Often, clients come to us with a request to improve the current PowerPoint template they’re using or to create a new one that better conveys their company's brand and image. Most companies put a great deal of thought, planning and funds toward their company’s branding, but often the PowerPoint templates slip under the radar.
We frequently see companies who have great collateral materials, but whose presentation templates are substandard to these other materials and, frankly, seem just kind of slapped together (or pulled right out of Microsoft's standard library.)
Here are some steps to follow to get on track with your presentation template.
Begin by asking some questions, such as:
- What fonts and colors does your company use on its other materials?
- Is the presentation most often given in a dark or light setting? (so we know whether to design using a dark or light background.)
- What emotional sense do you wish the design to convey? i.e., high energy, technical and precise, calm, traditional and conservative, creative...
Today we'll share with you the process we used to design a template for a Minneapolis-based client, Strategic People Development.
First, we looked at the current template and discussed how it’s used. We discovered that most often, this presenter is speaking to a group in a conference room with the lights on, so we decided the new template should have a light background vs. a dark one. Unless you know for certain your presentation will be shown in a darkened room, your best option is to go with a light background.
Our approach with this template was to first incorporate her logo, and add a “people” element to the template. We also chose to incorporate some of the graphical elements from the logo onto the title master. The “people” art was created in PhotoShop, exported as jpeg files and then brought to PowerPoint on the slide masters. Because the graphical elements developed from the logo needed to have a transparent background (and not show up in a white box) those elements were saved from Photoshop as .png files and imported to PowerPoint.
Usability, Not Just for Websites!
Have you ever had to create a slide, and struggled to get it to fit on the background you were working with? Another important thing to remember when designing a template is to keep it flexible. So when designing the layout of a slide master, we usually incorporate two or more options. (See below.) Sometimes template designs have a tendency to take up too much “valuable real estate” on a slide, which makes it look like the design is more important than the information on the slide. Make sure your template has options so that the data needed on the slide fits nicely without competing with the template design. Give the user options for layouts, depending on what needs to be included on the slide.
Above are the 3 options created for slide masters
Below is the title slide of the presentation.
By creating a template with options for slide layouts, we are able to give our presenter choices for how data is put on her slides. That flexibility will help ensure the visuals she uses while presenting will help the audience understand and remember her message! And that, my fellow presenters, is the goal of PowerPoint.