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How to Pick a Killer Theme for Your Presentation in 5 Easy Steps

PowerPoint Tips - Presentation Design Tips - How to Create an Awesome Theme

You do not normally give it much thought, but pretty much every app you use, every restaurant you walk into, and even every presentation slideshow you put together is designed around a central theme.

At least, every good presentation is. Like many aesthetic features, a presentation theme is something that you should be able to know is intuitively right or wrong just by looking at it. A business presentation about mutual funds should probably have an understated theme with neutral colors and no-nonsense designs, and (hopefully) you don’t need me to tell you that. Likewise, if you’re creating a presentation about a more light-hearted topic such as the top ten summer travel destinations in the USA, you can afford to have a more whimsical theme.

What exactly is a theme, though, and why is it so important? A theme encompasses everything from font, images, colors, layout, formatting, and even to a certain extent the content that you put on display in a presentation. It might seem simple on paper to pick a theme, but in practice a lot of thought goes into the process.

Once you have landed on a theme to use in your presentation, making decisions on how to design your slides becomes much easier. All you have to do is ask yourself “does this aspect of my theme {such as font or color) fit into the broader whole?” If yes, then you should incorporate it—if not, then toss it out.

While some people have the supernatural ability to wing it and come up with tastefully curated themes where everything from the header font to the hyperlink color is in harmony, most of us can use a little help. We need structure, we need influences, and we need a map to guide us. Luckily there are tons of tools out there to help make choosing a good theme for your presentation easy. Whether you are creating a presentation, a website, a painting, a blueprint for an architect, a book cover, or anything else visual, it is fundamental to have a central theme at the heart of your plans. This is where the concept of creating a theme comes in handy, and this is what you’ll learn about today!

Step #1: Brainstorm Creative Ideas

Presentation Design Tips - How to build a theme - Brainstorm

The first step to creating a beautiful, cohesive theme is to brainstorm anything and everything that comes to mind. Writing down creative ideas that express the concept you are trying to present will allow you to open up a stream of all sorts of themes to utilize in your work. So grab a piece of paper or a tablet or a whiteboard marker—whatever it is that you use to record the thoughts in your head—and start brainstorming.

Occasionally people make the mistake of assuming that when they brainstorm ideas they should come up with lots of fancy, near-perfect concepts. This is a mistake! When you are in the initial phase of creating ideas you should pretty much be writing whatever comes to mind—it can seem completely ridiculous and maybe it is, but it is a great way for your brain to warm up and start visualizing the A+ material you will use when designing your own them.

It’s normal to have a lot of lackluster ideas when you’re in the brainstorming phase, but even if you have some pretty weird ideas that seem useless, they might lead to the right idea in the end.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind during the brainstorming phase:

  • Don’t spend too much time stuck inside. Going out for a walk, or just to get a breath of fresh air, really can make a difference. Bring a notepad or your phone with you to jot down any ideas that come to your head while you’re putting extra oxygen into your head.
  • Get some exercise! Do a few pushups or a few basic stretches to get the blood moving. If I’m hitting a creative wall I’ll strike up a few yoga poses in my office before designing slides for clients
  • Consider changing environments. Richard Branson suggests brainstorming in creative environments that energize you and make you think differently. Depending on the kind of person you are, that might mean going down to your local beach or river and taking a seat, or it might mean finding a spacious café with lots of natural light and an excellent cup of espresso.

You should not have any trouble brainstorming some great themes if you keep these ideas in mind.

Step #2: Create a Design Mood Board

PowerPoint Design Tips - Mood Board Example

After you have brainstormed to your heart’s content it is finally time to create a mood board. Think of a mood board as a collage of different design inspirations that reflect your brainstorming ideas. It does not have to be organized in a certain way or have a completely fluid set of themes—maybe in one corner you will have a cluster of fonts that you like for the body of the slide, but immediately adjacent to them you have a few choice filtered images that will make for a beautiful cover page and set the tone and theme for your presentation. A mood board will let you know what the look, feel, and tone of your project’s theme will be, in a more tangible form. It should basically look like a stream of your thoughts, put together in front of you. Inspiration for your mood board can come from anywhere; think of it as a roadmap that shows where your project will end up.

Finding inspiration for your mood board is pretty easy. You can start out by looking at some of the ideas you have brainstormed and then go looking for images, designs, font styles, and more online. Some great resources for inspiration are Dribble, Note and Point, Design Inspiration, and SlideShare, which I personally use all the time when curating presentation images. Of course, it can never hurt to check out images on sites such as Flickr, Google Images, and even stock image sites and Getty Images; you never know what might strike a bulb inside your head.

Presentation Design Tips - Free Resource - GoToMoodBoard.com

To create a mood board, some people might prefer to use Pinterest, while others may prefer to use a professional mood board tool such as GoMoodBoard. There are tons and tons of great mood board websites out there and if you want to have access to as many of them as possible, here are sixteen great tools for creating the perfect mood board.

If you do not really feel like creating a fancy mood board (I don’t see why this would be a problem, but it’s your mood board, not mine) then you can simply use a screenshot tool such as Skitch (remember Skitch? We talked about it recently) and take quick screenshots of whatever catches your eye, then create a blank slide in PowerPoint or Microsoft Paint to paste your screen grabs and keep them handy.

What sort of content should you include in your mood board? Pretty much whatever you want, as long as it inspires you to find or create the perfect theme for your slides. Some basic features you should add to your mood board include fonts, colors, textures, photographs, patterns, GIFs, and other shiny things. Just like when you brainstorm, do not hold back with your mood board—make it open to all sorts of creative designs and themes and slowly but surely a more coherent single theme will begin to emerge.

