6 Simple Rules of Pitch Deck Slide Design

14 Jul 2016

Jake Fisher

Jake Fisher is the founding partner at Venture Formations. Jake serves as a startup advisor helping entrepreneurs through the funding process.

You only get one chance to make a first impression with investors; you don’t want them to be so turned off by your slide design that they are not able to truly see what a great business you have.

Below, find some pointers on the rules of slide design to make sure you are creating a visually pleasing presentation:

Rule of three

The rule of three reminds us not to attempt more than three ideas or concepts on a single slide. If you are giving your audience more than three concepts at one time, you are likely overloading them with information and their level of comprehension will significantly diminish.

Logo placement

Place your logo on every slide. There is some debate around this logic, but when I consider it with a marketing mindset, it all comes down to brand awareness. By having your logo on each slide, it functions as a constant branding element to remember your company by. When you see a swoosh logo does it really need to say “Nike” under it? The answer is no, the brand has created iconic brand recognition. I suggest you apply this same methodology when creating a pitch deck.

Keep it branded

The 30-point font rule

The well-known entrepreneur and investor, Guy Kawasaki, made this rule popular. NEVER have text on a slide that is less than 30-point font. If your text doesn’t fit on the slide at a 30-point font, you simply have too much text for one slide. The other methodology to the 30-point font rule is that you want to ensure every member of your audience is able to easily read the text on a slide. You run the risk of your text being unreadable with anything less than a 30-point font. Kawasaki says, take the oldest person that might be in the audience and divide their age by two; this number is the minimum font size you should use. If you’re pitching your idea and the older gentleman in the back of the room with all the money can’t read your slide, you might be S.O.L.


Also on StartupNation.com: Creating a Pitch Deck


A.D.D. slides

A.D.D. slides are a concept I have come up with to keep your audience focused and their minds from wandering. Everyone has experienced a presentation where it’s Friday afternoon, the conference room is too hot, and all you can think about is what you’re going to be doing this weekend with the perfect weather.

Slide design

Sound familiar? The odds are stacked against the presenter. He’s going through his bland pitch, running through the main points and talking about concept one, two and three. With each passing slide, the minds of the audience drift more and more toward their weekend plans.

Then, BOOM!

My big idea

You hit them with an A.D.D slide. A slide that is designed drastically different, breaking up the monotony of your template. Not only does this change recapture the attention of your audience, but it’s also a great way to emphasize a key concept. This is the presentation equivalent to a teacher slapping a ruler on your desk when you’re dozing off. You sit up straight in your chair and start paying attention. The same thing happens to your audience when they see your A.D.D slide; they are refocused on the presentation. Now don’t go overboard with this concept, the intention isn’t to create an obnoxious slide. The idea is to break up the monotony of the template.

Point of emphasis

Be aware of the point of emphasis on a slide. When the slide first appears, where is your eye drawn? Use this concept to make sure you are emphasizing key points and not taking away from them.

Simplicity

At the end of the day, simplicity is king with slide design. Make sure your pitch deck is an aid, not a distraction. The audience should be focused on the speaker, not distracted from the speaker by the slides.

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