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Impress Your Audience by Following These 5 Presentation Design Trends

by Adam Noar

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!

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