PowerPoint Tips - What To include in your Mood Board - Presentation Tips

Step #3: Take Your Theme Out for a Test Drive

The next step after creating your mood board is to start placing the various features of your mood board in situ on your slides to see how they will look for your presentation. Once you have your mood board and color scheme created it is time to start playing around with the design of your slides.

Start out by creating a few slides and then take a pause to see if those slides reflect the direction that you want to go for your theme. Try starting out with the title page—probably the single most important place to start, since it sets the tone for the rest of your presentation—and build on from there. Also, put together one or two of your principal slides and see how they complement or play off of the title page. Switch around primary colors, try each of the fonts on your shortlist, see if the words you use look better in boldface, italics, or with standard weight. Decide if you are going to alternate your colors between slides or make them uniform. Depending on the kind of audience you are presenting to, you might also want to consider how your theme conforms to the topic at hand—if it’s a rather formal topic, think twice before you choose a font with curlicues or with jagged thorns covering each letter. If you are at a loss for what to choose, it probably means that the themes you have in front of you are not distinct enough from each other—there should be enough difference to distinguish one from another and get a clearer picture of what will look good and what will not.

Step#4: Get Feedback Early

Presentation Tips - Get Feedback on Your Theme Early

You might want to share these first couple slides with your team, your boss, etc. to get feedback. There is no point going further in the design process if your team isn’t digging your initial slides. And there is definitely nothing wrong with going back to the drawing board and making sure that your theme makes everyone happy.

Step #5: Build Your Slides

Presentation Design Tips - Consistency is Key

Once you have the green light from your fellow presentation collaborators it is time to put everything else in its place.

When you design your slides you need to be relentless in obeying your theme guidelines. If you have decided on Font X with a light blue background, do not compromise your theme for any reason and all of a sudden have a different font on a white background instead. Doing this will do nothing other than make your presentation look really bad and probably confuse your audience in the process.

As long as you remain consistent and keep steady to your theme your presentation will look fantastic. And if you do get stuck, you can always refer back to your mood board for more ideas. You should also not hesitate to consult with your fellow designers, boss, or whoever else has something at stake in your project.


Presentation Tips - Summary of How to Build a Killer Theme

Theme development is a challenging but ultimately enjoyable task; there is no reason not to have a great time flexing your creative muscles through the process of brainstorming ideas, curating a beautiful mood board that sets the tone for your slide, designing initial slides with feedback from your peers, and finally designing a beautiful, coherent slideshow that totally rocks.

If you have followed these five steps I am confident that your presentation’s theme will compliment what is sure to be a great presentation and make it look spectacular. If you have any doubts you can always double check and review these steps, and also consult some of our other articles here on Presentation Panda to make sure that you have the best presentation possible.

So, here’s my question for you:

Are there any other methods you use for creating a great presentation theme? Any other websites you use to come up with the perfect mood board that I missed? Let me know what you think below and please try to be as specific as possible. Sound off in the comments below!

Lastly, do you have a friend that could benefit from learning about these presentation design tips? If so, email them the link to this post.

Thanks for sharing and be sure to post this article on Twitter of Facebook as well (by using the sharing buttons to the left).

Hungry for more information on presentation design trends? Here are some suggested articles:

5 Presentation Tools That Will Make Your Slides Stand Out

7 Presentation Design Trends You Need To Know About

10 Professional Presentation Templates That Don’t Suck

This post was also featured on SlideShare … Click here to follow us on SlideShare.

Presentation tips  - Check out my ebook Slides Made Slimple Now!


5 Embarrassing Presentation Design Mistakes to Avoid

Presentation Design Tips - 5 Mistakes to Avoid

Like double edged swords, blind dates, and nuclear power plants, either a PowerPoint presentation can go really well and make you look totally awesome or it can completely suck and be the scourge of your existence. If you’re a savvy panda you’re no doubt aware that there are certain flaws in presentation design which can wreck an otherwise perfectly good slide presentation.

In case you’re well-versed in the do’s of presentation design but need some reinforcement about the don’ts to make sure you don’t screw up an otherwise perfect presentation, here are FIVE PRESENTATION DESIGN TIPS to remember the next time you create a presentation.

Presentation Design Mistake #1: Using Display Fonts For Body Copy

PowerPoint Design Tips - Don't Overuse Display Fonts

As tempting as it is to use that super cool looking display font for your body copy, in practice it looks absolutely terrible, and in some cases it is downright illegible. Using a display font such as “Pacifico” throughout the entirety of your text is kind of like wearing a ballgown or tuxedo to the grocery store when you are doing your vegetable shopping. While you might look great in your ultra-fancy three thousand dollar dress with all the bells and whistles, it does not belong in the pasta aisle (sorry if I burst anyone’s bubble). The same can be said for using display fonts in your body copy: most likely you will confuse a bunch of people, no matter how good it looks.

Display fonts are fonts that are better suited to small areas of text, not body copy. This is because a title or subheader, which is where you summarize an entire slide in a few words, is the core of the slide. As such it requires a special text to highlight its important, and that is why it is a good idea for you to use flashy fonts such as Pacifico to grab your audience’s attention. But please, please, please do not make the mistake of using the same font in your entire body. To give you an idea of how messed up it looks, here is a side-by-side comparison of a slide with entirely the same font and one where the header font changes to something more legible in the body section.

