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10 Clever Tricks for Adding Text to Images

Presentation Design Tips -10 Better Ways to Add Text to Images

When you are creating a PowerPoint presentation and want it to look as snazzy as possible, there is a lot you can do to make your slides shine with the brightness and glory of a thousand suns. You can add beautiful background textures, have perfectly complimentary fonts, or avoid the hassle of doing it yourself and just buy a ready-made template from the get-go. Even so, if you are not careful your text can look boring. Another way to make your presentation slides look spiffy (and certainly not boring) is to change up the way you add text to a picture. Here are ten clever and easy to implement presentation design tips for mixing up your text display and maximizing your PowerPoint potential.

1. Add Some Perspective

PowerPoint Design Tips - Add Perspective

Sometimes it can be a good idea to play around with the perspective in your slide—keeping your text front and center in the foreground all the time can get a bit stale. A great way to change up the monotony is to set the text so that it appears to be receding backwards into the image, Star Wars opening-credits style. Especially in this image you can see how, with such a strong line receding into the distance—everything from both rows of pine trees to the road moving straight into the background—it is basically a no-brainer to tilt the text backwards to compliment the overall thrust of the photo itself. Don’t forget that you can go in the other direction and change up the perspective so that the text appears to be coming out at your views like in a 3D movie.

2. Make the Text Part of the Scene

Presentation Design Tips - Explore

I swear I’m not a forest hermit or something—I really like this first image because it is a perfect example of integrating your display text into the scene of the image you’re using.

In this image example you see a slightly different version to this same approach. This time, the display text is manipulated to conform to the contours of the mountain that is the focal point of the image, creating a clear tie-in between the image itself and the idea being expressed. It’s a great concept and in theory should not be too hard to mess up, unless you overthink it. This cool PowerPoint text effect is a brilliant way to get your audience’s attention and help them better understand the talking point you might have in a slide, because rather than separating the idea from the picture, you make those two components into the same thing.

3. Add Icons for Emphasis

Presentation Design Tips - Add Icons

Sometimes the best way to get your point across is to add simple, preferably flat-designed icons to your presentation slides. It goes without saying that if you do use an icon or vector, make sure that it compliments your image. In this case I took a photo of a mysteriously misty lake and forest (OK, maybe I am actually a forest hermit) and added a cool looking wolf icon that for obvious reasons compliments not only the display text, but also the image. When you add an icon to your presentation slide you have the opportunity to reinforce the message you are trying to send to your audience (like building a blazing campfire in the woods) without having to rely solely on words.

4. Go Big

Presentation Design Tips - Go Bold

Size matters (at least when it comes to the size of your display text). Sometimes you do not have to do anything else to an image to make it stand out other than smack some size 225 font text on that puppy and let it do all the talking. A few caveats to this tip, however: if you do decide to go for some XXL-sized display text, pick a font that will look good doing it. Notice that I used Bebas Neue, a no-nonsense font that is easy to read while big or small. If you go big, there is really no reason to use a fancypants font. Another tip to keep in mind is that you should make sure that the image you match it up with is not too cluttered, visually, if you use a mega-sized display text. Keep the compositional clutter to a minimum so that your huge words have less commotion going on in the background—that way you can really maximize the effect.

5. Combine 2-3 Different Font Sizes

Presentation Design Tips - Combine Mulitple Font Sizes

Playing off the concept of using ultra-sized fonts, another great way to create eye-catching visuals with your display text is to mix up the size of your text. As you can see, this technique looks great and is quite effective at drawing your attention to the bigger, more significant keywords in the text. To optimize the visual impact of this sort of display, it probably is best to have a longer phrase with anywhere from 5 to 12 words in them, that way you can vary the font size in sizeable chunks of words. Did you notice that I applied the same text effect in tip #2 to make the words part of the scene? It looks as though the woman in the picture is reading the words on the slide.

6. Be Bold with Keywords

PowerPoint Design Tips - Emphasize Keywords

As you know by now, it is very important to be concise with the text you use on presentation slides, because no one wants to hear you reading an essay during a PowerPoint presentation. So when you create display text for a slide, it should already be pared down to the essentials. A useful method for conveying the most prominent information to your readers is to highlight keywords in your image. There are a few ways to pull this off. The first one, as mentioned before, is to draw attention to the most significant words in the text by making them significantly larger than the other words in the text.

