PowerPoint: still essential for designers

Graeme The Basics September 27, 2015

Yes that’s right, the mighty PowerPoint that we all thought lost its importance in the design industry years ago, is still an essential tool.

I spent many years working with PowerPoint when I was at school, and then studied it further at college. But it wasn’t until I went freelance that I realised how big the demand for it is.

By the time I got my first request to design a PowerPoint presentation, I hadn’t used it for about 5 years, and now I use it at least once a month. And I know what you are thinking, it is probably just for the old-fashioned companies that haven’t kept with the times, but you would be wrong. In the last year alone, I have designed presentations for companies as big as O2 and Canon.

Why do companies still use it?

The answer is simple, it gives clients the freedom to change most of the content after it has been designed. I would agree that as a designer I would prefer if clients wanted all presentation as an interactive PDF, that way I wouldn’t be restricted by file sizes and what fonts I can use. But from a client point of view, I can completely understand why they want to use it.

Not as restrictive as you might think

Whenever I design a PowerPoint presentation, I also do the layout using InDesign first. From there it is an easy export of the layers as PNG files, copy the text across and you are good to go. There is no doubt that PowerPoint limits you from a design point of view, but using InDesign first is definitely a good work around.

A few tips

  1. Don’t use a standard (built-in) theme
    These are incredibly basic. Creating your own theme or just designing each slide as you go is easier than you think
  2. Use high-resolution imagery
    Good quality imagery at reasonable prices is widely available these days. Personally I use shutterstock, although that can sometimes be limited, in those situations I use iStockphoto. A few great images can really lift your presentation.
  3. Don’t overdo the animation
    Yes, animation is great, but sometimes it just reminds people that it is boring old PowerPoint. I use fade for all the slide transitions, and then I tend to build in animation when it is required.

Hopefully you found this article helpful. If you require any PowerPoint work in the future please get in touch.