I see this terrible design crime committed all the time in PowerPoint presentations, and the affect is cringe-worthy illegible text which serves no other purpose than to make the presenter look like a fool for choosing such a flashy font. There is a time and place for display type, and body copy is not the place to do it!

Presentation Design Mistake #2: Lengthy Line Spillover

PowerPoint Tips - Lengthy Line Spill Over

This seems like a nit-picky sort of problem, but it is the sort of minor detail that can turn an important presentation into an amateur hour piece of you-know-what if you’re not careful.

With no offense meant to the downtrodden, we in the copywriting and presentation design industries refer to a specific kind of design flaw in presentations as orphans and widows. An orphan refers to one or two trailing words in a paragraph that end up spilling over an extra line in your slide and looking quite forlorn, dejected and despairing by themselves—just like orphans in real life. A widow refers to when a column of text is too big to fit within one window on the slide and so a final line or two—just big enough to make the format look super awkward—gets cut off and left at the top of the next window. Widowed lines tend to wail for their beloved body paragraphs, emanating feelings of woe and sadness across the rest of your slide.

The odd few widows and orphans are inevitably bound to pop up in any type-based design you undertake, so recognizing them and dealing with them is a must to ensure that your presentation looks flawless and is despair and sadness-free. Luckily it is not very hard to correct this sort of mistake and keep your words from becoming orphaned and your lines from becoming widowed. When it comes to dealing with orphans and widows you have a few options at your disposal:

  • Manually edit the text to adjust the line length to remove the problem altogether.
  • Adjust the margins of your slides to allow for wider or narrower columns.
  • Change your font to conserve or eat up more space, depending on the font and size.
  • Decrease the amount of words you use. This is probably your best bet—less is always more when it comes to presentation slides, because they’re not supposed to be wordy in the first place.

Keep words from spilling over onto the next line and columns from spilling over to the next window of the slide—doing so will give your presentation a shipshape, smooth appearance.

Presentation Design Mistake #3: Throwing Multiple Random Images on One Slide

Presentation Design Tips - Multiple Random Images

There is nothing wrong with using images to illustrate your presentation and give it that extra little touch to make your point or add the right sort of visual vibe to your message. However, it is easy to get a bit carried away and go image crazy on your slide, which is not what you want to do.

As a general rule of thumb you almost never want to use more than one image on a single slide. Anything more than that simply looks too cluttered and will give your presentation a really disorderly appearance, which is something you should definitely aim to avoid. Remember: Presentation slides are meant to look sleek and simple—they’re not supposed to look like a Picasso cubist collage!
When you select images to use in your slide be sure to make sure they directly compliment the topic. If your topic is about marine biology, don’t throw in a random picture of a guy dressed in a penguin suit, unless there’s a direct tie-in (I’m doubtful). If your topic is about summer fashion trends, keep your images on point and show people dressed in summer clothing, not wearing long winter coats (unless you’re trying to be ironic or you are discussing summer fashion at the North Pole). As obvious as this seems, I’ve seen some pretty disastrous slide images that have nothing to do with the topic at hand, so that’s why I’m telling you this.

Respect the audience you’re presenting to and avoid using any sort of crass or vulgar images (unless your audience is the sort that appreciates that sort of thing). Make sure that when you do use an image, it is a high resolution one and will look beautiful and pleasing to the eye when it is blown up to full-screen proportions on a projection screen.

Another great tip to remember is that by no means should you feel obligated to use images for every single slide presentations. Yes, people are highly visual creatures. However, there’s nothing wrong with having certain slides that are solely text, so long as you keep your words concise and follow the other design tips in this article.

Presentation Design Mistake #4: Slapping Solid Text Boxes Over a Busy Picture

PowerPoint Design Tips - 5 Mistakes To Avoid

Oh, the horror. When you insert an image with a lot of stuff going on, the last thing it needs is a layer of text. Well, actually, I take that back: the only thing worse than putting a solid text box over a busy picture is to put a lot of text in that box!

In case you are wondering what this nightmarish presentation design mistake looks like, here is a great (and by great I mean terrible) example:

There are actually two crimes being committed here:

  • The picture chosen has no white or negative space to place text in without blocking out part of the image
  • The designer tries (and fails) to fix the problem by first inserting a solid color box over the image and then placing text directly over the shape

It doesn’t take an MFA in graphic design to see that this is a poor example of smart presentation design. The composition of the image comes off as extremely cramped, because there is too much happening within the frame, even before the addition of text. And placing the words and that hideous box over the picture makes it look like you hired a lazy monkey to make your slides. I’m guessing that’s not the impression you are looking to make with your clients.

Fortunately there are some easy ways to prevent this sort of image atrocity from happening. If you really want to add text onto an image, look for photos that have plenty of whitespace or are blurry. These are perfect for adding words without giving off a cramped feel. Additionally, there are some super useful and easy tricks to manipulating your presentation images before you overlay them with text.

You’re welcome.

Presentation Design Mistake #5: Formatting Inconsistency

PowerPoint Design Tips - Inconsistent Formatting

Formatting a presentation slide is like balancing the books for a business: it ain’t sexy, but if you don’t do it right then your whole enterprise will fall of kilter like a house of cards in a breeze. Whether you are dealing with just a few slides or a hundred of them, it is super important to set up a style guide and stick to it. Consistency is fundamental to beautiful, orderly slide presentations—the only thing worse than using monochrome, boring design elements is using boring design elements inconsistently!

