Powerpoint Presentations: Making a Silk Purse out of a Sow’s ear?

In business, Powerpoint presentations are the standard whether we like it or not, even NASA uses them. So why do designers grind their teeth at the mention of this highly usable software? The fact that Powerpoint is so user friendly, with pre-designed templates and bullet point styles, presentations quickly become generic, forgettable and unremarkable. That is why clients who want to develop their own branded Powerpoint templates should be welcomed with open arms.

Recently, we designed a stationery package for an investment management company and they requested a Powerpoint template that would integrate the new design. Great! But I had never designed with Powerpoint before. Do I love Adobe software and loathe Microsoft? I wasn’t sure at the beginning of this project. I’m used to Adobe. The muscle memory in my hands and brain are used to Adobe, but does that mean it is better software or just the software I am used to?

In anything you do, it is usually good to get outside your comfort zone. Powerpoint is a great tool for anyone to create a presentation. You don’t need a great deal of training. It is meant to be user friendly. This friendliness cuts out a lot of the details that only designers might worry about. I lost control of things like line-spacing and exact colors, things I could easily control in the Adobe programs I am used to. It was a lot like trying to order dinner in another language — it took me much longer and I felt limited in what I could do. Of course these limitations made me have to look at the design in different ways and made me appreciate the control I have in other situations.

So, I welcome any request that will help create presentations that are not push-button templates we have seen before. And, any future teeth-grinding should be tempered with the appreciation of clients who recognize the value of branded presentations.


Leave a Reply