There are certain rules of the presentation of visual design that, if heeded, is guaranteed to assure that your audience will follow your ideas every step of the way. What you need to keep in mind is that visual design is only one part of the presentation package, the others being content and delivery.
Similar to a fine dining experience which requires equal parts of: good atmosphere, good service, and good food, for a presentation to come across effectively, the visual design of the process is extremely important.
All of these components needs to be in complete concert with each other, this to achieve their overall desired effect, painting a picture, this resulting in accurate knowledge transfer.
The Need For Paragraph Integrity
To begin the presentation, the first Level Paragraph text needs to be the same size in every frame. Likewise, the second Level Paragraph text should be smaller and perhaps a different color. The third level, the text should be no smaller than 20 points.
If the information that’s presented is of the same importance and presented as the same size throughout the presentation, then your audience won’t raise questions as to how important the information is with each click of the slide. So ensure that all of the material of the same nature, is the same color of font.
If for instance, you’re using a lot of numbers in your bullet points, then make them all one color, this different from the text. Once your audience begins to recognize this pattern, then they’ll spend less time going through the text to find the figures.
Use Clear Outstanding Fonts
Stick to just one font in any presentation. However, there may be a need to use different fonts other than the PowerPoint defaults, which are Arial and Times New Roman. The issue becomes that everyone else uses them 95% percent of the time.
So if you are the fourth presenter, for your audience, all the text begins to look the same, resulting in you losing your meaning and impact. What’s known is that for those clients who needs to sit through presentation after presentation, after a while, they can’t remember who said what.
Using Single Design Builds
Without having a good sense of design, which in some cases means just simply showing restraint, the animations used can quickly overwhelm an otherwise good presentation. The trick is introducing one concept at a time.
This in a way which doesn’t draw or distract more attention than the concepts themselves. Builds are essential elements when it comes to turning slides which would otherwise have no effect, into ones that audiences can actually follow.
Like other elements of good design, a proper build shouldn’t need to announce itself. Rather, a well animated presentation should just “happen,” this without a clue as to why it appears so easy to follow.
Be As Colorful As Possible
Although black-and-white still works as an art form, humans tend to like color more. Even the old traditional newspapers concluded that to retain readers to modern media, they need to use color.
The human eye can discern over a dozen or so shades of gray, while also millions of different colors. We’ve evolved by using our sense of color to survive. So help your audience survive your presentation, this by not blinding or boring them with just black on white.
Know That Less Is More
This rule is considered central to a good presentation design, and absolutely essential for graphs and charts. What we often see are pie charts with over a dozen slices, many so small that they need to be annotated with arrows and lines away from the graph itself.
No one will remember all of the 25 competing products in your market or their percentage share. This might be good information as a handout, but for a presentation, most can’t absorb more than six elements of any graph.
You’ll make your point more effective once you limit your displayed data to the things that your audience will most likely remember. Offering less information becomes more retention of the things that you’re really wanting them to remember.
One Concept Per Visual
Another common issue in the majority of business presentations, and the solution again is simplicity, is that if there’s more than one concept that’s presented at the same time, the audience gets confused.
They’ll attempt to figure out the various ideas, attempting to determine which one deserves more attention, how the various concepts are related, which one is the “right” one or the “better” one. Most having little to do with the actual message itself.
All this extra time, energy, and effort acts as a drag on the presentation flow, and why a 50 slide presentation, concisely broken down into one concept, takes less time to present, than the same information that’s packed into 15 slides.
Offer Right-Brain information
We as humans have evolved in different ways to deal with all of the stimuli from the outside world, this so we can react to it, this for survival purposes.
What our right brain does is it reacts to input such as graphics, colors, patterns, and shapes instantly. This without needing to stop to process the information first.
Our left brain will kick in once we’re presented with text, speech, or numbers. This is the type of information that we need to pause to analyze, this before storing or reacting to it. What the left side of the brain has are built in filters, and not everything always gets through.
So if you’re wanting your ideas to strike fast and be absorbed immediately, then you can do so by turning all of the left brain type data into shapes and colorful right brain images.