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Ad Agency PowerPoint Visual Design Tips: Making Your Point

Visual designs contribute the most benefits in PowerPoint presentations, letting audiences visualize exactly what you want them to imagine, be it the client’s current problem, the seriousness of a situation, or a different perspective.

Once you paint a clear picture in your audience’s minds, support that with your facts and guide them to the outcome you want: investing in your idea.

While deck designs don’t only impose mental images, they help clients remember enough of your pitch to take a second look at it after you’re done presenting.

Many TED Talks or three-subject pitches rely on simplicity for catchy PowerPoint visuals. But how do you emulate these works?

Advertising agencies make their ads focus on one main idea and show it in an interesting way.

Here are three PowerPoint visual design tips on simplicity:

1. Make Your Idea Straightforward Enough to Be Flexible

There’s only room for one main idea in your visuals.

According to ad veteran Luke Sullivan, if you know what your pitch is about and make it straightforward, you’ll have a number of great ways to visually represent your ideas.

In the MINI Cooper ambient ads, the ad agency highlighted one main feature of a small yet spacious car.

Some of the MINI Cooper ambient ads focused on how spacious the small vehicle was, while others went the opposite route and focused on a small vehicle’s benefits. An example of the latter: a billboard that had the tagline “cops hide here,” complete with an arrow pointing to a bush under it.

Whatever the execution, the idea in each was clear. All that was left was to come up with interesting ways to show it.

2. Focus on One Consistent Style

The early Volkswagen print ads showed a big or small vehicle, then focused the text on a main idea. Renowned author Jim Aitchison cites these ads and taglines as those which highlight the main theme of practicality:

“How to save up for a Porsche.”
A picture of a moon-landing craft with the caption “It’s ugly but it gets you there”
A small Volkswagen beetle with the tagline “Think small”

There’ll always be a consistent style of showing the vehicle, a headline and the body text, all centered on a straightforward idea.

3. Show a Common Message with Different Elements

Combining your images and text to illustrate a situation is effective, but even more so when you disrupt normal perspectives and present familiar things in a new and interesting way.

The award-winning French anti-illiteracy ads’ visual elements posed as advertisements for different things: cars, computers, even resorts and makeup.

These ads focused on one main message: there’ll always be people who’ll misinterpret the advertisement because they can’t read.

The Bottom Line

All these three tips rely on one thing: strategy, a single effective path to bringing your message out in the image.

Do you want to highlight how much space your Cooper can have? Do you want to show that your product does what it’s made for? Do you want to show how serious a problem is?

The key to simplicity is making your viewers focus on one dominant element in your visuals. Make your main message clear in both the text and the image, then find interesting ways to consistently prove your point.

It takes an award-winning visual design method to make an award-winning PowerPoint Presentation. To help you get that edge, get in touch with a presentation designer from SlideGenius today!



Aitchison, J. (2004). Cutting Edge Advertising: How to Create the World’s Best Print for Brands in the 21st Century. Singapore; New York: Prentice Hall.
Great V AdsAccessed June 19, 2015.
Maximize the Rule of Three: Brand-Building for Presentations.” SlideGenius, Inc. 2015. Accessed June 18, 2015.
Sullivan, L. (2008). Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This: A Guide to Creating Great Ads (3rd Ed.). Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons.
The World’s Best Print Ads, 2012-13.” AdWeek. Accessed June 19, 2015.

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