As you can see in the image example, the keyword “definitely” dwarfs the rest of the text. It also helps that is placed front and center in the middle of the image—you just can’t miss it. This is a good example of not relying just on increasing font size, but also playing around with more eye-popping fonts or using bold typeface or italics to draw your audience’s attention. And always try to select font colors that, like in both these cases, especially pop out in contrast to the image color scheme.

7. Play with Orientation

Presentation Design Tips - Play with Orientation

The orientation, or angle at which you present your text, is another variable at your control when you are designing effective display text for your presentation slides. You can achieve all sorts of different effects by playing with the orientation of the words.
As you can see in the image I made the display text appear more whimsical. Here the orientation fits into a cohesive scheme, as it compliments the loopy, cursive font choice (a great example of being bold with keywords) and the quirky, swooshing curlicue that finishes extravagantly beneath the text. It is a great example of how you can shift the orientation of the text, but also other elements in the image to create a balanced composition and a beautiful slide.

8. Add Shapes for Emphasis

Presentation Design Tips - Add Shapes for Emphasis

Especially if you are using a bright, catchy image background it can sometimes be difficult to make your display text stand out. While making the font really big is one solution, this detracts from the image itself, and you probably do not want to resort to using overly flashy colors of font styles (again, with exceptions) to highlight your text. Instead, a perfect solution to creating instant contrast and drawing attention to your words is to add semi-transparent shapes as background filler behind your display text.
In the example image, not only are the words in the display text superimposed over a circle, but then a series of dotted concentric circles accompanies it, with the circles fading into ever gentler shades as they radiate outwards from the words. Using a dark, simple shape to slip in between a white-dominated image and the light font color is an elegant solution to creating contrast and maximizing visual balance between the image and the display text.

9. Stack your Text Into an Invisible Shape

PowerPoint Design Tips - Stack Text

A particularly clever arrangement involves grouping the display text into an invisible shape in contrast to whatever is in the image background. The effect works best with a good number of words, and acts as a compositional foil to the tangible image that is presented with it. In the case of this example, the display text is shaped into a vertical rectangle in front of a jagged mountain peak, with swirling clouds filling in the foreground. Ideally you would shape your words in a way that compliments the message. Here, “life begins outside your comfort zone” is compressed into an invisible box, with the wild scenery in the background implying that life is metaphorically just beyond the comfort zone written in words. Get creative with your words and try this the next time you want to add an extra, implicit layer of meaning to your presentation slides.

10. Combine Light and Bold Fonts Together for Impact

Presentation Design Tips - Combine Bold and Light Fonts

The last tip I have to share with you is combining light and bold fonts together to highlight your most important ideas. Uniform fonts are a little bit dull, so adding boldface to your font or choosing one font that is narrow and another one that tends to be on the thick side is a great way to create visual impact. For this to work best, you do need to make sure that the color saturation and contrast of the image you use does not interfere visually in places where your display text overlaps, because thin fonts will stand out in different ways from bold fonts.


Coming up with better ways to display text in your slide presentations doesn’t have to be rocket science, but as you can see it is a very effective and ultimately enjoyable task. With the right application you can design beautiful, varied text that brings your slideshow to another level.

If you follow any of these ten cool text effects your presentations will no doubt look spectacular! Don’t forget that if you are still not sure what sort of text looks good, you can 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 adding text to a picture? Any other tricks 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 how to add text to images? Here are some suggested articles:

5 Methods For “Overlaying Text On Images” That Will Surely Impress A Crowd

5 Presentation Font Trends For 2015

10 Tips For Selecting Images For Your Presentations

This post was also featured on SlideShare. Make sure to follow us over there!

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


Designing Presentation Templates the Right Way (5 Simple Tips)

Presentation Design Tips - How to design an awesome presentation template

Hey there, fellow presentation pandas. Similar to feats of bravery including rescuing someone from a burning building, telling off someone who cut in front of you in line, or covering yourself in chum and diving into shark-infested seas, it takes guts and iron resolve to design a really awesome presentation template. There are so many things that can go wrong when it comes to creating the perfect presentation slide, and so you must tread cautiously when attempting to come up with your PowerPoint presentation, because having a well-designed template is critical to your success. But rather than quaking in your Italian-designed business shoes and giving up all hope of ever having a clean and professional looking presentation, take heed. There are some fundamental truths to making really awesome presentation templates, and I am going to guide you through them in five easy steps.