If you decide that you’re going to use Times New Roman (heaven forbid—you can find tons of stylish fonts here) as the font for a slide, for the love of all things cute cuddly and bamboo-munching, please remember to make sure it stays that way for the duration of the slide. For a super formal presentation it is best to avoid switching fonts between slides altogether, because a coordinated slideshow will look much more professional if there are not font deviations throughout the presentation.

If you decide to use graphic design elements such as borders, frames, and other visual patterns on your slides, make sure that they also remain consistent. Don’t switch from a retro faux iron grille pattern on one slide to a minimalist modern black line border on the next. When you keep external visual elements the same it lends a heightened sense of unity and conformity to your design, which is always a good thing.

You should also keep in mind that it is a bad idea to vary your colors and backgrounds too often. At the very least make sure that you keep these aspects of your presentation complimentary, or simply decide upon one set type of style and stick with it for the entirety of the presentation. The resulting coherence will do wonders for the look and feel of your design.
Yes, formatting isn’t so exciting, but take it upon yourself to make sure that your formatting is consistent and your presentations will benefit for it.


PowerPoint Design Tips - 5 Common Mistakes To Avoid

Presentation design, no matter how subtle it may seem, is too important to neglect—you want to make sure you get it right.

It is the sort of underrated characteristic that might not seem like a big deal, but if something such as your formatting is off or the images you use are low resolution, it might make a potential client hesitate before hiring you for a project—if you can’t make an effective PowerPoint presentation, are you going to be careless when you’re working for someone else?

I hope that you won’t be making any of these five presentation design mistakes in the future.

Here’s my question for you:

Have you ever created or seen a presentation that had mismatched slides, random images, or any of the other design flaws discussed here? If so, how was the presentation received? Let me know what you think below and please try to be specific as possible. Also, which of these mistakes do you see the most in other people’s presentations? Sound off in the comments below!

Lastly, do you have a friend that could benefit from learning about these presentation design tips? If so, email them the link to this post.

Thanks for sharing and be sure to post this article on Twitter of Facebook as well (by using the sharing buttons to the left).

Hungry for more presentation design tips? Here are some suggested articles:

Hungry for more tips? Here are a few articles you might like:

5 Presentation Tools That Will Make Your Slides Stand Out

7 Presentation Design Trends You Need To Know About

10 Professional Presentation Templates That Don’t Suck

This post was also featured on SlideShare … Click here to follow us on SlideShare.

Presentation tips - Check out my ebook Slides Made Slimple Now!


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

professional powerpoint templates - 10 templates that don't suck

Having a cool PowerPoint template is CRITICAL if you want to have slides that will WOW an audience.

There are many different slide templates available online. Unfortunately, a good majority of these templates suck!

A well-crafted PowerPoint template has to get a lot of things right—from the fonts used in the slides to the graphics and colors in the presentation—and it’s by no means an easy feat.

If you don’t have the time to create your own template, or simply don’t want to create your own template, I recommend visiting Graphic River to purchase a pre-designed template that you can later customize with your own content and images.

Graphic River is essentially a marketplace for all things graphic related (templates, vector graphics, icons, fonts, etc.) and they sell professional presentation templates that are created by top graphic designers around the world. There are lots of different styles to choose from (over 2,000 templates and counting). And don’t worry… these PowerPoint templates look NOTHING like the boring templates that come with PowerPoint. Most of the good templates run around $15-$20 and you can be rest assured about quality because all of the templates submitted have to meet the high standards set by the Graphic River team.

The benefits of purchasing a professional PowerPoint template from Graphic River include:

  • Save Time – With a purchased template you can focus more on honing your message and less on building a template framework.
  • Elegant Design – The templates are clean, minimal, and look professional.
  • Customizable – All the templates are easy to customize. Simply add your text and swap out any images/graphics you don’t want.
  • Customer Support – If you ever have any questions about the template you can leave a comment and the person who designed the template will get back to you fairly quickly.
  • Designed for PowerPoint – The templates are designed to be edited in PowerPoint. No additional software needed.
  • Animations Included – For many of the templates offered, there are custom animations built into the template. If you don’t want the animations you can always remove them.

Note: Some of the PowerPoint slide templates are nicer than others, so make sure that you shop around. You can sort the templates by a number of different categories including: date, author, category, rating, sales, and price.

To save you time, I have reviewed and HANDPICKED some of the best templates from the Graphic River website. When you’re done checking these out I would love to know which one you like best! Seriously, leave me a comment! :)

Let’s get started!

Note: If you like any of these professional presentation templates, you can click on the template’s image (or click the link that says “Download Here”) to be taken  directly to Graphic River to purchase the template. Many of the templates discussed are also available in Keynote (for Mac users).

“Six” PowerPoint Template

PowerPoint templates - six template

The Six template is one of the best sellers on Graphic River and has over 4,600 sales to date.

It’s pretty easy to see why people gravitate towards this template. It has a modern and professional look which can be used across many different industries. There are a total of 45 slides to choose from and the template comes in 4 different color themes (including a dark version and light version).

One of the nice things about the Six template is that it has plenty of sleek and uncluttered-looking diagrams and charts.

A few other important mentions:

  • The template comes in both 4:3 and 16:9 format (i.e., Normal and Widescreen Mode)
  • Available in both PowerPoint and Keynote
  • Uses Novecento and Cantarell fonts

Download Here

Probrand” PowerPoint Template

cool powerpoint templates

If you are looking for a clean and creative business presentation look no further than the Probrand template. Probrand features 58 slides and comes with 4 different color themes. I would say the best part about this template is that many of the slides have a strong “sleek factor” to them, which almost makes the slides come across as “edgy.” This type of template would go great with any technology related presentations.

