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15 Must Know Presentation Design Trends for 2018

by Adam Noar

Presentation Design Trends for 2018 - PowerPoint design trends

New trends in graphic design are impacting the world of presentation design all the time. A great example is parallax scrolling … something that started as an innovation in website design made its way over to PowerPoint presentations.

Today, we have 15 presentation design trends that are making their way into modern slide design. Applying these trends will make your presentations stand out in a positive way.

Let’s go!

Presentation Design Trend #1.) Semi-flat design (i.e., flat design 2.0)

What’s the next logical progression of flat design in presentations? Semi-flat design of course!

Semi-flat design takes flat design a step further by adding soft shadows (seen in the image below). The shadows are minor, but they clearly create additional visual interest.

presentation design trends - flat design vs. semi-flat design (flat design 2.0)

Image by codetiburon

As you can from the image above, adding shadows to the flat design add depth and complexity without sacrificing the minimalism that creates an attractive flat design. I wonder how the fox feels about his new makeover?

It’s a little more work to create this look but the outcome is worth it.

Presentation Design Trend #2.) Cinemagraphs (i.e., living photos)

Presentations that include cinemagraphs will certainly stand out from the rest in 2018 and beyond. Cinemagraphs or “living photos” are images that contain parts which move … allowing your audience to focus on the most important part of your image (e.g., your product, key message, etc).

Presentation Design Trends for 2018 - Cinemagraph images

Image by Justus Wise

What’s cool is that you can create cinemagraphs quickly on your smartphone using apps like MaskArt. Simply take an awesome video and then isolate part of the video using the app. With a little bit of patience (for outlining and erasing) you will have the perfect cinemagraph for your PowerPoint slide deck!

Presentation Design Trend #3.) Gradients (i.e., color transitions)

Gradients have been used in PowerPoint decks since the beginning. In fact, it wasn’t too long ago that your corporate presentation wasn’t cool unless it had a cool looking gradient on the cover.

Gradients made a huge comeback after their adoption by Instagram and their popularity continues to increase.

Presentation Design Trends for 2018 - gradients and color transitions

Image by Julien Renvoye

Today, we see color gradients used in logos, websites, buttons, backgrounds, and typography. We expect presentations to adopt a unique approach to this trend and introduce modern gradients in various styles which will make icons, text, and other design elements pop on the slide.

Presentation Design Trend #4.) Bright and Bold Colors

Color schemes are trending towards the extra bright and bold. Color schemes are something that we talk about frequently here at Presentation Panda.

Presentation Design Trends for 2018 - bright and bold colors

Image by Mila Dayan

Picking a great color theme is a simple way to help ensure your slide deck has a consistent look and feel from start to finish. To get you started, here are 10 awesome color combinations that you can use for your next presentation. Once you’ve picked your favorite color theme tell us which one you picked in the comments.

Presentation Design Trend #5.) Double Exposure

Double exposure means two separate images combined together to create an abstract and surreal image. The conventional double exposure photos in 2018 will take on a new look infusing duotones (more on this later) to create a new style predicted to be one of the biggest trends of 2018.

Presentation Design Trends for 2018 - double exposure

Image by ajdin, IanBarnard, Elliot Munoz, Ray Doyle

Some professional presentation templates have built-in double exposure images into their slides (like the one above) which makes it easier than ever to adopt this style.

 Presentation Design Trend #6.) Poly Designs

This trend inspired by game graphic designs is now taking over all areas of graphic design. This year we expect to see more of it as website redesigns, posters, banners, ads, business cards, flyers, and presentations. The trend alone certainly looks cutting edge since it comes in geometric shapes and color game which gives the feeling of a 3D composition (as seen in the image examples below).

Presentation Design Trends for 2018 - poly designs

Image by bigoodis, jonadinges, Digital-Space

To take it to the next level, designers have been combining it with other graphic design trends such as bright colors and asymmetry which makes it even more alluring.

Presentation Design Trend #7.) Duotones

With bold colors and beautiful application possibilities, duotones are predicted to be one of the hottest presentation trends of 2018 and beyond.

Presentation Design Trends for 2018 - duotones

Image by Simon Moore

Duotones are traditionally created through a halftone printing process where one halftone is printed on top of another of a contrasting color, creating a two-toned image. This fundamental printing technique has found new life in digital media. Imaging software (like Adobe Photoshop) has made it easier than ever to create duotones, as well as related variations like monotones, tritones, quadtones and “fake duotones” (tinted images).

Spotify has been credited with their return to mainstream design by using duotone images in their app and promotional microsites. Designers are taking advantage of this technique as imagery created within a limited color palette is delightfully complimentary to semi-flat design.

Presentation Design Trend #8.) Cropped Typography

Cropped typography is the little sideshow in a graphic design that can be a showstopper of its own with stunning effect. Erasing parts of the letters while still keeping the readability of the text, and letting your imagination run wild with it creates incredible results.

Presentation Design Trends for 2018 - cropped typography

Image by graphic mama

The art of cropped typography being integrated with the other design elements and photography requires a lot of creative thinking and professionalism.

