Powerpoint Before and After: Various Slide Types

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Before-After-Apple Maybe it’s just me, but one of the best ways for me to learn more about effective PowerPoint design is to see how other designers have approached slide redesigns, in other words a Before and After.  Most often when I’m approached by a client they either already have a presentation that needs to be redesigned, or they have a concept that needs to be designed from scratch.  In both cases it is important for me to make sure that the client understands my approach to PowerPoint design and how an effective slide will have little text on it to act as a crutch.  So the client must make sure that they know their content inside and out, thus making the presentation experience better for the audience and more successful for the presenter.

So what I wanted to do what take a number of different types of slides and show you how I redesigned them.  There are obviously and infinite amount of possible ways they could have been redesigned, so my take is just one of many.  I would love to get your ideas of how I could have designed them differently in the comments section.


This presentation was created for the Fairfield University Graduate School of Business (my alma mater!).  The initial slides were primarily just a red background full of text, which is unfortunately pretty standard for presentations today.

Bad PowerPoint 1Good Powerpoint - Pie Chart

This particular slide was a breakdown of student demographics, but gave no visual perspective.  In order to create this perspective, I broke the slide out into a graph, put it on a white background, and clearly numbered, labeled, and colored the pieces of the graph.

Bad Powerpoint 2
Good Slides

By using bullet points, presenters often put multiple points of emphasis on a single slide.  This not only gives the audience no visual reference, it can dilute the points as a whole.  Instead, I encourage presenters to give each point its own slide, as well as an image to back it up.  This will help the audience remember each point individually.


Bad PowerPoint 3


Again I encountered a typical original slide with numerous bullet points, each highlighting a different point.  The client wanted to make sure text in its entirety was saved, which I don’t recommend but will concede in certain situations.  I separated the bullet points onto three separate slides.  I also used a full bleed image, but this type of image left no room for copy.  I then put a white square across the entire slide (on top of the picture), but gave it a gradient with a starting opacity of 100% and an ending opacity of 0%.  This gave the text a backround to contrast against, and still left room for the picture.  I also used red to highlight the most important parts of the text versus the less important in black.


Bad PowerPoint Slide - Before Good PowerPoint Image with Text

This was one of those slides where the information wasn’t so specific that the presenter HAD to have it on the screen.  All of this information could come directly from his mouth, so I only put the main point of the slide on the screen and let the rest of the slide be an visual backdrop.

What are some other methods you have used to redesign slides like these?  How would you have done it differently?  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Image courtesy of 1HappySnapper on Flickr

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