A few other important mentions:

  • 16:9 format only
  • 4 different color themes
  • Available in both PowerPoint and Keynote
  • Uses Oswald font

Download Here

Influencer” PowerPoint Template

Best PowerPoint Template - Professional PowerPoint Template - Cool PowerPoint Template - Influencer Presentation Template.jpg

Our team of Panda’s felt a strong yearning to create our own MAGICAL template that could take your presentations to the next level.

So after many a day and night of diligent work, many cups of coffee, and a veritable landfill’s worth of trash bins overflowing with scrapped designs, we have finally developed a professional presentation template that truly rocks!

A lot of love and tender care went into making each and every slide and we developed 200 UNIQUE slides for you to pick and choose from!! The possibilities are endless!

Best PowerPoint Template - Cool Presentation Template - Influencer Template


There are so many awesome features with this template including tons of sleek graphics and images, a clickable (choose your own adventure) “prezi like” table of contents, sleek animations and transitions, parallax scrolling, over 500 modern icons, beyond beautiful layouts, and much much more!

We get excited just thinking about it!

Download Here

“Grid” PowerPoint Template

professional powerpoint templates

Grid is another best-selling template with over 2,000 downloads to date. It features 32 modern yet minimalist slides, which leaves the slides feeling clean and uncluttered. It has a simple color scheme (blue and white), but you can choose among 6 other color options. With the Grid template your information will be displayed in a straightforward manner. The template is also a bit more conservative. Therefore, if you know your audience leans on the conservative (i.e., less edgy) side this template might be a great fit.

A few other important mentions:

  • 4:3 and 16:9 format
  • There are custom animated pages included
  • Features a combination of Arial and Bebas Neue fonts (one of Presentation Panda’s favorite fonts)
  • Available in PowerPoint only

Download Here

“Motagua” PowerPoint Template

cool powerpoint templates - slide templates - montagua

Motagua is a sexy template that will enchant your audience with its clean and elegant design. Beyond its sleek looks, it’s easy to change colors and modify shapes, texts, and charts.

Motagua is a steal considering it provides over 400 unique and fresh slides! The presentation template has a “corporate” look to it, an excellent choice for marketing presentations. Lastly, it contains a large number of graphics, stock photography, and custom illustrations which makes it stand out from all the rest. Motagua has that “universal classiness” that fits well for all presentations.

A few other important mentions:

  • 4:3 and 16:9 format
  • 60 different color themes
  • Available in both PowerPoint and Keynote

Download Here

“Corporate” PowerPoint Template

professional powerpoint templates from graphic river

Corporate is a clean and modern looking template with plenty of ready to use vector graphics, infographics, charts, tables, diagrams, maps and more. Almost all of the graphics follow a “flat” design style, and few are 3D. There are 119 slides included so there is plenty to pick and choose from here!

A few other important mentions:

  • 4:3 and 16:9 format
  • 22 different color themes
  • Available in both PowerPoint and Keynote
  • Uses Roboto font

Download Here

“Retro” PowerPoint Template

presentation templates that are professional

The Retro presentation template may not have the “corporate” look that some of the other templates have, but it does have a certain uniqueness that makes it stand out. As the name suggests, all the slides have a “retro” look and feel, which puts a smile on many people’s faces. Who doesn’t love the retro look these days?!?

The Retro template comes with 21 slides, and all of them are extra easy to edit. This cool looking PowerPoint template might be exactly what you need to make a strong impression.

A few other important mentions:

Download Here

“Premium International” PowerPoint Template

cool PowerPoint template - Premium template

The Premium International template is nothing short of premium. It features 56 uniquely designed slides that were created with full vector objects to allow for easy recoloring and rebranding.

What’s notable about this template is that it includes a lot of graphics that are layered on top of stock images which gives it a clean and modern look. On top of that, all the charts and diagrams have a simple look to them which makes them easy to scan.

Lastly, if you need to show maps in your presentation, this template has plenty of them!

A few other important mentions:

  • 4:3 and 16:9 format
  • 7 different color themes
  • Available in PowerPoint only
  • The images in the presentation are not included (due to copyright restrictions)
  • Uses Helvetica Light font (already installed on most computers)

Download Here

“Business Plan” PowerPoint Template

slide templates - professional templates

Similar to the “Grid” PowerPoint template, the Business Plan template has a minimal look that will go well with all types of presentations. The slides are clean and simple looking, which allows it to be used in many different industries. For example, this presentation could be used for real estate market review as much as it could be used for education and training.

If you’re looking to make a strong professional impact, go with this PowerPoint template. It has a very clean, formal look that is perfect for your next big presentation.

A few other important mentions:

  • 4:3 and 16:9 format
  • 3 different color themes
  • Available in PowerPoint only
  • Uses Calibri (already installed on most computers) and Open Sans

Download Here

“Zero” PowerPoint Template

powerpoint templates that are cool

The Zero template features over 200 slides of handcrafted awesomeness.

It features a bold color scheme (6 colors) that allows you to present a data-heavy talk in a way that is colorful and interesting.

The template also features a nice combination of flat and 3D diagrams. I typically recommend staying away from 3D in presentations (especially for charts), but the occasional 3D diagram can stand out as long as the information within the diagram is easy to scan.

Note: When deciding between flat design or 3D design just make sure your slides look consistent. Too much switching back-and-forth between the two styles can be distracting.