Presentation Design Trend #9.) 3D images 

3D is here! Yes, you can now insert certain types of 3D models into PowerPoint, rotate them and even animate them. Here’s an example slide that we quickly mocked up using 3D elephants:

Presentation Design Trends for 2018 - 3D images

In the past, I have recommended shying away from 3D as it can be distracting (specifically when it comes to charts) but PowerPoint has recently put in efforts to make presentations more 3D. It will be interesting to see where this goes. If used correctly these 3D images can look really nice (especially when combined with the PowerPoint Morph transition). I’m just hoping this doesn’t become the next version of ClipArt.

Presentation Design Trend #10.) Big and Bold Fonts

Big and bold is back.

When it comes to fonts in 2018 you’ll find that the bigger and bolder, the better. Savvy presentation designers will be opting for artistic effects, extra-large font sizes, and huge headlines.

Presentation Design Trends for 2018 - big and bold fonts

Image by Jason Carne, chank, TheHungryJPEG, zwartekoffie

With big and bold fonts you can easily call people’s attention. Extra-bold font family members like (Great Lakes and Bebas Neue) will continue to dominate the PowerPoint canvas.

Presentation Design Trend #11.) Handwritten fonts

Fonts in handwritten styles are a timeless classic, and they are back to bring tons of appeal to the designs.

Presentation Design Trends for 2018 - handwritten fonts

Image by TheHungryJPEG

Hand-drawn designs are making a big comeback in 2018. Among others, the “all things hand-drawn” trend will include modern script typography and photos being replaced with hand-drawn illustrations. Use this hand-drawn style to add authenticity and communicate your ideas effectively. Some popular free handwritten fonts you can add to your arsenal can be found here.

Presentation Design Trend #12.) Retro “vintage” design

Retro designs are making a strong comeback here throwing up exciting possibilities.

Vintage isn’t anything new, but the trend will remain strong in 2018. Though it may contradict the mainstream desire for minimalism—beautiful, finely crafted logos and illustrations are timeless.

Presentation Design Trends for 2018 - vintage design

Image by Amy Hoodlum, Benjamin Garner, StudioMuti

Presenters looking to achieve a top-shelf look often find classic design aesthetics can provide an air of distinction and sophistication.

While this trend may not be practical for everyone, brands in the food and beverage industries—especially those in wine and spirits—have been leveraging this style for years with gorgeous results. If the vintage look captures your interest here is a professional presentation template with a vintage theme that you can download today.

Presentation Design Trend #13.) GIFs

GIFs have taken the world by storm and can easily be inserted into presentations to give your slides some extra character and humor (if used correctly). GIFs are great for communicating ideas, concepts and processes while making content more engaging for users.

Presentation Design Trends for 2018 - animated gifs

GIFs have come a long way since their animated Clipart days and have evolved to fit in nicely with modern presentations. Add interest to slides by taking advantage of this trend. For more information on how you can use GIFs in your next presentation click here.

Presentation Design Trend #14.) Custom graphics

Custom graphic art and illustration has taken a backseat to cheaper stock imagery alternatives for much of the last decade. But custom graphics are now back with a vengeance!

Presentation Design Trends for 2018 - custom graphics

Image by Lily

Custom artwork and illustration helps create a visual language which can really enhance and add personality to a brand. In 2018, you can feel free to get really creative as we’ll see more artwork in a broader range of styles surface as presentation designers untap the potential of these underused assets.

Presentation Design Trend #15.) Authentic “Real Life” photos

Say goodbye to lame photos of business teams smiling at the camera with their thumbs up in the air and say hello to images of people behaving authentically (like the image below)

It’s quite refreshing to see generic stock photos being replaced with photos that look like something you would actually see in the real world.

Presentation Design Trends for 2018 - authentic real life photos

The demand for real-life photography grew significantly in 2017 and will grow even more in 2018 as brands seek to connect with their users, and designers seek to rid the world of cheesy stock photography. Luckily there are lots of amazing photographers out there who are helping meet this demand through premium and free stock photography resources (like Unsplash).

Conclusion – Are you keeping up with today’s presentation design trends?

It’s an exciting time in presentation design. The graphic arts are being revitalized as we’re beginning to see a resistance to the flat design movement. The design scene is about to get a lot more interesting as we continue to focus more on originality and the individuality of presenters and their audiences. With so many old and new styles on the table, it will be a time of taking risks and breaking patterns. Make 2018 the year you release your creativity with your presentation designs!

Here is my question for you …

Which of the presentation design trends in this article do you like the most?

Sound off in your comments below… And please remember to be specific as possible.

Also, do you have a friend that is currently creating a new presentation and could benefit from learning about these presentation design trends? If so, send them a link to this blog post right now. I’m sure, they will return the favor to you one day!

Finally, if you enjoyed reading this post, please remember to like and share using the sharing icons to the left.

Hungry for information on how to create awesome presentations? Here are a few suggested posts:

10 Professional PowerPoint Templates That Will Cut Your Design Time in Half!

5 Presentation Tools That Will Make Your Slides Stand Out

10 Essential PowerPoint Hacks For More Exciting Presentations

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