Don't Use A Template: Why Great Presentations Keep Design In Mind

By Blue Star Design / 30 Jan 2017


No matter your job, chances are that at some point you will have to (or you already have had to) create a presentation. Presentations are an important way for you to explain your ideas to your coworkers, give insight, and report progress on projects. However, while putting together your presentation, you might be tempted to use a template. Whether it’s a free template you find online or one that comes with your presentation software (like PowerPoint), using a template might not actually be what’s best for your overall presentation.

You might be used to using template presentations because they’re what you always used in high school and college: however, high-stakes business presentations are different. You are being judged by everyone in the room, not just a professor. For high-stakes presentations like presenting to senior execs and board members or trying to land a big account, a template might not be helpful. You want your ideas to make a lasting impression by the company, and templates are cookie-cutter pieces that your audience may have seen before. To make your presentation truly stand out, you may want to consider designing your own slides. This doesn’t have to be scary--in fact, it can be really fun.

There are lots of misconceptions about designing your own presentations. The biggest reasons why people claim designing their own slides is not for them is that it takes too much time. Well, you’re not entirely wrong. Designing slides takes work, like any other media campaign. However, it’s also just as important as any other campaign. Any time you present your company, your brand, or yourself, you should have a unified and creative look. Templates don’t do that. Designing your presentation will help you look like you’ve thought outside the box and will also help you tailor the presentation to your specific needs. Here are the reasons why you should consider designing your high-stakes presentation:

Don’t be boring.

Our designer, April Clark, has some thoughts on why you should design your presentation instead of simply using a template. “Creating a great presentation is an art and a science. It is very important to create a presentation with your audience in mind and create content that will visually reinforce your message - not just use a template "out of the box" that uses only text-- BORING!  Taking time to think about the message you want to present and add relevant graphics can make a huge impact on your presentation goals.” She continues, “What is important is not to use the same standard corporate look that every other company out there uses. Stand out from the competition.”

They also don’t necessarily fit your purposes.

For instance, let’s say you’re putting together a presentation on a dynamic new product. You choose a template with a white background and black font because you want your presentation to be readable. There’s a small border around the presentation slides, but no other visual interest. This doesn’t fit your needs at all. You need something as eye-catching as your product without sacrificing readability. Good luck finding that in a template.

Templates have their uses, and especially if you aren’t a designer, it’s unrealistic to try and design every single one. However, if you have a truly high-stakes presentation with a lot on the line, finding a professional designer to create your presentation can do a world of good. Instead of going with a boring template or corporate stationery, opt to create something new and innovative.

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