PowerPoint Design Principles

What I’ve Been Reading:


A few months back, I gave a presentation on Moodle to the teachers in my school. In this post, I’m going to look back at that presentation and evaluate it using some of the guidelines Reynolds gives us in the two articles above.

Note to Self:
Insert link here to presentation.
Here’s a link to the presentation.
In fact, no, I’m going to embed it.
Nope, not working. Here’s a link to the presentation.

Don’t use templates.
This is one of the first tips he gives us.

But what does this mean? What exactly is a template? I did use a built-in style on this presentation – does that count as a template?

Well, after playing around with PowerPoint, I discovered that templates aren’t styles and styles aren’t templates.

It appears that templates are ready to go presentations – all you need to do is add the content and delete the slides you don’t need.

So, for the time being, my presentation’s in the clear.

Enjoying the Sunshine

Don’t make the text difficult to read.
Well, this is one guideline that I think my presentation follows pretty well.

I’m pretty sure it was back in university that I learnt about the importance of contrast in interface design – colour contrast is what I mean. And ever since then it’s been a design principle I think about when creating basically anything on the computer.

The contrast of the bright orange and white against the dark grey would have been one of the major reasons I chose this particular style.

Avoid three-dimensional charts.
My presentation doesn’t have any three-dimensional charts. In fact, it doesn’t have any pictures at all. None. Just text. I’m wondering what Reynolds’ take on this would be?

I have a feeling that good presentations, just like good blog posts, should always have a couple of images to break up the text.

But what if you can’t find any good images? Is a presentation with no images better than a presentation with poor images?

Anyway, it’s something to remember for next time.

Use declarative sentences at the top of each slide.
This is something I definitely didn’t do.

The fourth slide in the presentation has the title “Facts and Figures” (not the most creative title I know) and deals with the usage statistics of Moodle.

A more appropriate title for the slide might have been something like “49,952 schools and companies are using Moodle.”

Again, something to remember for next time.

Image Credits:

3 thoughts on “PowerPoint Design Principles

  1. Hey Jamie,
    Enjoyed your post and reflection on your presentation. I found it kind of fun as well to look back and reflect on the presentations I have given in the recent past and compare them to Garr’s “standards”. The “avoid 3-D charts” one was a fun one for me, as I hadn’t really given much thought to using 3-D graphics in my presentations.

    The main thing I got from Garr was to make it visually simple and I like that, as I did have a tendency to try and squeeze as much info out of each slide as possible. The handout idea at the end of the presentation with lots of details was an excellent idea, something I will put into use in the future. Would you see yourself using handouts in the future to allow for your slides to be more visual?

    Great post!

  2. Hi David

    Yeah, the handout idea is a good one. It’s something I’ll need to start doing for my next presentation.

    And, yeah, as you mentioned, this would also allow me to make my presentations more visual.

    I like Garr’s idea (I think it’s his idea) of using a monochrome image for the background.

    Thanks for the comment!

  3. So, did you revise the presentation? One of the key points of all of Garr’s work is that each slide should be image based, to tell a story. I notice that you reflected above that your presentation is entirely text based. Perhaps this an area to consider? It would be great to see your presentation revised with the design principals of visual literacy that we’ve been learning about.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s