Presentation Template Tip #1: Buy a Template from a Professional Designer

Presentation Design Tips - How to design an awesome presentation template - Tip#1

Especially if you are on a tight budget or are simply a bit of a control freak, it can be tempting to go it alone and confront PowerPoint or Photoshop head on and design a template from scratch, not unlike how Captain Ahab made the reckless decision to face Moby Dick. The problem here is that if you are a busy, busy bee (no doubt you are) and you have other projects to juggle, chances are high that whatever sort of slide template you come up with be lacking somewhere. Maybe the fonts that you choose will fail to match up correctly. It might be that your colors look like they were chosen by a colorblind 2 year old chimp. Perhaps you nail those two elements but you wreck your slide template with unnecessarily distracting elements which take away from the main focal point of your slide. Or maybe your formatting just does not add up.

Whatever it is, your audience will take notice. Why not save yourself the worry and leave the fundamentals to a trained professional? Plenty of graphic designers specialize in creating beautiful, seamless PowerPoint slides, and it does not cost that much to hire someone on to do the heavy design lifting for you. A great—and even better yet, free!—resource to browse for stunningly awesome presentation templates is Graphic River, which offers great deals on slide presentation templates in addition to serving as a handy general resource to consult if you do decide to go it alone and create your own presentation from scratch. As Picasso said, the greatest artists are the ones who steal the most—you do not need to completely plagiarize someone else’s design, but if you see certain elements that you really like, such as a gorgeous texture or lovely gradients that add depth to an image, you can always do your best to riff off of what you see.

But seriously, for an extra $15 or $20 it is a pretty good investment on your part to consider some of the gorgeous premade templates out there. There is a design to fit just about every taste, topic, and tone—from retro to corporate and everything in between. Here are a bunch of great templates to get you started.

Presentation Template Tip #2: Choose a Color Theme

Presentation Design Tips - How to design an awesome presentation template - Tip #3

Color is one of the big make or break aspects of a presentation slide that you need to be careful about. Ideally, the colors that you choose will match up harmoniously—generally speaking, you can use your gut to ascertain if the combination of primary, secondary and tertiary colors you are using goes together, but there are definitely other resources to depend on in case you are not sure which colors go where.

To give you an idea of what color harmony looks like, let’s revisit the title slide of this presentation. First of all, I picked a primary color that was strong without being too over the top or garish. A nice cool green, like the ocean when the sun is out and shining strong, sets a relaxing, fun tone. Orange—technically, somewhere between orange and burnt sienna—plays off the coolness of the green and gives a bit of visual warmth to the composition, as well as draws your eye. Finally, a charcoal gray color rounds out the trio and provides small details to offset what would otherwise be a two dimensional and boring setup. White is the primary color for the font itself, and you will notice that I also incorporated white into the pencil image. Using the same color between two different elements reinforces the visual integrity of the slide and provides a subtle motif meant to unify the design as a whole.

Furthermore, you will notice two areas of the slide where different shades of the same colors are used: Going from left to right, there is a diagonal partition where the green background goes from dark to light. Also, the bottom half of the pencil appears a shade darker from the top half. Both of these color gradations are used to give the flat design just a slight popping effect—without it, the slide would appear a bit more two dimensional than I would want it to be.

In case you want to know even more about complimentary color patterns and how to create visual motifs in your slide presentation with color, another great resource at your disposal is Design Seeds, which allows you to test out different color palettes. Design Seeds features color schemes adjacent to in situ images showing what sort of colors to use in relation to different images, sort of the same way that Type Genius will give you an idea of what fonts work best together.

Presentation Template Tip#3: Hide Distracting Elements

Presentation Design Tips - How to design an awesome presentation template - Tip #2

One of the most important aspects of creating a beautiful presentation template is keeping things as simple as possible. That is why it is so important to hide distracting elements that basically serve no good except to clutter up the visual field of your slide. In slide design, less is always more, and you should follow this tenet ruthlessly. Slides need to breathe! They do not need to be cluttered up with any of the following:

  • Company logos (apart from the first page, maybe)
  • Client logos (also good to include once but no more)
  • Legal disclaimers (as a rule of thumb, you want to avoid using more than a few words on a slide, so legalese is certainly out of the question)
  • Website address (include this on the cover slide or on your “contact us” slide)
  • Header graphics (no. just no. All this does is cramps the slide and takes up precious white space)
  • Long survey questions (presentation slides should avoid anything that will put people to sleep, and this is right at the top of that list)

So the next time that you are looking into designing a good presentation template, do not make the mistake of going overboard and trying to put in clever looking yet unnecessary images such as logos or photos or anything beyond the bare essentials. If you absolutely must include lots of visual clutter, consider creating more slides and dispersing the images across them in a less concentrated manner. There is nothing wrong with having more slides with less elements on them; there is definitely going to be a problem if you have less slides with more elements on them.