A few other important mentions:

  • The template comes in both 4:3 and 16:9 format
  • There are 7 color themes to choose from
  • There are custom animated pages built into the template. If you don’t want the animations you can always remove them.
  • Uses Lato font

Download Here

“Ever” PowerPoint Template

Professional PowerPoint Templates - Ever Template

The Ever template packs a lot of color and unique looking illustrations to keep your audience entertained. This unique PowerPoint template features 200 slides which can be used across a wide range of businesses. Probably the coolest part about this PowerPoint template is the fact that many of the slides have been designed in a Prezi like format where the slide design continuously bleeds onto the next slide (creating a seamless transition to the next slide).

A few other important mentions:

  • 4:3 and 16:9 format
  • 60 different color themes
  • Available in both PowerPoint and Keynote
  • Uses Calibri Nevis Raleway and Source Sans Pro fonts

Download Here

professional powerpoint templates from graphic river


Most of the PowerPoint templates available on the internet are pretty lousy. Fortunately, there are some good resources available for finding good ones such as Graphic River.

If you really want to make your PowerPoint presentation stand out from all the rest, then a professionally designed PowerPoint Template from Graphic River is essential.

Furthermore, downloading a pre-designed PowerPoint template can SAVE YOU A DECENT AMOUNT OF TIME when designing your presentation.

I hope you’ve found these PowerPoint templates helpful in terms of understanding what a good template looks like. As mentioned earlier, all the templates here are available for download on the Graphic River website.

Regardless of whether you are going to download a pre-designed PowerPoint template or make your own keep in mind that your presentation’s design needs to be SIMPLE. In other words, the template should not distract the audience in any way. Here are three important things to keep in mind:

  • Consistency is key. Make sure all of your colors, fonts, font sizes, and graphical treatment stays consistent throughout the entire slide deck.
  • Delete or hide distracting elements that are not essential to the key point you are making on the slide.
  • Less is more. Enough said!

Here is my question for you …

Which of the templates mentioned in this post 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 cool looking PowerPoint templates? 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 PowerPoint templates? Here are a few suggested posts:

SLIDEDOC PowerPoint Templates by Nancy Duarte … A Game Changer?

5 Tips For Designing A PowerPoint Template That Doesn’t Suck

Quality PowerPoint Template - Professional Presentation Template - Influencer Template

Presentation tips - Check out my ebook Slides Made Slimple Now!


Essential PowerPoint Design Tips From GrubHub’s Investor Presentation


PowerPoint presentation design tips - GrubHub investor presentation

If you’re looking for fresh PowerPoint design ideas, study investor presentations.

Initial Public Offering (IPO) presentations are a great way to learn how to present information in a simple, engaging, and compelling format. When companies are looking to go public there is a LOT of money on the line and these companies spend considerable amounts of time and resources to make sure that their presentations will impress potential investors.

The best investor presentations are comprised of slides that are short, sweet and to the point while being highly supported by research, data, and defensible assumptions. A perfect example of a lucrative and famous IPO presentation is GrubHub, Inc. In 2014 GrubHub, an online food ordering company, filed for an IPO and raised a whopping $192 million in its first public offering. If you’re not familiar with GrubHub, they are the nation’s leading online and mobile food ordering company dedicated to connecting hungry diners with local takeout restaurants. The company’s online and mobile ordering platforms allow diners to order directly from approximately 35,000 takeout restaurants in more than 900 U.S. cities and London.

In this post we are going to highlight several PowerPoint design tips by focusing on some of the slides from GrubHub’s IPO presentation. So, keep reading in order to learn several valuable lessons that you can incorporate into your own presentations.

Let’s get started!

#1. Create A Captivating Cover Slide

powerpoint design tips - lessons from GrubHub's investor presentation

One of the easiest ways to attract the attention of investors, or any other audience, is to start with a visually appealing cover slide. This slide in Grubhub’s presentation deck is an example of a simple cover slide that includes a logo and a couple of screenshots of their mobile application. There is not too much text and there is plenty of whitespace on slide that allows the slide to breathe.

It’s worth pointing out that the visuals on the slide have a nice looking “cut-out” effect where it looks like the images have been cut out and then pasted onto the slide.

Beyond the visuals, note how the presentation designer did a nice job of marrying the colors of the logo (red and white) with the colors on the slide. One trick that designers often use in presentations is to leverage the color scheme as heavily as possible. You will see throughout the presentation that the red and white color scheme was nicely incorporated.

If you’re hungry for more visually appealing PowerPoint cover slide examples, click here.

#2. Show Don’t Tell

powerpoint investor presentation - lessons from GrubHub's investor presentation

Any good presentation designer knows that it’s best to limit the number of words on each slide. Sticking to just a few simple key words or phrases makes it easier for your audience to follow the presentation. GrubHub’s “mission” slide clearly implements this technique. Their mission statement, “To make takeout better” is brief, and to the point. It’s also free of any jargon, buzzwords, complexity and confusion.

Beyond the short title, note that there is very little text on the rest of the slide too. Instead of GrubHub explaining “what they do” through a lengthy paragraph (which many presentation novices do), they chose to visually show how GrubHub connects people to restaurants by using a combination of visuals and a few key words (hungry diners and restaurants). In case you were not aware, pictures are far more memorable than words. In fact, studies have shown that people will only remember 10 percent of information when the content is delivered verbally, compared to 65 percent retention when information was conveyed through visuals! For more information on the importance of visuals, click here.

