Evolving Look of My Presentation Slides

While I’m sure it will continue to evolve, I thought now would be a good point to document the way the look of my presentation slides have changed over the past few years.

The Lazy Way: Totally Pre-made

When I was in school, I admit that I frequently used whatever PowerPoint template struck my fancy. I didn’t think the look of my presentation was all that important as long there wasn’t too much text.

presentation powerpoint exampleI think the main reason though was the fact that beyond the time it would take, most of the presentations I did in school were group presentations. With two or more people involved, choosing a familiar template seemed liked the best choice.

Simplicity & Readability

The thing that bugs me the most about presentations is the massive amount of text that some people have.

If the presenter (and everyone else) can simply read all their ideas off of the slides, then what is the point of having the presenter in the first place? Why should people listen?

In response to seeing too much text and too busy slides (sometimes complete with slide and text animation), I tended towards monochrome black & white primarily while using Google Docs presentations.

presentation black and white exampleWhile plain, I wanted to use slides mostly to keep focused (both myself and the audience) and for visuals when needed.

Pictures, Pictures, Pictures

While still sticking with the black and white motif, I decided to add pictures wherever I could to help make a point or just for fun.

presentation pictures exampleWho doesn’t like cute, fun animal pictures?

Institutional Identity

Shortly thereafter, I got my hands on a background that was commissioned for our library’s use. Since the next couple of presentations I would be doing was about library projects, I decided to modify an existing template that used colours similar to our university’s, changed the background and added the logo in the footer.

presentation institution identity exampleIt definitely gave a sense of “presenting on behalf of the library” feel.

Simple Personalization

Of course, I needed to think about what I wanted to do when I wasn’t presenting on behalf of my organization.

For simplicity sake (and the ability to edit anywhere), I decided to go back to Google Docs but use an actual template, giving it a bit of colour.

presentation purple google exampleI chose a purple template in part because I like the colour, but also to somewhat match my avatar, which has a fair amount of purple in it.

Taking it to the Next Step

I also started getting a feel for how I wanted to create slides:

  • big, centred topics,
  • quotes as support text,
  • occasional bullet points, and
  • full size pictures.

I went back to the simple black background template, but with purple text and small, very light grey for footer and source information text. The bullet point slides had a white background with white text following the default template.

presentation black background purple text exampleI also browsed a bunch of fonts to see if I could find one I liked, so I went with Tillium for the headers and stuck with default Corbel for the small text.

Refining the Look

In the last example, the presentation had a look somewhere in between the simple black background with coloured text and a PowerPoint template, because that’s exactly what it was.

With the latest presentation, I tried to make the look of the presentation more consistent by going with the plain black background and coloured text throughout (purple RGB 125, 54 ,211) and a very light grey). I removed all the gradient backgrounds, thick lined slide dividers, and footer information.

Finally, I chose some new fonts using Merriweather Sans for the headers and really big text, and Lato for longer blocks of text and small text.

presentation black white purple with custom fontsI think the look will need further refinement, but for now, I like what I’ve chosen (it sure took long enough to put together). Now let’s hope it sticks at least for a little while.

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