On the other side of things, if you need to have some cool visual elements on your slide and are at a loss for where to find them or how to arrange them, this useful piece will shed some light on keeping everything looking in perfect order.

Presentation Template Tip#4: Use Nice Looking Fonts

Presentation Design Tips - How to design an awesome presentation template - Tip #4

You are not in college anymore; you do not have to write out everything in Times New Roman or Arial font. Or Calibri. Or *gasp* Comic Sans. This pertains especially to creating an elegant and pleasant to look at presentation slide. Please, please do yourself the credit of using a font that does not scream “English Literature 101 Final Essay.” It really is not hard to find beautiful, minimalist fonts, and you usually do not have to pay anything to download them. One of the best resources for finding fonts is Font Squirrel, which allows you to browse a huge collection of custom designed fonts by some of the best graphic designers out there. Best of all, it costs nothing to download the fonts there and then implement them into your presentation slide, so you do not have to spend money to ensure that your slide looks its absolute best.

The reason why you want to use nice looking fonts in your presentation slide is because no matter how good your ideas are, if they are presented on a plain white background and in Helvetica, you will lose your audience to the crushing weight of boredom.

Spice things up a bit!

But before you get too creative, also consider that it is not a good idea to use more than two fonts. Anything more than that and there will be major visual inconsistencies in your design. Choose two fonts that complement each other visually; for example, use something bold and catchy for a header, and if you have a few small bullet points beneath, use a font that is elegant, slim and easy to read. You should also make sure that your fonts are not in conflict with each other—this happens when you either choose nearly identical fonts or two fonts which are way, way too different from each other. There are a bunch of other important things to keep in mind regarding font selection and if you have any other questions you should really look at this article on how to properly combine fonts.

Presentation Template Tip#5: Keep Everything Consistent

Presentation Design Tips - How to design an awesome presentation template - Tip #5

It is great to have varying degrees of contrast in your work, but there is such a thing as having too much variety in your presentation slide. When this happens, it looks kind of like a fire juggler attempting to unicycle against traffic while balancing a goldfish bowl in his lap and playing the harmonica. In other words, it does not look good. Inconsistencies can happen in a single slide, or sometimes they play out across the entire presentation, from one slide to another.

There are a ton of common errors people overlook when they build a presentation slide, so try seeing if you can spot the mistakes that I deliberately made here.

The first mistake is in the first slide. There is no reason to change the color of the font halfway through from white to gray. Especially on the green background, the gray font makes it harder, not easier to read.

The second mistake occurs in the second slide. All of a sudden the horizontal bands that run across the slide have changed in color from black to white.

The third slide contains a bunch of different mistakes that you should always avoid. First of all, the background is inexplicably gray when it should match the green background in the first two slides. Second of all, the font stays the same shade of white, which makes it almost impossible to read the words on the slide. Third, the word “elements” is not capitalized, unlike in every other instance when all the words are written in capital letters. Fourth, the horizontal band running across the top is the right color, but it is missing its twin down at the bottom. Finally, the font in the third slide is different than the first two slides.

Now you should have a pretty good idea of what an inconsistent slide looks like, so try not to make the same mistakes when you design your next presentation.


Presentation Design Tips - How to design an awesome presentation template - Summary

Now you know what goes into making a perfect presentation template, I hope you tackle your next big presentation with aplomb. Consider going to Graphic River and picking up a readymade template, or now that you know the ropes, try making your own.

But before you go, I’d like to know your thoughts. When you make a presentation slide, do you have any go-to resources that you use for selecting the right font, color scheme, or template? Let us know; we can always learn a bit more!

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!



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 Presentation Tools That Will Make Your Slides Stand Out

Presentation Design Tips - 5 Tools To Make Creating Slides Easier

Like an elegantly crafted ham sandwich, cheeseburger, or croque monsieur, a good PowerPoint presentation is filled with yummy details that accentuate your talking points and keep your audience perked up and salivating to learn more.

This is why it’s so important to consider not only the content of your presentation, but also the way in which it is presented. Ever endure a monochrome presentation at a conference before? Even if it was about an interesting topic, chances are that you probably felt bored within a couple minutes. A well-thought out presentation design will make a ton of difference in captivating your audience and ensure that you don’t hear snoring during your presentation.

