Effective Presentation Design

I believe that the way information is presented has a lot to do with how it is received, so learning how to make better presentations should be an important consideration in relaying information. I edit training presentations at my job, so I have been able to see firsthand what works best and what distracts from an otherwise effective presentation. Here are some of my tips:

A Simple Color Scheme

You don’t need to employ the use of the whole rainbow to make your presentation stand out. I’d recommend sticking to two or three colors maximum. Pick colors that complement each other and are not too vivid and distracting.

Pairing Serif with Sans Serif

There’s no reason to use the same font across the whole page. Switch it up! I like to use a serif font (such as Times New Roman) for the title, and use a sans serif font (such as Century Gothic) for the text. Doing this helps increase the contrast between title and text so it is easy for the reader/viewer to distinguish between them.

Less Bullet Points

Generally, bullet points should be used for making lists, but I consistently see them used for everything on a presentation page or slide. There are other ways to make known the importance of something, such as highlighting, bolding, or italicizing (even these should be used sparingly, however). There is nothing wrong with leaving text on a presentation page or slide without bullet points.

Keep it Short

Save the speech for just that—the speech. Refrain from writing everything you’re going to say on the slide or pages of the presentation, and just write brief summaries instead. This keeps the reader/viewer’s focus on you instead of being overwhelmed by massive blocks of text.

Use of Pictures

If you’re going to use pictures, make sure that they are relevant to the presentation and appropriately sized—not so big that they overwhelm the text, but not so small that they are hardly noticeable.


Overall, know that creating a presentation comes second to developing what you’re going to say. If you have an effective speech and follow these few tips, a good presentation will follow.



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