Presentation Design Masterclass: Briefing your agency

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Hello! This is the eighth module of the Nicework Presentation Design Masterclass – the second-last one! Here are the things we’ve discussed so far: presentation planning, document setup, fonts, colour palettes, imagery, charts and graphs, and animation.

Today, we’ll be talking about how to brief an agency on creating a presentation for you. “What?” you ask, “Is this some kind of a scam? Why did you  spend all this time teaching me how to design my own presentations if you’re going to tell me to take them to an agency anyway?” If you’re confused, read on.


When/why to go to an agency


When you don’t have time

Although we have given you all the necessary tools to create a great presentation, it still takes a lot of time to craft it into something beautiful. If your presentation is due first thing Monday morning and you still have a huge pile of work waiting on your desk for you, your presentation might fall by the wayside and end up looking rushed. It’s times that these that you need to call in help from a design agency. Given a certain time frame, they will know exactly what they need to do to in order to make sure you deliver a well-crafted presentation in time for your meeting.

When you are too close to the project

Often if one is too close to the project/brand, it becomes difficult to streamline content and pick out the most important information, because EVERYTHING seems important. You might overthink the presentation, or get stuck on crafting one slide, rather than maintaining a steady flow. This level of dedication can be a positive thing, but it does become an issue when you need to get things done quickly.

If you anticipate this, get your agency/a designer who can take a step away from the brand to work on it. They will have an unbiased perspective of the project and may come to a solution much quicker than you could.

When you need more than the basics

PowerPoint is truly some great software when it comes to creating a presentation. However, more often than not, designers work on other software such as the Adobe suite to generate what can’t be done in PowerPoint.

PowerPoint is easy to use and gives you all the basics for the simple relaying of information. But what about those fancy infographics and pretty icons? Those are often made in alternative software, and are a great asset to have if you’re wanting to stand out.

Your big idea


We need to know what you are trying to achieve

When it comes to marketing you product/service/company, you need to have a unique concept, ‘a big idea’, that sets you apart from the rest. What is that one thing you want your audience to take away from your presentation? In our first Masterclass, ‘Before you begin’ we have spoken about the ‘big idea’ and how to develop it. Even during crunch time, it’s still essential to set aside a little time to nail down your objects. Help us help you!

Your audience


Who are these people?

Your audience is incredibly important when it comes to your presentation as they determine your tone, execution and overall delivery. An important beginning step to delivering a powerful, engaging presentation is to define your audience – who are they and what do they need? This insight can help us determine the required level of detail and visual tone.

How informed are they about your subject matter?

This is a factor that will greatly influence the subject matter of your presentation. If your audience already has some context on your content, you can avoid a lot of unnecessary explanation and focus on selling your big idea. If they’re coming in cold and have no clue chat you’re talking about, we may need to dedicate more time (and slides!) to unpack your content.

Are they inside or outside your organization?

This can make a huge difference in your presentation. If you are presenting to an audience within your organization, they will probably be familiar with all kinds of jargon that you may use on a daily basis without a second thought – a helpful piece of information to know!

This can also define the entire tone of your presentation and the types of imagery you want to include, depending on your company, this is where you can have fun and potentially take a much more friendly approach.

What kind of tone and imagery will they likely respond to?

Imagery is a great way to bring your presentation to life. It supplies visual cues that guide the audience on a journey throughout the presentation. However, different kinds of people are likely to respond differently to different kinds of imagery? Are they very literal-minded, or will they understand and appreciate more conceptual images? Will they prefer very colourful slides, or something more somber and refined?

Your brand


What existing CI elements/imagery must be considered?

If you are creating a branded presentation for your company, you should ideally have an existing powerpoint template. If not, your brand guideline will give you a set of rules of what design elements you need to use throughout your presentation and the correct ways of using them. This includes the logo, colour palettes, existing imagery/style of imagery, fonts etc. Any information you can supply to your agency with regard to these things is much appreciated.

What is your brand’s personality?

Are you a quirky brand that likes to push the boundaries and take risks? Or are you a brand that likes to maintain a more professional voice? These things will affect not only the design of your slides, but also your script. If your brand was a person, who would it be?

How should this presentation inform your organization’s goals?

This goes back to the big idea behind your presentation. What is the goal? Make sure everything in your presentation ties back to what you are telling the audience so that your big idea is reinforced throughout your presentation. We need to know what you want to achieve and how you’re going to measure it, so we can be on your team and get you where you need to go.

Got a presentation that needs a designer’s magic touch? We’ve compiled these tips into a free worksheet to make your handover as seamless as possible.

Have you been enjoying the Presentation Design Masterclass? The bad news is, we’re only one instalment away from the end. Luckily for you, early next week we’ll be summing up everything that we’ve covered so far, and giving you our key tips and takeaways. We’ll also have one last, very special, free resource for you. See you then!



Published by Ross

Ross grew up on the wrong side of the Jukskei. He studied at Vega and was awarded the Top Student prize at his graduation. After working as a freelancer for four years, he founded Nicework with Ben Vorster. He has a penchant for Scandinavian wood furniture and really nice shirts. He is open to bribery- all iPads are welcome. He also likes chocolate cake and is happily married.

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