Lucky for you, there are tons of FREE PRESENTATION TOOLS at your disposal to enhance your slides and turn them from boring to awesome. Here at Presentation Panda, we’re all about finding clever hacks to pimp out your slides in record time. Whether it’s coming up with gorgeous backgrounds for your slides, selecting complimentary font styles, or innovating with screenshots and other images, it’s little things like this that will take your presentation from good to great. That’s why you’ll love these five presentation design tools: they’re free, easy to use, and will make your next presentation look fantastic.

Presentation Tool #1: The Pattern Library

PowerPoint Design Tips - ThePattern Library

Presentation Design Tips - The Pattern Library

The Pattern Library is a free project started by graphic designers Tim Holman and Claudio Guglieri. Navigating the site is simple: you scroll endlessly through rich images custom designed by graphic designers from all over the web, and when you find one you like you hover your mouse over the title of the image in the upper left corner and then click to download.

One of the lovely features of Pattern Library is that its seemingly infinite collection of images fit just about every scenario, palate, and topic imaginable. Themes such as “White Wood” and “Leather Nunchuck” hew towards minimalist Scandinavian aesthetics, while whimsical themes such as “Ahoy” or this mouth-watering “Fried Chicken and Waffles” background present a lighter tone for your presentation. You can also find color-based themes, ethnic/cultural themes, and more.

These free patterns can easily be used within your designs to pep them up, or simply as some inspiration if you’re not quite sure what to make your presentation about. Since Pattern Library is open source and literally any designer can contribute his or her creations to the project, it doubles as a great way to search for talented designers who might be able to help you with other design-related projects you have in the works.

Bonus Tip:

Of course, maybe the kind of topic you’re presenting on, or the audience you’re presenting to, isn’t interested in seeing slides with loopy science-themed graphics (which is a darn shame, because we’re all about making slides fun). In that case, another great database full of more SUBTLE patterns to use on your slide is the aptly-named Subtle Patterns, which is much less in-your-face than Pattern Library but no less beautiful.

Like Pattern Library, Subtle Patterns features open-source, downloadable content from designers all over the world. Unlike Pattern Library, instead of bright colors and richly-detailed themes, the ones here skew towards cream, off-white, beige, gray, and occasionally black. The grayscale chromatics are complimented to perfection by more subdued details, such as swirls, chevrons and other geometric patterns, and the patterns sometimes feature tongue-in-cheek names such as Honey I’m Subtle. That said, you can still find less conventional design details in the Subtle Patterns library, such as wild flowers. What all of the Subtle Patterns designs have in common is a focus on muted tones and colors, allowing your presentation’s content to really pop forward.

Presentation Tool #2: Type Genius

Presentation Design Tips - PowerPoint Tips - Type Genius

Presentation Tips - Type Genius

Ah, Type Genius. It doesn’t get any simpler, creative—or genius—than this. Need to pair two fonts together? Type Genius finds the perfect match for one font type, and gives you a live example of the two fonts working together. This site lets you peek over the shoulder of other designers to see which fonts look great together.

Even the biggest design n00b in the world can figure out how Type Genius works in approximately 2 seconds, which is one of the reasons it’s such a great design tool for presentation slides, not to mention any other type of design work involving complimentary fonts. First you select a starter font, which is probably the single most challenging part of using this great design site. And really, it’s only difficult because of the dizzying array of 53 font choices at your disposal.

If you’re in the mood for something bold and eye-catching, especially if it’s a header, a font such as Bebas Neue might be exactly what you’re looking for. But what, pray tell, should you do with the body text in your presentation slide? This is where Type Genius comes in and does the heavy lifting for you. It curates a shortlist of perfectly complimentary typesets and fonts that will look great alongside your starter font, saving you from the headache of having to figure it all out yourself.

Each complimentary font in the shortlist comes with a nifty text sample on the page so you can see what it looks like in situ. Type Genius would already be fantastically useful if it stopped here, but it doesn’t. Adjacent to the text sample is a screenshot of a real life website utilizing the starter font you originally select and the complimentary font suggested by Type Genius, so you can see what your font looks like in the wild (kind of like how watching pandas in the wild is a more authentic experience than seeing them stuck in a zoo).

Lastly, you can go directly to the font page on Adobe Typekit and download it, browse other similar fonts, view what the font looks like in various weights and styles such as bold, italics, and font size. Adobe Typekit also provides more information about the font designer, in case you want to see more work by the same creator. The next time you’re setting up a presentation and looking for the perfect font design, look no further.

