From the high school students who read their presentation out loud verbatim with their backs facing the class to the CFOs who put four indiscernible charts on one slide, there are plenty of ways to mess up a presentation.

When the stakes are high, a memorable, polished presentation can make the difference between landing the deal and leaving empty-handed. No pressure, eh?

Whether you’re presenting at a conference or pitching to a big client (or your own team), a well-designed presentation deck adds some serious professionalism and shows how much you care about your content and your audience.

First, let’s cover the basics of presentation design. If you’re already comfortable with that, scroll down a bit until you see a lemon emoji. That’s where the next-level stuff starts. 

Nail the basics

Keep it concise.

If you walk away from this webpage having retained only one piece of advice, let it be this one: Don’t put everything you’re going to say on your slides. Your audience can read, and overloading your slides with text will just distract from the great things you have to say. 

Keep it organized.

As with most things at Lemonly, we recommend thinking of your presentation deck like an infographic. That means keeping everything concise and clear: Get your “subheadings”, main supporting points, call-out stats or quotes, and visuals. Make the content of your slides skimmable and easily understandable at a glance. The point is to reinforce (not overpower) what you’re saying, so bullet points, quick phrases, and clear takeaways are your friends.

Keep it accessible.

We’ve talked about general accessibility tips for design a bit, but presentations are a whole new beast. Your text might be readable on your computer screen, but what happens when it’s on a projector screen? Do your icons make sense from the back of an exhibit hall? Small type size, low contrast, and “fancy”, script-y type faces are your enemies in the world of presentation design.

Get it customized.

Look—we all recognize the stock templates from Google Slides or Powerpoint. A deck with solid, fresh design work differentiates you from the presentations that use those templates. Let them get to know your brand with their eyes.

A custom-designed slide deck gives you an aura of preparedness and poise even if you’re panicking on the inside. And you know what you can’t fake? Good design. Which brings us to where Lemonly can come in.

🍋 Take customization to the next level with professional design services: 3 options to consider

There are several routes you can take when investing in professional design services for your presentation materials. For slides, consider the following:

1. The Basic Template

A set of several templated slides including backgrounds/illustrative elements that allow you to add your own words/content within PowerPoint or Google Slides 

Great if you…

  • Want great design with the ability to add/edit your own text 
  • Have many team members doing presentations for different audiences
  • Want more brand consistency across presentations
  • Have a smaller budget

While making it possible for the non-designers on your team to easily add and change text on your slides does limit your design partner a bit, The Basic Template is a great cornerstone for awesome presentations AND your greater design system.

Here are a couple of example slides from our Lemonly master presentation. (Say hi to Allison!) Anyone at the company can make a copy of this deck in Google Slides and replace our lovely Harry Potter-themed lorem ipsum text with whatever makes sense for their presentation purposes.

We can throw an icon from our brand library in the gray circle on the first example. The second slide is usually customized to show a client what their final deliverables will be in a scope-of-work presentation, but we can also replace that headline and use the same layout to tell a group of students four things they should know about our internship. The flexibility! It’s overwhelming!

2. The Set Story ft. Sweet Visuals

Fully designed custom slides to explain a specific story or pitch with memorable, engaging visuals.

Great if you…

  • Want fully designed slides
  • Regularly present to prospective clients or partners
  • Have a refreshed or repositioned brand that needs some foundational materials  

No need to worry about your team members rearranging (or possibly ruining) elements of your beautiful slides when you go for the Set Story option. Everything is meticulously placed precisely where it should be. Your design partner can really bring your brand story to life with custom illustrations, charts, icons, and more. 

These example slides are from The Set Story ft. Sweet Visuals we completed for an awesome client.

OR put them together with…

3. The Mix-n-Match Master Slide Deck 

A series of template slides AND fully designed cornerstone evergreen slides to use as your Swiss Army knife of presentation creation

Great if you…

  • Want customized design to tell a central, cornerstone story AND template slides to add more info or customize, if needed 

Remember our Lemonly template examples above? They’re actually part of our own Mix-n-Match Master Slide Deck. We use templates like those alongside fully designed slides that show off our illustration work, feature more of our brand personality, and don’t really need to be changed or updated based on the audience.

Inspired? Ready to chat? We’ll even show you our own Master Slide Deck if you want!

Grab our free guide to all things visual content for even more tips about creating sweet visuals that communicate your message with clarity and class.