Want to learn how to design PowerPoint slides? Great presentations are supported by a good PowerPoint layout. Most PowerPoint graphic design you see is rather invisible. When something is wrong with a slide design, you'll notice.
In this PowerPoint design tutorial, we cover the basics of presentation design. It's a strong way to approach how to make a good PowerPoint presentation design. As you'll notice, subtle details go a long way. You'll learn:
- Visual Hierarchy. We'll look at visual hierarchy and how you can use it effectively.
- Slide Layout. Turning the design principles of visual hierarchy into effective PowerPoint slide designs.
- Typography. Choosing the right typefaces.
- Color. The basics of color theory.
- Details. The extras that make your presentation great.
We'll look at how you can apply all these techniques.
Are you looking to use ready-made presentation designs to shorten the process? I recommend checking out the trending PowerPoint templates on Envato Elements. It can save valuable time when you need to get a beautiful presentation, done quickly. It also takes some of the guess work out of how to design PowerPoint slides.
There are thousands of modern and attractive PowerPoint templates on Envato Elements. There are many more to check out on GraphicRiver too.
Now, let's dive into the principles of design. They are behind a great PowerPoint presentation:
1. Visual Hierarchy
Any type of design starts with visual hierarchy. What exactly is visual hierarchy? This refers to the arrangement of elements in a way that it implies importance. You can influence how we perceive what we see with contrast.
The theory of visual hierarchy helps you define the structure of your PPT design slides. Good visual hierarchy assures that the right elements are catching your attention.
You can achieve visual hierarchy through several design techniques:
- Use contrasting colors to make certain elements stand out more.
- Play with the size of text or photos to make something stand out more than something else.
The above concepts are known as adding visual weight to an element. How does this work in practice? How does this help us learn how to design PPT slides?
Below, you see two slides with exactly the same copy. One's got no visual hierarchy applied. The other one uses simple color and typography. You'll learn more about later. It is used to apply visual weight.
Remember, some content will appear more important than other content. That's correct use of visual hierarchy. This is a principle you should use to your advantage. Ask yourself what needs to stand out in your presentation.
You're giving a financial presentation. You want your audience to recall that the third quarter performed poorly and why.
It's unrealistic is to believe your audience will recall exact data. A presentation gives a lot of information in a short time span. Unfortunately, the attention of people is quite brief. Focus on key messages and use visual hierarchy to make those ideas stick out.
2. Slide Layout Design
You can apply visual hierarchy to create effective PowerPoint slide designs. It's one of the corner stones of how to make a good PowerPoint design.
The trick is to understand what the most important message is. Through PowerPoint design principles, that this will be the content that people remember.
This goes further than just designing one slide. For example, you might have a few slides in a row about the same topic. But the final slide with the conclusion could be the slide to add that extra visual weight. For example, by adding an image for the first time or making the text bigger as usual. This is applying visual hierarchy to your slide layouts as well.
One of the most effective presentation design tricks to apply is that less is more, in most cases. When you've got key statistics, the following method helps:
- First, display the graph (or all the statistics) that display the context of the key number.
- Display the key percentage on a single slide. Try this without any further elements. Use this as a follow-up to make people pay attention to this number.
This is known as letting your design (and content) breathe. The idea you should keep in mind is that you should try and give your content (and thus your design) a hidden order.
Repetition is another trick to help you emphasize a key message. For example, try displaying a graph. Then try an individual statistic on two separate slides. This is a good example of effective repetition.
If you're looking for some inspiration for slide layouts, look at this collection of PowerPoint templates. Or dive into this curated selection of trending PPT presentation designs:
- Microsoft PowerPoint40 Awesome PowerPoint Templates (With Cool PPT Presentation Designs 2021)Sean Hodge
We can't discuss how to design PPT slides without talking about type. The right choice of typography goes a long way. It can really improve the design of your PowerPoint presentation.
