Design Principles to Dodge 'Death by Slides'

Design Principles to Dodge 'Death by Slides'

Imagine sitting through another meeting where every slide feels as dense as a page from an encyclopedia. Sounds all too familiar, doesn’t it? David Phillips’ TEDx Talk offers a refreshing take on how to elevate your presentation game, making your slides not just seen, but impactful.

Focus Over Fluff

Consider those effective roadside billboards with their striking simplicity. Phillips suggests taking a leaf out of their book for presentations: one message per slide. In an era where attention is a scarce commodity, simplicity is not just a virtue; it’s a necessity.

The Subtleties of Contrast and Size

Contrast: Beyond Black and White

Contrast doesn’t stop with a dark background and light text. Using contrast within the text on your slides—through color or font weight—can subtly direct your audience’s attention to where it matters most. It’s about guiding the gaze without a word being said.

Size: The Rule of Relevance

Phillips encourages a rethink of traditional slide layouts where the headline often dominates. Instead, the largest element should be the one that carries the most important message on the slide. Adjusting the size of elements according to their significance helps the audience intuitively understand what they should focus on first, making the slide’s narrative flow more naturally.

Embracing Simplicity with the Rule of Six

Adhering to a limit of six objects per slide stems from a desire for cognitive clarity. Overloading slides tends to dilute your message amid the clutter. By sticking to six elements, you provide just enough context without overwhelming the audience, allowing for an at-a-glance comprehension of the slide.

Phillips’ perspective invites us to reconsider our presentation strategies. The core lesson? Slides are there to bolster our message, not to become the centerpiece. It’s about creating narratives that linger, using slides to complement rather than compete with our spoken words.

As you gear up for your next presentation, remember that slides are your allies, not your crutch. Applying these principles can help make your presentation clearer and more engaging. And for a deeper understanding of these concepts, Phillips’ TEDx Talk is well worth your time.