the transition more gradual with a transparency gradient, but this isn’t necessary.
Usually, I make the split even, but here the image takes up about 60% of the slide’s width.
You can watch me makeover a text slide into 4 slides in this YouTube video, One Point on a Slide. You’ll see how I create these two layouts.
Take some time to try out layout variations and I believe that you’ll see a vast improvement in the way your slides look and feel.