Presentation Tool #3: Place It

PowerPoint Tools - Texture King

Presentation Design Tips - PowerPoint Tips - PlaceIt

If you like the concept of Skitch and recognize the importance of utilizing awesome screenshots, you’ll definitely love Place It. If you want to take it one step further and package your screenshot in a fun and engaging way, this is the design tool you’ve always dreamed of.

Perhaps calling it a tool isn’t really the right word; it basically contextualizes an image, screenshot, or even video recorded on your device directly onto one of over six hundred free product mockups. You can drag and drop your screenshot or other image directly into the mockup.

Pretty much any scenario you can possibly imagine is accounted for in Place It’s series of mockups. You can keep things simple with still image mockups of screenshots on a Macbook Pro and nothing else, or you can get crazy and place screengrabs from your smartphone directly into mockup scenes that run the gamut of your imagination. There are mockups scenes of a guy drinking bourbon, a woman sitting on a bench in a park, and even a woman sitting in her living room reading a book with her lapdog by her side. In other words, there’s probably a scene that’s perfect for whatever topic your presentation might be about.

The great benefit of using Place It mockups to present screenshots or video of your app in action can’t be overestimated. Nothing makes a better impact than showing your audience exactly what your product can do in real life, which is why Place It should be an integral part of your presentation design toolbox. Showing a video featuring hand gestures and engaging user videos will convey a greater sense of realism and add that extra bit of jazz to your presentation. It is worth pointing out that if you’d like a higher resolution image, you can pay per image or buy a subscription, but neither of these cost very much, and in any case the default image resolution settings are already more than acceptable.

Presentation Tool #4: Skitch

PowerPoint Design Tips - Skitch - Screenshot Tool

Presentation Design Tips - ScreenShot Tool - Skitch

When you need to further illustrate a point in your presentation, sometimes that purpose can be served by including a screenshot. While you can always turn to Microsoft Paint to capture a screenshot and to do basic annotation, it’s a clearly limited, primitive program and can make your presentation screenshots look lackluster.  There are other screen capture tools out there, but none of them allow you to annotate and customize images to a great degree. The solution to boring, plain vanilla screenshots is Skitch, an app designed by Evernote and available across just about every platform, including Microsoft, Apple, and Android.

Skitch is a super user-friendly screen capture tool—most of the reviews in the Google Store mention how easy and quick it is to use– that is designed to do just that, but it takes it one level further by allowing for richly customized screen annotations that can be saved a JPG, BMP, TIFF, or PNG files. Draw your audience’s attention by highlighting, outlining, and marking up especially important parts of your screenshot. A deep treasure trove of add-on features such as pop-up shapes, arrows, and quick sketches facilitates your presentation with fewer words, which is always a plus. And because of Skitch’s intuitive design, it is ideal for manipulating images from your smartphone or tablet.

If there is a caveat to using Skitch, it is that it is a freemium app. Most of the content is free to use, but if you want to turn notes into presentations or access notes while you’re offline you’ll have to pay either $25 or $50 to upgrade it for a year. Still, it’s an invaluable tool for adding simple-to-read screenshots on your presentations, so it’s an investment worth making.

Best Presentation Template - Best PowerPoint Template - Professional Presentation Template

Presentation Tool #5: Texture King

PowerPoint Tools - Presentation Design Tips - Texture King

PowerPoint Tips - Textures - Presentation Design Tips

You never quite know when you need a good texture, and we don’t always have the option to go out and take a snapshot of them ourselves, so that’s where computer generated textures come to the rescue. With a huge database of meticulously organized textures, Texture King will make sure your presentations will never be devoid of rich, evocative textures again.

What makes Texture King so remarkable is that its offers a diverse field of pretty much every texture theme you can think of. Categories include concrete, wood, stone/rock, metals, fabric, paint, rust, plastic, dirt/sand, liquids, glass, plaster, and something wonderful called grunge. Besides offering incredibly beautiful themes, any design site that has a category named after music best associated with plaid shirts, long greasy hair, and Kurt Cobain is pretty awesome.

All those different textures go a very long way in giving your presentation slides a distinct and bold personality, which is something completely lacking in so many basic PowerPoint presentations. If you are delivering a presentation on contemporary architectural design trends, your choice of a distressed concrete texture theme will be a subtle nod to the increasingly popular use of industrial materials. If your presentation is about the real estate foreclosure market in California then a chipped plaster theme might give off a subtle undertone of disrepair and neglect, which is pretty much true for a lot of empty bank-owned homes.

Beyond the subtle pairing of a texture with a complimentary presentation topic, the implementation of a high quality texture background like the ones available from Texture King means that your presentations will look really, really beautiful. While content itself is king, it’s the addition of richly textured backgrounds that will shoot your presentations over the top and grab your audience’s attention.


