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Coming Up with a Presentation Design Concept

October 13, 2014 / Blog, Lessons, PowerPoint Design, Rick Enrico Blog, Tips & Tricks design concept, design resources, PowerPoint Design, presentation design

Designing an effective PowerPoint deck involves plenty of preparation. There’s obviously more to it than choosing a random template and then putting together a bunch of slides. Each color, picture, and font type you choose should be governed by a plan. In other words, every single element that goes into your slide should correspond to a specific concept.

This concept will direct all your design choices, leading you to a PowerPoint deck that elevates your core message. Think of it this way: If great design is the destination, a design concept is the map you’ll need to get there.

Conceptualizing Design

According to Vanseo Design, we can think of design concept in two different ways. The first is the verbal concept, where you let a particular message dictate your aesthetic. For example, you might want your PowerPoint deck to exude innovation and professionalism to match the software you’re pitching. This gives you a more abstract starting point nbut allows you to focus more clearly on the message of your presentation.

The next is the visual concept, where you start with a specific image or “look” in mind. For example, you might want to work around the different shades of blue or feature geometrical shapes prominently. While it may give you a concrete picture of your design, it might also be incoherent with the presentation you’re about to deliver. To be effective, a visual concept needs to be grounded by a specific message. It needs to be enhanced by a verbal concept to become a cohesive design plan.

With that in mind, take note of the following tips to come up with a full-bodied presentation design concept:

1. Determine the purpose of your presentation

Before you start sketching away, figure out the main purpose and message of your presentation. Why were you asked to deliver this presentation in the first place? What do you hope to accomplish? What’s the one thing you want your audience to remember? All these questions will help you draft the main message or “take away” of your presentation—a crucial element in the verbal aspect of your design concept.

2. Turn to your brand for inspiration

As you know, your brand is representative of your company identity. It gives clients and consumers insight on your story and experience, as well as the goals you want to achieve in the future. But aside from that, it can also reveal how you can go about your design concept. Look to your brand story to inspire the verbal component of your concept, and then use your logo to sort out the visuals.

3. Do your research

Of course, you can also branch out and look for inspiration elsewhere. Do your research and read as much as you can about design. It doesn’t have to be particularly related to presentations. Try to read about the basic design principles, or look through graphic design tips. You can even browse through some infographics to see best practices on condensing  and illustrating data. Immerse yourself in the world of design by exploring different blogs and websites. Here are our top picks to help  you get you started:

4. Think of what your audience might want to see

It’s also important to consider the audience. After all, it’s them that you will need to impress. Try to think about what they might want to see during your presentation. The more you consider their point of view, the more you can be sure to create an engaging and memorable experience. Like you would when working on content, use these four questions to guide your presentation design concept.


Your presentation can thrive if you have powerful visuals that help highlight the core message. A design concept is a way to do that. In order to come up with an effective PowerPoint deck, you’ll need a concrete plan to follow.

These 4 steps are a crucial part of presentation preparation. Don’t forget to develop a complete design concept before you start working on your slides.




Bradley, Steven. “Thoughts on Developing A Design Concept.” Vanseo Design. December 23, 2010. Accessed October 13, 2014.


Featured Image: Cultura de Red via Flickr