A general lesson is this: good fonts are invisible. Bad typography choices are noticed straight away. For example, if your whole presentation has Comic Sans as a font choice, people will notice. When you notice a font, it's often because the legibility of the font is quite poor. If something is difficult to read, it requires much more attention from your audience.
Traditional font choices are often the best to use for PowerPoint presentation design. Stick to Helvetica, Arial or Gill Sans, for example. Use the regular version for your body text and use the bold version for your title. Make your font size big enough to ensure readability (eg. 18pt) and make titles bigger (eg. 34pt).
It's also possible to mix fonts. When you're just starting out, I'd recommend keeping things simple. If you're curious, you could always try to search for good font combinations.
If you're intrigued by typography, there are plenty online resources to help you. I personally enjoy Typewolf, for example.
The simple rule for typography is that solid typography goes unnoticed. Unnoticed typography means it's legible. Of course, typography is a way to customize a design and make presentations much more unique. But, when starting out, I recommend sticking to the basics.
Something else to think about is how much text you use on your slides. It's rarely useful to write down full sentences in presentations. It's much better to use bullet lists of key facts. Make sure that people are paying attention to you while you're giving your presentation. Remember our 'Improving our marketing' slide? Let's clean that one up so you'll notice the difference.
Color is an essential part of how to design a PPT slide. But color is a complex topic. A good understanding of the basics goes a long way. Understand that colors express a certain feeling, much like photography. Brighter, more vibrant colors often come across more playful. Darker colors often feel a little cooler (and more professional).
Notice how in the colors in this PowerPoint template are playful and creative. If you dig further into the PPT download, there are some simple minimal slides and a darker set to work with as well.
The colors of your presentation design depend on the context. If you're making a professional presentation, you'll likely work with the colors of your brand. That makes presentation design much easier. I recommend sticking to brand colors instead of experimenting.
In other cases, you might have to choose colors from scratch. In that case, don't panic yet.
Looking for a quick trick? Try working with a single primary color (take blue for example). Then, work with greys as supporting colors (whites, greys, blacks). Use one or two colors. Keep the rest simple. Again, take a look at our marketing slide above for a good example!
If you're a little more daring, you can learn more about color theory. You could try complementary and contrasting colors, for example.
An easy way to get started with color is to use a resource such as Adobe Color. By browsing the 'Explore' section, you can discover wonderful color palettes. Another way to see some nice palettes is to use design sites as Dribbble or Behance. See what colors are being used as inspiration.
You'd be surprised how some subtle elements can pack a lot of punch. They can really improve your presentation visually. Think about these important details:
A presentation wouldn't be complete without the use of photography. Photography is the easiest way to improve your PowerPoint presentation. A simple trick to improve the design of your presentation is to use high-quality stock photography. You can find thousands of gorgeous professional stock photos on Envato Elements.
Using premium stock photos such as those found on Envato Elements means your presentation will be unique. You won't be using the same old stock photography everyone else is using. You can find photos that match your brand. You can also find photos of landscapes, city or coffee vibes, office settings, and much more.
Or, if the budget is tight, consider using images from Unsplash. It's got free-to-use gorgeous photography. It feels much different from imagery used on other free stock websites.
Another simple way to visually enhance your presentation is to use icons. Icons are great to use when you've got little text in your presentation and don't want to use photography.
Ideally, you use icons from a single icon kit. This assures that all icons do have the same style. What's excellent is that a lot of PowerPoint themes you can buy include an icon kit. If not, you can find icon kits online on marketplaces like Envato Elements or GraphicRiver.
When working with data, adding some type of chart can help in your presentation.
Charts as a design element are something to pay attention to, as it's easy to overwhelm your audience with a bunch of data. Here are some thoughts about using charts to your advantage:
- Don't use too many charts. Rather use them sparingly and only when they add value to what you've got to say.
- Make sure that the data is easily legible. This, by avoiding fancy animations or unnecessary 3D design for example.