Along with nice visuals, GrubHub’s logo is carefully placed in the top right corner and fits nicely into the unique looking red shape (at the top of the slide). Having a well designed PowerPoint template is CRITICAL if you want to have slides that will WOW an audience. Therefore, strive to create a template that incorporates colors that fit in with your company’s branding. As you can see in the slide above, the red and white colors within the logo fit harmoniously with the rest of the slide’s design.

Additionally, the font throughout the presentation is a simple Calibri font, which goes to show that fonts already included with PowerPoint can work well if they are used in the right way. However, if you are still not convinced that Calibri is suitable for your presentations, you can check out some various font trends here.

Lastly, this slide continues the “cut-out” effect that was displayed on the cover slide and it also includes a nice “crumpled paper texture” in the background which adds to the overall effect to the slide. Textures (paper, wood, etc.) can make great backgrounds for your slides. Just make sure that your text is legible if you use them. A good place to find textures for your slides is Texture King.

#3. Dress Up Your Numbers

powerpoint design tips - powerpoint investor presentation example

Numbers and charts don’t have to be boring.

Most presentations tend to have slides that are cluttered with data and other statistics only to result in confusing or distracting slides. Instead, I recommend choosing the data or numbers that mean the most to your audience. This slide in the GrubHub deck is an example of how data should be displayed on your presentation slide. They do a nice job of directing the viewers attention to the four important callouts that appear on the left of the slide, which are easy to scan and understand. On the right hand side of the slide, the charts look clean without any gridlines, legends, or other distracting elements.

On another note, did you notice the aesthetically pleasing “paper cutouts” behind the four callouts on the left? This simple addition makes the information easier on the eye when scanning the slide. Lastly, the font color of all the numbers and text match the color of the bar charts on the right. Everything from the color palette to the font choice flows nicely throughout the slide.

#4. Design For Easy Scanning

powerpoint design tips - investor presentation template

This slide in GrubHub’s deck is another example of combining limited text with clean looking images to help deliver the slide’s message. The slide almost looks like something you would see in an infographic. In case you didn’t know, people love infographics! Presenting information in an infographic style format can help your audience process complex or extensive information.

As mentioned earlier, people are highly visual in nature. Our ability to quickly interpret visual information is far greater than that of written words. By creating visualizations, using the combination of words and text, you can make complex information easier to understand.

The point of an infographic is to take complex information and make it easier to take in through graphical reinforcement. Your goal then is to create something that can be consumed as quickly as possible. Not every little scrap of information needs to be communicated in an instant, but the overall gist of the data should at least be perceivable in under a few seconds. This slide clearly accomplishes that objective.

Beyond the infographic style design, the presentation designer also does a good job of showing the references in a super small font at the bottom left corner of the slide. That way the audience remains focused on the slide’s key points instead of getting wrapped up in the details of the reference.

#5. Not All Bullets Are Bad

powerpoint design tips - investor presentation lessons from GrubHub

Bullet lists seem to be the foundation of many presentations. And while bullet lists aren’t necessarily bad, most users overuse and misuse them. Anyone with the most basic knowledge of PowerPoint can create a slide with bullet points. However, it takes a good presentation designer to use bullet points effectively. While many presentation designers will tell you to avoid bullet points at all costs, I believe you can use them if you use them minimally.

If you are going to use bullet points, make sure to limit both the number of bullets and the number of words per bullet. Otherwise, you run the risk of your presentation turning out dull, boring, and mind-numbing. As you can see in the above slide, the bullet points contain a max of three words. You can also see that there are only four bullets on the slide. By keeping the number of bullets to a minimum people can better remember what is being pointed out. The last thing you want to do is bore your audience with a long list of bullets. Doing so will most likely make them forget what you said in your presentation.

If you can get the number of bullets down to three that’s even better. You will see why in the next section below.

#6. Harness the Power of Three

powerpoint design tips - GrubHub IPO presentation - investor presentation tips

Did you know that presenting things in sets of three will make your presentation more interesting and memorable?

People can remember three pieces of information really well in short-term memory. If you add more than 3 items retention falls off considerably, and as more and more items are added to a list, the average person retains less and less. Four items are a bit harder to remember than three. Five items are even harder. Once the number of items on a list hits eight, most people have little chance of remembering the entire sequence.

As you can see from this “How it works” slide, GrubHub does a nice job of harnessing the power of three. By illustrating that all people have to do is “search, order, and eat” when using their product tells the world that their food ordering process is extremely simple. And we all know that people like things that are simple!

Steve Jobs was famous for using the Rule of Three in his presentations. For example, when he announced the second generation of iPads, he mentioned that they were “thinner, lighter, and faster” than the first. These three adjectives were highly effective and said everything the audience needed to know.

For some different examples of how you can harness the power of three in your presentations, click here.


GrubHub successfully created a clean, engaging, and organized IPO presentation. The simple messaging throughout the presentation made it easy for the audience to follow along and understand the key reasons why GrubHub is a great company to invest in.

Communicating your message with clarity is everything. With the limited amount of time allotted to present and captivate investors, presenting with passion, simplicity, and power is key! So next time you need to create a simple, engaging, and compelling presentation, pitch it like GrubHub.

After viewing GrubHub’s investor presentation what was your reaction? Do you think they did a good job with designing and organizing their slides? Next time you create a presentation, will you model it after the GrubHub presentation? Sound off in your comments below.

Also, do you have a friend that is currently creating an important presentation that could benefit from the information in this post? 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 these PowerPoint design tips, please remember to like and share using the share buttons to the left!

