In the almost three years since I’ve been designing PowerPoint templates and presentations, I’ve had a wide variety of clients. And going along with that has been a unique set of working styles and relationships. Some clients like to begin with a phone call to set up the nature of their business and the type of presentation they’d like to create. This usually gives me the opportunity to ask questions, such as who is your audience and what would you like to have happen at the end of the presentation. Do you want to make a sale; do you need to get investors? Etc. Most clients have that in mind, but you’d be surprised at the PowerPoint drafts I’ve seen that have ended leaving you hanging. Sure there’s a logo and phone number, but the call to action is sometimes missing in action (if I may make a lame joke). So the first step before handing off your ppt to a designer is to have your rough presentation in a logical order with a title at the beginning, and a call to action at the end.
Now let’s talk about look and feel. Designers love creative input, at least I do. I recently worked on a project in which I had very little creative input. So never being thrown by a “blank slate” I proceeded to give the presentation a visual richness using lots of colors, textures, big words, and pictures. Stage I of the ppt was presented and I was very happy. My client, however, was, shall we say, quiet. The small amount of feedback was related to the copy (which I didn’t write) but not the look and feel. So I proceeded with Stage II with the same look and feel. Once again, the feedback was understated. And then finally, I received from my client another presentation he had seen and liked. It had a stark white background and minimal pictures. He said he loved the clean look of it. If I had seen this at the start, it would have given me a clue as to my client’s taste. And it would have saved a lot of time, money and frustration. As a designer, I know that not everyone is visually oriented, so I would never blame anyone for not supplying visual references. But for those people who are visual and like to share pictures, color swatches, favorite fonts, doodles, or whatever, they should know that their ideas are more welcome than they may realize. Especially when you end up with a great PowerPoint presentation that you can both take full credit for.