- Have a follow-up slide explaining the key takeaway of your chart.
Learn more about how to create charts in this PowerPoint design tutorial:
Discover more helpful infographic and data-driven PowerPoint presentation design templates:
- Microsoft PowerPoint35 Best Infographic PowerPoint Presentation Templates: With Great PPT Data Slides 2022Sean Hodge
If possible, adding some multimedia to your presentation can help in many ways. First, it makes your presentation feel interactive. An interactive element can help you explain what words and pictures can't. But don't forget what we've learned about how to make a good PowerPoint design. Fundamentals come before distracting extras.
Let's use a mobile app as an example. Displaying a video demo might be an intriguing option. You could show off features that way.
Transitions and Animations
When thinking on how to design a PPT slide, you might consider animations. Transitions are often added to PowerPoint design elements.
The above is a little tricky. It's very easy to overdo animations and transitions. It can distract your audience. A good rule is that 80% of your presentation doesn't really need a transition or animation.
Only use transitions and animations where it matters. Use them to help your audience remember what you're saying. The principles of visual hierarchy apply here as well.
Want to learn more about how to use animations in your PowerPoint presentation designs? Check out this PowerPoint design tutorial:
- Microsoft PowerPoint10 Simple PowerPoint PPT Animation Tips and Tricks for 2021 (+Video)Sven Lenaerts
How to Follow a Good PowerPoint Design Principles
So, let's use what we learned about how to design a PowerPoint presentation. We'll dive into how you can apply all the lessons above while working on a PowerPoint presentation design:
Step 1. Plan Your Content Before the Design
Before you start working on the design of your PPT slides, think about your content. Consider your key messages. Ask yourself what your audience should remember after seeing your presentation. That's a big part of effective PowerPoint design.
Optimize your slides to support those key messages. Make sure that your content and your key message stands out. That's where all the above PowerPoint graphic design advice kicks in.
In summary, start with your key message. The opportunity to design will follow. Learn more about the presentation writing process in this PowerPoint design tutorial:
- PresentationsHow to Write a Professional PowerPoint Presentation (Discover the Writing Process)Brad Smith
Step 2. Now Begin With Presentation Design Basics
Once you've got your content is figured out, next you should define what the foundations of your slide design should be. Remember, this is a big part of how to make a good PowerPoint presentation design.
This is defined by your selection of color and typography. Pick a primary color and a font you'd like to work with and you're off for a good start.
Step 3. Collect Your Photography
You'll likely use some sort of photography (or other imagery) in your presentation. Start collecting images you like. Select them for your PowerPoint presentation once you start designing.
After you're all set with the above, start with the actual design.
Step 4. Define Your Slide Layout(s)
Finally, it's time to work on the layout of each individual slide. It's not necessary to create a unique layout for each slide, but some variety helps. Good PowerPoint design finds a balance. For a presentation of about 20 slides, I work on about six to eight layouts. I'll use them throughout my PowerPoint presentation design. For this presentation, for example, I've designed three layouts. You can see them below for some inspiration:
A layout can be quite simple. For example, a simple title with a subtitle or a slide containing a photo. Or a layout can be complex. For example, combining some bullet points and a graph. A well designed PowerPoint is strategically designed.
The trick is to create enough layouts. Pay attention to the design of the slide layout individually.
Once you've designed all layouts, put your PowerPoint design together and see how your presentation flows. Make sure to practice your presentation at least once! Then, fine-tune your design and finish your presentation!
How to Quickly Design Great Slides in PowerPoint With PPT Templates
Let’s work with a basic presentation. We can quickly turn it into a standout PowerPoint graphic design example. We'll use the help of a professional PPT template.
I’ve designed a very basic presentation in PowerPoint that consists of five slides:
- title slide
- about slide
- product slide
- picture and text slide
- text slide
I’ll be using this PowerPoint template. We'll customize the design of the basic presentation.