Presentation design is all about making your design compliment your content.

Using these design tools will take you one step closer to building the perfect slides and engaging your audience as effectively as possible.

So, here’s my question to you:

After reading this article can you see how even something as subtle as font design or the way you present a screenshot can grab someone’s attention? How do you think you can utilize apps such as Skitch or Place It to make an out-of-the-box impact on your next presentation? Share your thoughts 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 reading and be sure to share this article if you enjoyed it (by using the sharing buttons to the left).

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

5 Presentation Font Trends for 2015

7 Presentation Design Trends You Need To Know About

10 Professional Presentation Templates That Don’t Suck

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Impress Your Audience by Following These 5 Presentation Design Trends

presentation design tips - presentation trends 2015

Similar to websites, presentation design trends change over time and are influenced by a number of different factors.

The following is a list five presentation design trends I expect to continue to see this year and what you can look forward to in the presentation design world.

Trend #1: Continuous Scrolling

Cool PowerPoint Template - Presentation Design Trends

PowerPoint Tips - 2015 Presentation Design Trends

A new trend in presentations is to make them continuously scroll (similar to how you would scroll down a website). The idea behind this is that the slide design bleeds seamlessly into the next one, which creates a bomb-tastic aesthetic effect and probably will wow your audience more than the usual isolated slideshow.

As you can see from the above template from Graphic River the presentation designer has done a nice job creating a continuous scrolling effect. Note: it’s hard to show the full effect from the static images above. When your’re running the presentation (i.e., in slide show mode) and move to the next slide the templates built in animation will push the current slide up (and the next slide up simultaneously) to reveal the new slide (creating a cool transition effect). Click here to view the entire template. The template costs $20 if you wish to download it.

If you want to create this continuous scrolling effect yourself you will need to take one or more objects from the first slide you create and crop the object so that part of the object is bleeding off the slide (as shown in the first slide above). Then, after you have cropped the first half of the object on the first slide, you will want to take the second half of the cropped image and align it exactly where the other slide left off (as shown in the second slide above).

Finally, select a sliding transition (either up, down, left, or right) that moves from one part of the slide to the next. To select the transition simply:

1) Click the “Transitions” tab

2) Click on the “Push” transition option

3) Click on “Effect Options” and select the direction you want the slide to push from (depending on where you placed your bleeding edge object)

When you think about it, having a continuously flowing slideshow is a great way to keep people paying attention, especially if you can integrate your graphics to tell a story in themselves like this example slide.

And if that’s not enough of a reason to create slides that look like this, I’m sure you can agree that it just looks really damn cool. Sometimes that’s reason enough.

Trend #2: Flat Style Design

2015 PowerPoint design trends - flat design

Flat design is a trend that’s been around now for a while, but there are no signs of it getting any less popular. What exactly is flat style design, and why is it so cool? In simple terms, flat design is a revolt against “visual trickery” with the aim to simplify images and visual messages as much as possible. The nice thing about this trend is that creating flat design images for your presentations is relatively simple. In other words, you don’t have to be a hardcore graphic designer to create flat design images.

Flat design has emerged onto the scene just as realism, which imitates real-world textures and materials, looks more dated as time goes by. Realism made sense several years ago, when touchscreen phones and tablets were new and there was a bit of a gimmicky quality to making icons and buttons appear three dimensional (think of the Instagram logo or the home page button on an Android OS from 2011). With the passing of time, people have become accustomed to their smartphones. They don’t need gimmicky, flashy designs; they need simple, elegant designs.

With an aesthetic that revolves around simplicity, flat design styles tend to have certain characteristics that eschew previous trends in design. Gone is the application of shadows behind images such as clickable buttons or icons to make them appear three-dimensional. Gone is the special effect from sophisticated color palettes; flat design prefers bold, bright, simple color palettes for contrast and detail. Gone is the three dimensional appearance of company logos, weather icons, email “send” buttons, app icons, and on and on and on.

This isn’t to say that the flat design revolution is not sophisticated or elegant; on the contrary, flat design style’s elegance is precisely attributable to a more nuanced and subtle flair. There are plenty of flat design sets which look fantastic and will add the perfect tone to your presentation. We see flat design everywhere these days, from Spotify’s music player to Windows 8.