Image Credits

Cover image designed by Freepik (modified by Presentation Panda)

All other images are part of GrubHub’s 2014 investor presentation

Presentation tips  - Check out my ebook Slides Made Slimple Now!


How To Harness The Power Of Three In Your Presentations

PowerPoint Tips - Why Three Is Your New Favorite Number

Have you ever worked on a PowerPoint presentation and felt like you just couldn’t get the right look? Well, sometimes all you need is a bit of help from one magic number… THREE!

The number three can dramatically improve the look of your PowerPoint slide design, and provide some simple guidelines to get the design ideas flowing. Presenting in sets of three can make your PowerPoint presentations more enjoyable, interesting, and memorable.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways that you can leverage the number three in your next PowerPoint presentation

1. Use Three Font Sizes

A simple and helpful technique is to use three different font sizes. Always make sure your heading, or the text you want to bring attention to most, is the biggest. This is important because the eye is naturally drawn to large elements first.

PowerPoint Tips - Use Three Fonts

2. Choose Three Colors

Choosing a color palette of three colors is another way to incorporate the number three. A three palette color combination will create variation and visual appeal to a slide.

You can actually create a really nice color palette based off a favorite image that you would like to use in your presentation.

To create the palette, an easy way to start is to choose one of the darkest hues as your first color. Depending on the mood or theme of your design, choose two additional complimentary colors. Below is an example of a color palette that complements the colors of the original image.

When you are working with color, be sure to apply the 60-30-10 rule. This rule refers to avoiding the use of equal amounts of the three colors to achieve good results. The rule is to divide colors into percentages of 60, 30, and 10. The primary color should cover about 60% of the space to create the overall unifying theme of the slide. 30% should be covered by the secondary color to create contrast and visual interest. Finally, the accent color should cover about 10% of the space to provide a final touch to your slide design.

Presentation Tips - PowerPoint Tips - Use Three Colors

3. Make Three Key Points

Another simple technique for harnessing the “power of three” is to make three key points on each slide or build your entire presentation around three key themes. People tend to only remember three things. Therefore, if you want your information to stick, choose three main points to that you want to get across and then design accordingly (as seen in the image below).

Presentation Tips - PowerPoint Tips - Make Three Points

4. Combine Three Elements

If you’re stuck for design ideas, try creating a layout using three elements. Limiting your image to three main elements will help you achieve a clean and professional look.

For example, in the slide below there are three elements:

Element #1: A background image of a forest

Element #2: Some text “Campfire Stories”

Element #3: An icon of a campfire

The combination of these three elements makes the slide stand out.

PowerPoint Tips - Presentation Tips - Use Three Elements

5. Use a Grid to Place Three Images

If you have a bunch of images that you want to show, you can create a grid made up of three sections to present them in a nice clean format. The nice thing about grids is that they give the impression of a visual narrative (like the one seen below).

You can arrange the grid however you like. Just keep in mind that the most important image should be placed within the biggest area.

PowerPoint Tips - Presentation Tips - Use A Three Grid Layout

6. Use the Rule of Thirds

The rule of thirds is one of the most basic composition guidelines in photography. The idea behind the rule of thirds is to break an image down into thirds (both horizontally and vertically) so that you have 9 parts (as seen in the image below).

The theory is that if you place points of interest in the intersections or along the lines that your photo becomes more balanced and will enable a viewer to interact more with it more naturally. Positioning critical photographic elements at the left, right, top, or bottom of the grid, instead of smack in the middle of the frame, naturally adds visual interest to the composition.

Now, don’t take this rule too seriously. The rule of three is a guideline that can be bent. Essentially, the main takeaway is that an odd-number of items is more interesting than an even-number of items. You can achieve the same visual interest by arranging 5 items or 9 items into a grouping. So, don’t be scared to mix it up and have fun doing it.

PowerPoint Tips - Presentation Tips - Use The Rule Of Thirds


I hope you found these presentation tips useful!

The point of this post is not to make you feel as though you should always incorporate the rule of three, but rather to inspire you to use the rule of three to make your slides stand out.

When you fully understand the concept of using “three” you’ll start thinking about proportions differently and more carefully consider the way you distribute items in your presentations.

My question for you…

Now that you know about the power of presenting in a set of three, will you use any of the presentation tips mentioned above to improve your next presentation?

This presentation is also on SlideShare!


Image Credits

Three Ducks (remixed by Adam Noar) / Aaron Escobar

Three Sisters (remixed by Adam Noar) / Jeeves Miguel

Piggy In The Middle (remixed by Adam Noar) / Holly Occhipinti

The Snow Mountain Which Burns (remixed by Adam Noar) / T hino

Style (remixed by Adam Noar) / Beverley Goodwin

_MG_8025 (remixed by Adam Noar) / Babbagecabbage

Deeper Roots (remixed by Adam Noar) / 5chw4r7z

Gaviotas de Alta Sociedad (remixed by Adam Noar) / Jonathan Pincas

花瓶頂 (remixed by Adam Noar) / Kevin Law

Jacobi Falls Trail (remixed by Adam Noar) / Nicholas A. Tonelli

Ladybower Woods (remixed by Adam Noar) / Dan Cook

Noun Project / Camera Stand (remixed by Adam Noar) / Phu Tran

Noun Project / Sun / Dmitry Baranovskiy

Noun Project / Hand Framing / MoRiza

Noun project / Twitter (remixed by Adam Noar) / Maria Maldonado

Noun Project / Heart / Laurent Canivet

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