Download the template above or follow along with your favorite premium template. These PowerPoint graphic design concepts will apply to any design. Let's get started:
Step 1. Find Slides You Want To Use
The first step in the process is to find the slides you want to use to customize the template. The easiest way to do this is to switch to the Slide Sorter view. Delete any slides you don’t want by clicking to select them. Then, right-click on those slides and select Delete.
Step 2. Customize Your Title Slide
The title slide is one of the most important slides in your presentation. When done right, it can pique the interest of your audience so it’s a good idea to make sure it captures their attention. As you can see from the screenshot below, my original slide uses a simple underlined title.
I’ve customized the title slide so it includes a full-width photo. I’ve also changed the fonts. The result makes the slide title look more polished and professional.
Step 3. Layer Text and Images
Your presentation will have a variety of different slides. Some slides might be purely text based. Others might have a combination of text and images. Get creative and experiment with layering text over images.
This template makes it easy to experiment. I’ve made it more visually interesting by playing with the text layout. I've also layered text over images.
Step 4. Break Away From the Grid
Chances are, you might use many photos on one slide. But that doesn’t mean you've got to place them side by side.
Break away from the grid and place images in different positions. You can also break them apart with text. Your slides will be more interesting this way. That means your audience will be more engaged throughout the presentation.
As you can see, I had a basic, grid-based slide with two images side by side.
Here, I’ve made the product slide more interesting and engaging. Simply add some text between the images.
Step 5. Spice Up Text With Icons
Another way to spice up your text-based slides is to use icons. Icons are great visual cues that help us visualize important points. In the example below, I’ve used a text-based slide with a simple title and a plain bulleted list.
I’ve made this slide more engaging by adding icons instead of bullet points. I've also tried rearranging the text to fit more points onto one slide.
5 Best PowerPoint Presentation Design Templates (for 2021)
A premade PowerPoint template is a great time saver. You can find plenty of PowerPoint templates over on Envato Elements.
Each of the PowerPoint templates features an attractive design. They come with premade slides. Many also include extra elements such as charts, icons, and graphs. It'll be an invaluable resource and help you make an effective slide design.
Take a look at the best PowerPoint presentation design templates from Envato Elements.
The Nextar template has a modern and trendy graphic design for PowerPoint. It comes with 30 unique slides and three premade color schemes. The template is versatile enough to be used in business or corporate presentations as well as webinars, pitch decks, and more. On top of that, the template's got image placeholders so all you've got to do is drag and drop in your images.
The Brusher template is a trendy PowerPoint template. It’s a great choice if you’re looking to enhance your PowerPoint presentations with graphics. The template features bold brush strokes. You'll also get 120+ slides and five premade color schemes. It also includes image placeholders and creative illustrations.
Try this template if you like a minimalist design style. This template is perfect for small businesses that want a clean presentation look. The template includes over 20 premade color schemes and 84 individual slides. The slides are animated, and you'll also get custom icons that you can use to improve your PowerPoint presentation.
Consider this template if you want to use photos in your presentation design. The template includes image placeholders. You can easily replace them with your own photos. The template comes with a custom icon pack. It also has 35 premade slides as well as over 50 color schemes.
This template features a bold and modern design. It's perfect for startups as well as established corporations. The template comes with 20 master slides. You'll also get matching charts, diagrams, tables, and other data visualization elements. This template is a perfect choice if you want to quickly design a PowerPoint presentation.
Find more great PowerPoint presentation design templates in this article:
Discover More Great PowerPoint Templates
The templates above are just a small sample of what’s available on our marketplaces in terms of PowerPoint templates. To see even more great PowerPoint designs, check out the articles below:
- Microsoft PowerPoint25+ Best Fully-Customizable PowerPoint Templates (Make Custom PPTs 2021)Brenda Barron
- Business25 Best Sales PowerPoint Templates (PPT Presentation Examples for 2022)Sarah Joy
- Microsoft PowerPoint25 Best PowerPoint Slide Design Templates (PPT Downloads for 2021) + VideoAndrew Childress
5 Top Trends in PowerPoint Graphic Design
As you explore how to design in PowerPoint, you might wonder which aesthetic is best. PowerPoint design principles are in this article. But good PowerPoint design also requires sensitivity to your objectives. PowerPoint design elements should make sense. A good PowerPoint layout that looks great but doesn't relate won't succeed.
