In today’s world of visual communication, design is an important element of your content you can’t ignore: Visuals are processed 60,000x faster than words, and can increase a viewer’s comprehension by 89%. As we say at SlideShare, visual is viral.
Modern-day Content ditches bullet points and clip art, and instead leverages large type and vivid imagery to draw in and engage an audience. Presentation designer Jesse Desjardins’ legendary deck “You Suck at PowerPoint!” gives an excellent overview -- and is a great example -- of designing a presentation for the modern audience. Rule No. 1: Less is more.
Before you take pen to paper (or, rather, mouse to screen), it’s important to understand the fundamentals of good design: Balance, emphasis, unity, and movement.
Use symmetry and asymmetry to emphasize certain elements
Make the most important element of your presentation stand out
Create a consistent visual theme throughout your slides
Use elements like curved lines to encourage the eye to move from one point to the next
Leveraging these principles of design will keep your audience visually engaged. Read more on design basics
Another simple design technique is the Rule of Thirds. This involves splitting your slide into three equal sections, both horizontally and vertically, and positioning elements within that grid to optimize design.
Horizontal Rule of Thirds
Include your subject’s eyes in the upper third
Aim to place your object in the left, right, top or bottom (not center)
Vertical Rule of Thirds
Read more on the Rule of Thirds
Always set objects to the left or right to allow for whitespace
There are more photos and images at our disposal today than ever before -- so ditch the staid clip art and use engaging pictures instead to amplify your message: Content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without.
Here are a few tips for using pictures:
Choose text-friendly photos
You’ll likely be overlaying text on the photo, so choose pictures where there is room for you to write
Use pictures that people can relate to -- or even evoke emotion. People aren’t as likely to share posed, unnatural photos
Make sure your photos help support the theme of your presentation and the topics it comprises. For example, if you are giving a presentation on cloud computing, consider using photos of clouds to amplify your point
Add a photo credit
It’s online etiquette to credit your photo sources in your content. Here’s the Creative Commons’ guide for crediting images
Read more on choosing the right photos
There are plenty of sites like Getty Images, Shutterstock, and ThinkStock that allow you to purchase photos. Here are a few free options:
Typography can help amplify your message, too. You can use typography to emphasize a word or statement, and support a certain style or sentiment that runs throughout your content. For instance, you can bold or italicize words, or use extra-large or tiny typeface, to help drive home a point.
There are hundreds of fonts out there that can be used to add style to your content. Once you’ve chosen what style works for you, follow these tips:
Make sure to use a font size that’s large enough for viewers to easily read your typeface both on desktop and mobile. (Check out our mobile preview.) No one likes to read small, cluttered text on screen.
Pick Two Fonts
In general, using two fonts will keep your content looking interesting and clean -- and help you carry-out a theme -- without feeling too jumbled or disjointed.
Match Your Brand
If your company has certain fonts they use, stick to those for brand consistency.
See more typography tips
Colors have the ability to trigger emotions, so it’s important to choose colors that suit your voice and topic. These are just a few adjectives associated with each color:
Red: love and passion
Orange: enthusiasm and happiness
Yellow: joy and hope
Green: growth and stability
Blue: responsibilty and strength
Purple: ambition and royalty
White: goodness and purity
Black: elegance and power
To keep a clean look, you generally don’t want to use more than three to four colors per presentation. Beware of these common color pitfalls:
The Vibrating Color Headache
If you want to use bright colors, make sure to use a neutral background to avoid giving your audience a headache for the rest of the day
Low Contrast Colors
While they may look good in print, they don’t look so great online. Choose high contrast colors so your content will stand out on the screen
Black & White
If you need a more professional “black and white” feel, add a subtle gradient to increase the depth of the slide
Read more on selecting colors
Once you select your images and typography, the trick is combining them so that they complement each other and become a cohesive piece that pops
Add a layer
Overlay a layer on top of the image and adjust the transparency to allow the text to be more readable on the photo
Adjust the text so it looks like it’s being viewed from the angle of the camera
View a step-by-step guide for combining text with photos
Infographics are more viral: They are shared and liked more on SlideShare than presentations and documents
Read more tips for creating infographics
Tools & Resources
PowerPoint isn’t the only option for creating presentations anymore. New apps and tools allow you to easily create beautiful presentations, infographics and design elements. Here are a few to check out:
More commonly known as Apple’s version of PowerPoint (remember to save and upload as a PDF to SlideShare!)
Create blog graphics, presentations and more using sophisticated design layouts
Insert your content into the Apple-only program and out will come a presentation that looks like an app
Great for users who love working on a browser; you can even get your decks translated
Similar to PowerPoint, with a cleaner interface that allows for collaborative editing
Create decks that are viewable on any device; you can also use other users’ designs and layouts
Add your content and the design is applied automatically; make adjustments with just a few clicks
Make a beautiful infographic in under 10 minutes; choose from more than 400 templates
Design an infographic in minutes using templates that allow you to drag and drop your desired elements
Pop your data into an Excel-style spreadsheet and watch your infographic automatically update
A simple-to-use site, you can choose from a wide number of templates, charts, images and more to create your perfect infographic
Choose from more than 100 customizable icons, and request new ones.
A tool to create professional-looking photos using various photo effects
A part of Evernote, Skitch allows you to add annotations, sketches, and more to your assets to make your point
Read more to find out the pros and cons of some of these alternatives
Tip: Check out the Presenter’s Toolbox, which includes apps and gear for a successful presentation!
Once you’ve created your SlideShare, you want people to read it, right? After all, great content is not great until it reaches the right audience.
SlideShare will automatically optimize your content to get traction via search, but it’s important to promote it yourself to increase virality. The more your SlideShare is shared on social media and embedded on other websites, the more views and reach it will get -- which will then lead to even higher search results.
Expand your reach by embedding your SlideShares in blog articles, company websites, LinkedIn posts and more.
When you embed, views on those embeds count towards your overall views. Embeds also help your content get discovered across the web, and can build your online reputation.
To find the embed code, click the <> at the bottom of the SlideShare player. Then, copy and paste the code in the Embed field.
Want a quick way to tap into another targeted, professional audience? View the guide below on embedding SlideShares into LinkedIn posts to reach LinkedIn’s more than 300 million members:
Reach more viewers by sharing your SlideShare content on other social media platforms, like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
First things first: Connect your social media accounts to your SlideShare account so your network can see your updates and help your content go viral by sharing your deck directly from the Slideview page.
You can also get discovered when you share other people’s content. It’s a great way to “pay it back” and create a sense of community and camaraderie with your peers. To find the best content, follow our Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and G+ channels.
So, now that you’ve shared your SlideShares on all your social media channels, what’s left? The good news is you’ve only just reached the tip of the iceberg.
There are many ways for your SlideShare to continue bringing in views, making it more likely to become a viral hit.
Here are just a few ways to help keep your SlideShares top of mind:
Include a CTA. Ask users to click through to other decks, your blog, or social media channels.
Add a “tweet this” button so users can draw in viewers to the most engaging parts of your deck. Learn more here
If your deck accompanies a blog post, include the link to that blog post in both the deck and description.
Tips from Experts
No one knows how to best leverage SlideShare than our users themselves. Many authors have published their own tips and tricks for success. Here are a few that stand out:
Here are some more best practices from experts like HubSpot, Social Media Examiner and Buffer: