Presentation Design Masterclass: The end, for now

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Hello there! Welcome to the 9th (and final) module of our presentation design masterclass. To see what we’ve covered so far, you can click through to our shiny new consolidated homepage.

This module is a look back on all the key takeaways from the masterclass so far – a good one to bookmark! (Wink wink, nudge nudge). When you’re done reading the post take a look at our most exciting free offer so far – a presentation design consultation with the Nicework team. Enjoy!

Are you ready? Let’s begin.


Every slide must further your big idea


We said it at the beginning, and we’ll say it again – if there’s a slide in your deck that doesn’t directly drive you toward your big idea, it has no business being in your presentation. A presentation is a story, and your audience is relying on you’ their narrator, to take them through it in a concise manner with purpose and direction. You want them to come out of your presentation with a very specific conclusion, and the only way they’re going to get there is if you lead them there.

As you move forward into structuring your slide deck and notes, think long and hard about every single thing you want to include, and whether each piece of content drives your big idea home in some way. Less is more!

Context and audience is paramount


The more you try to address in your presentation, the more you dilute its impact. If you’re presenting to a diverse audience, pick the people who are most crucial to your goal, and speak to them. The hardest part of the preparation process is accepting that you can’t please everyone

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?

Why your visuals matter


The combination of your font selection, colour application, and use of images will speak volumes about the tone of your presentation and the personality of your brand.

Each font has its own set of visual personality traits, which can add to or detract from the narrative of your presentation. When selecting fonts, ask yourself : will this add value to your narrative? Even to the untrained eye, fonts have personalities that should be used in an informed, considered way that works with your brand character and story.

When making your colour selections, also keep in mind the meanings and emotional connotations of each colour you consider. The psychology of colour may seem a little “frilly” and irrelevant in the business world, but the emotive power of colour really can have a meaningful impact on the success of your presentation. All colours have inherent meanings, which can directly impact the way your brand, in this case your presentation, will be perceived by your audience.

An audience’s reaction to colour can seem subjective, due to factors like personal preference and current mood. However, there are still common emotional associations that can be exploited to add value to your message.

When it comes to presentations, imagery can forge a greater understanding of a complex topic, and bring clarity to even the most elaborate story. People also respond to imagery on an emotional level and connect more strongly to visual cues than they do to text. Consequently, images create a more memorable and impactful experience for your audience.

The bottom line – nothing in the design of your slides should be done “just because”. All these design elements can be used to great effect to drive your content home. It would be a great pity to waste them on window dressing with no meaning behind it.

Why you still want to work with an agency


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.

Sometimes, the people who are closest to a project are the most ill-equipped to create the all-important presentation. Why? Because being in love with a project means you can’t see for yourself which information is dispensable. We get it – you want your audience to know how hard you’ve worked! That said, an impartial (creative) observer could be just the help you need to distill our deck down for minimum waffle and maximum impact. 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.

Regardless of time crunches and content assistance, sometimes the thing holding you back from next level presentations is as simple as technical knowhow. PowerPoint is truly some great software when it comes to creating a presentation, but 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.


Whether you’re comfortable creating killer presentations on your own, or are happy to admit you need a little help on the big stuff from time to time, we hope you’ve found this class useful. We’ll see you at the next one!

Have the last few weeks of hints and tips been helpful for you? Would you like to delve deeper into how to make your presentations great? Book a free consultation with our team, for in-depth insight and advice.

That’s all, folks! If you’ve enjoyed the class and would like to share it, or even just bookmark it for future use, head to our handy homepage, where we’ve filed everything neatly in one place. If you’d like to find out more about the people behind the masterclass, head over to our website.

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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