A well designed PowerPoint uses design principles to communicate. That's what makes an effective PowerPoint design. It looks good. It works well. It connects to the material. Consider how to design a PowerPoint presentation from this perspective.
Check out these design trends. They each use PowerPoint design principles in their own, strategic way.
1. Use Color as a Consistent, Anchoring Element
It's a great idea to have variety, from slide to slide. This keeps things interesting. But too much variety can look chaotic. Color can act as a consistent element in our presentation.
Take a look at this premium PowerPoint template, below. Each slide layout varies quite a bit. One of the elements they all have in common is this bright, yellow color. It helps keep them looking like one, related presentation.
2. Visually Communicate Ideas With Infographics
Infographics are both trendy and a smart choice. It's one thing to hear facts. It's another to actually see them. Conveying data in more than one way can help with retention rates. It can also help further communicate the overall message behind the data.
There's so many creative ways you can use infographics too. Use them for statistics. Try infographics for timelines and progress reports.
3. Experiment With Abstract Shapes
Abstract shapes have been quite trendy in PowerPoint template design. They work well in many different aesthetics too. This premium PowerPoint template uses bouncy, playful shapes. When paired with these muted colors, it makes for a friendly design.
Abstract shapes also lend to make for a versatile aesthetic. The neutrality of abstract backgrounds and designs can work in so many scenarios.
4. Let Beautiful Photography Do the Talking
Large, high quality photos can be really communicative. This is particularly effective if you're sharing product photos or a portfolio. If your presentation or business is heavily reliant on visuals, consider pushing the photography.
Keep in mind that your PowerPoint design elements shouldn't fight for attention. If the photo is the emphasis, then the other elements should support that. This means a large photo might warrant smaller text, for example.
5. Try a Dark, High Contrast Aesthetic
Dark PowerPoint themes can be really trendy too. Doesn't this premium PowerPoint presentation look cool? Themes like this could be particularly well received in technology industries. There's a lot of potential for high energy and high contrast in an aesthetic like this one too.
Make sure to keep an eye out for readability in this aesthetic. Too much contrast can be hard on the eyes. Check to make sure your content is easily legible for your audience.
The Best Well Designed PowerPoint Templates in 2021 (Envato Elements vs GraphicRiver)
There are so many good PowerPoint design templates on both Envato Elements and GraphicRiver. Both of them are an outstanding source for good PowerPoint layout design. But which one is best for your needs?
1. Key Benefits of Envato Elements
Envato Elements is a great choice if you're looking for a lot of content. One subscription gets you access to an entire library of content. You get unlimited downloads.
That means you can download as many PowerPoint design elements as you need. Download fonts, stock photos, graphics, and more. There's also thousands of PowerPoint templates to choose from. With unlimited downloads, you can download everything you need in one place, for one price.
2. Key Benefits of GraphicRiver & Envato Market
GraphicRiver is a great choice if you're looking for a single file or single download. Choose from thousands of professionally designed assets. Only download what you need. Only pay for what you need.
Head to GraphicRiver and check out the huge selection of PowerPoint design templates. There are many good PowerPoint layout designs to choose from.
Which One's Right for You?
If you use a lot of assets, Envato Elements is a great choice. You can get everything you need in one place, for one price. Sign up for Envato Elements today, and take advantage of unlimited downloads.
Or, if you prefer single downloads, head over to GraphicRiver. It's easy to find what you need and download now. Download your perfect PowerPoint design template today.
