Slides, as in slide design, is one of the most popular topic among participants in Successful Presentation. I should first point out that their importance is often over-rated and if you want to be effective speaking before a group there are other factors that can be more decisive, say emotions among many. Nevertheless I am always happy to cover it in-depth during the second day.

There is a lot that can be said and covered about designing them. As it happens in design there are rules, and all of them can be broken at times as long as it is done on purpose and … with a purpose.

If I had only few seconds to give advice I would suggest the following points:

  • Every visual aids should be contextual and coherent with the message you are conveying
  • A picture is worth 1000 words
  • Use colours wisely
  • Clear, simple and readable

Readable can be addressed from different angles, font size for text but also avoid difficult words or acronyms. Nothing should be to little unless, again, unreadability is what you want. Mind the contrast and consider how far the screen is from the audience. Not to mention that not everyone has perfect sight.

Poorly designed slides not only don’t support your speech, they can hinder it.