The PowerPoint Overview| Part One.

by Sky Sister Studio. Average Reading Time: about 2 minutes.

PowerPoint (.ppt) is one of the biggest indicators of intentional design (or lack thereof). “Death by PowerPoint” related tweets, memes, slideshows, and articles are a fun way to waste 15 minutes: there are some really scary .ppts in the world, aren’t there? But the reality is that PowerPoint is only an application – a tool for a presentation. It’s silly to blame the program itself for the way a presenter might organize/present their content.

Instead, think of the PowerPoint application as a presentation tool in the final stages, and a blank canvas in the initial stages. By focusing on solid strategy and design from the start, almost anyone can create (or facilitate) a successful PowerPoint presentation.


The Canvas and the Content.

PowerPoint is a blank screen – a canvas. You are responsible for what’s on it (not Microsoft!). So create “on purpose” – be intentional with the message and with the visuals. Don’t use the default templates (unless it’s the “Blank” one which is an unsung hero in my opinion). Have a custom template created or make one yourself that meets the needs of your project (but don’t create “designs” that have no context/reason for being there).


“Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.”

PowerPoint has a lot of features that encourage you to create your own graphics. You don’t have to be held back by any templates or any rules at all. You can do ANYTHING!!!! And that’s part of the problem, isn’t it? The truth is most of the built-in “graphics tools” should be avoided by most people as they cannot resist the temptation to over color and overuse them in the most bizarre ways.


The most important initial steps have nothing to do with the slides. At all.

Strategy is the most important first step you can take. Plan out your message, and don’t let a looming deadline trick you into thinking that skipping this is justified. Whether you have 2 months, 2 weeks, or 2 hours to get it done, trust that a written plan is the best way to get started.

The “written plan” doesn’t have to be anything complicated – it can be as simple as creating an outline of the points you want to make. An overwhelming majority of presentations are not planned out (as many confuse planning a powerpoint with the information itself – even though the information may be well thought out {i.e., research/stats}…properly importing it into PowerPoint is a completely separate endeavor). As a result, the frantic gathering of content and last-minute design has left the creator(s) and the ppt itself …overwhelmed.

How can you avoid an “overwhelming” situation?

Part Two is coming up!