Common PowerPoint Questions Answered (FAQ)
As you explore how to design PowerPoint slides, questions may arise. Take a look at these answers to commonly asked design questions:
1. What's the Best Look for My PowerPoint Design?
This is a great question with a complicated answer. An effective PowerPoint design has a look that relates to the topic. Make sure your PowerPoint design elements relate. Visuals are very communicative. You can use them to support your narrative.
Want to learn more about visual communication and storytelling? Check out this free tutorial:
- Microsoft PowerPointHow to Tell Effective Visual Stories in Your PowerPoint PresentationsAndrew Childress
2. How Can I Get Better at Typography? How Do I Choose Fonts?
Typography can be a complicated subject. It's a good idea to get yourself comfortable with the basics. But here are some quick tips to get you started. Think of it like a cheat sheet that you can rely on:
- Avoid using too many different fonts. This can look distracting.
- Make sure your fonts are legible. Display fonts are not for things like body copy.
- When pairing fonts together, go for fonts that contrast. This means two fonts that are visually different. Choose one for emphasis and one to complement.
Want to learn more about typography? Check out this free guide:
3. How Can I Design Good PowerPoint Layouts?
We covered some great tips and tricks on layout design in this article. But there's plenty more to discover. If you feel stuck, remember these essential basics:
- Hierarchy matters. Draw attention to key points, like headlines. Supplemental content should have less contrast or scale.
- Remember not to "stuff" your layouts. Sometimes, less is more. It is often better to be reserved than to overdo it.
- Be selective with your content. Too much variety can look chaotic. Don't overdo it with things like colors, fonts, or imagery.
Learn more about great layout design in this free tutorial:
- Microsoft PowerPointHow to Make Great PPT Slide Layouts in Microsoft PowerPoint 2021Andrew Childress
4. How Can I Come Up With Creative PowerPoint Design Ideas?
Ideas can be one of the trickiest part of the design process. When in doubt, try some visual research. This can be as simple as looking at other designs. Note what works well in them. Think about what you can learn from them and try in your own designs.
If you're looking for design inspiration, check out these collections from Envato Tuts+. There's plenty to see and download. Besides, there's design tips you can try too.
- Microsoft PowerPoint40 Awesome PowerPoint Templates (With Cool PPT Presentation Designs 2021)Sean Hodge
- Microsoft PowerPointHow to Make Creative PowerPoint PPT Presentations (With Unique Ideas)Andrew Childress
5. How Can I Learn More about Design Principles?
There's even more to learn about the principles of design. The best part is, these principles can apply to almost all types of design too. So, you can use this in your PowerPoint slide designs, business cards, stationery, and more.
While the official list can vary, the principles of design generally include:
More Great PowerPoint Tutorial Resources
Check out these Microsoft PowerPoint tutorials from Envato Tuts+. There are many resources to help take your PowerPoint skills further:
Make Great Presentations (Free eBook Download)
Take the tips you learned in this article further with our eBook: The Complete Guide to Making Great Presentations (grab it now for FREE).
It'll help walk you through the complete presentation process. Learn how to write your presentation, design it like a pro, and prepare it to present powerfully.
Apply PowerPoint Design Principles to Your Next Presentation
That's it! We covered the basics of effective PowerPoint presentation design. You've just learned how design PowerPoint (PPT) slides. As a key takeaway, remember that good design is often subtle. The best design is typically invisible.
Instead of trying to design everything, keep it simple and focus on a process that works for you. For example, design a few layouts you could use. Only use animations where it makes sense. Keep your colors simple.
If you lack time, I recommend starting from a professional PPT template and customizing it to your needs.
Here are some excellent PowerPoint templates to look at on Envato Elements. Download unlimited presentation designs. Download web templates, and graphic assets for a single monthly fee. Or discover more trending PowerPoint template designs on GraphicRiver.
Designing is much easier if you don't make it unnecessarily difficult for yourself.
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