True to form, it’s pretty darn easy to come up with great looking flat design images from scratch. If you’re interested in a few pointers you should check out this great article on designing image slides using PowerPoint. You can also find tons of great downloadable flat icons for presentation on NounProject, so your slides will be anything but boring. And if you’re still stuck for ideas, stock photo websites such as iStock or Shutterstock feature plenty of flat design vector images for incorporating into presentations.

Trend #3: Retro Design

Presentation design trends - retro design

Depending on what year you’re in, what’s considered retro might be considered passé the next.

Right now there’s a movement towards implementing fonts and styles from the roaring 20s (think Great Gatsby), banners and font from the 50s and 60s, and also font and background styles reminiscent of Old Western films from the 50s.

So how can retro styles from fifty years ago or more be applied to your presentation slides of today? Take a look at the example above, which was creating using a retro style banner. Notice that not only are the fonts, banners, and icons retro, but so are the backgrounds and textures available as well—make sure that every facet of your presentation’s design is complimentary in some way.

Another trend is to take photos and give them a retro, washed-out sort of look. Instagram has pretty much made its name off of using filters to give images a straight-out-of-grandma’s-photo-album look. Pic Monkey has a beautiful filter that’s perfect for achieving whatever sort of look you’re looking for, and even Flickr has a nifty photo editor to alter images you find in their immense user-curated catalogs (just remember to make sure it’s legal to download and use for commercial purposes).

Trend #4: Handwritten Design

presentation design tips - handrawn images

There’s something special about handwritten style that no amount of slim, elegant type fonts will ever replace. Perhaps this timelessness is one reason why handwritten fonts, banners, and designs are becoming more and more popular. Particularly in people-driven industries such as retail or travel—especially the kind that’s budget-friendly—a slightly informal bent can go a long way in relaxing the tone.

As consumers become more wary of buying from impersonal marketing campaigns or plain-vanilla marketing, the value and impact of using handwritten fonts and graphics only grows. There are tons of great handwritten fonts out there (along with adventure) that can be downloaded for free if you know where to look. For a look and feel of authenticity and personalization, Fontsquirrel is a great resource, plus it’s completely free!

Apart from stunning handwritten fonts for your presentation, it’s also a great idea to add handwritten icons and other types of graphics. Graphic River is a great place to start if you’re looking for anything from a clever hand drawn arrow or any other type of images that could compliment your design.

And on the topic of handwritten style, don’t forget: if you have the talent (or know someone who does), you can always actually draw out whatever you’d like and then scan it and upload it into your presentation.

Trend #5: The Death of the Stock Photo

Presentation Design Tips - Death to the Stock Photo

Remember when stock photos were used for selling those weird products in the SkyMall magazine?

It’s no wonder that in this day and age, stock photos do very little when it comes to generating a positive reaction. The stock photo is by definition an impersonal, impossible, airbrushed version of some bizarre existence that is completely detached from reality, and the market has finally noticed. You know that it’s time to stop using stock photos for serious business when there is a blog devoted to juxtaposing stock images and porn website users’ comments (technically there’s nothing NSFW about it, but in the name of good taste I’ll leave it to you to find said blog). What I can show you is a random article from the humor site Cracked, which has been using stock images from Getty for an untold amount of years now. When a website best known for publishing pieces such as “The 6 Most Ridiculous Things People Claimed to Legally Own” uses stock images with funny captions as their calling card, you know it’s time to lay off the stock images for your own business presentations, marketing, and anything else requiring an image of something.

So what does a PowerPoint presentation look like with images that aren’t from Getty or Shutterstock? Pretty awesome, it turns out.

In lieu of using completely generic images to make your point, start using actual photos that don’t just seem super weird and random. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t touch up details or use image filters, which as discussed previously can be done with apps such as Instagram or Pic Monkey. Use images—REAL ONES—that evoke emotions. Images that aren’t full of fake smiles and perfect lighting will make your point much better than a stock image ever could, and will add a ton of genuineness to whatever it is that you’re talking about.

If you’re still not sure what’s wrong with using stock photos to deliver your presentation, I’ll let Vince Vaughn tell you for me.


Presentation design is impacted by the design world in many different ways.

It’s important to make sure that your presentation designs are up-to-date with the times in order to show that your business is “with it.”

I hope that you found the five presentation trends presented here today useful.

Here’s my question for you …

After reading this article, do you think you will try incorporating some of these presentation design trends into your upcoming presentations? Let me know what you think below and please try to be specific as possible. Also, which of these trends excites you the most? Sound off in your 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 Font Trends for 2015

7 Presentation Design Trends You Need To Know About

10 Professional Presentation Templates That Don’t Suck

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