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3 Bullet Point Alternatives that Will Improve Your Deck

PowerPoint is one of the standard presentation tools of our time. It’s undergone plenty of changes and has come a long way since its inception.

Throughout the course of innovation, some features have become outdated by the turnover of new design trends – this includes tacky transitions and flying word art. The bullet point stands as one of these features, taking its place beside Comic Sans in Jarek Wasielewski’s list of PowerPoint taboos on ClickMeeting.

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The reason behind this is that bulleted lists are mistaken as a way of loading more text on a slide. Although they previously acted as a replacement for sentence chunks and long-winded paragraphs, bulleted slides tend to do the same thing and saturate its viewer with too much information.

Relieving your audience of the information overload on your deck can help them process your points better.

Avoid pushing your viewers’ limits with the bullet point, and opt for these timely alternatives:

1. Single-Text Slides

It may seem counterintuitive, but one of the solutions to the overflowing text of wild bullet points is also text.

By this we mean, one word per slide, or at the most, a phrase. The less words on your slide, the more room you have to expound on your points, and the more opportunity you have to draw attention to yourself as the speaker.

Your PowerPoint shouldn’t be a replacement for your stage presence, so don’t let it overshadow you. Only put in keywords that will serve as the takeaway for your further discussion. This also serves as consideration for your listeners, since people can only process so much information at a time, according to Psychology Today.

Make sure your audience retains most of your presentation by giving them single-text slides that only highlight important parts of your pitch.

2. Powerful Images

Images can also have the same effect as keywords. In fact, they may even have a greater impact. Karla Gutierrez of SHIFT eLearning stated that majority of the population are visual learners, meaning they process visual information more than simple text or verbal instruction.

Placing pictures related to your discussion instead of jotting down text in a bulleted list helps viewers associate your words and your slide with the emotions these images stir in them. Be creative in picking out the image you place on your deck. Consider basic graphic design principles to maximize the effect it will have on your audience.

These principles include white space, color, and contrast to emphasize a crucial aspect of an image and evoke feelings in the viewer. Depending on how they’re used, these elements can have different effects on people. Play around with your visual design to get the reactions and attention you want from your listeners.

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3. Diagrams and Visual Data

Images are good for eliciting reactions from viewers, but if you want something that’s both informative and attractive, present visual data.

These include diagrams, bars, graphs, and pie charts, which can make hard information easier to digest for an audience member who doesn’t want to get overwhelmed by the numbers.

Don’t settle for bullets on your slides in presenting the figures. Visual data summarizes all those points neatly for you, giving you leeway to discuss the details.

However, presenting information visually still requires some graphic design on your part. Use warmer and more attractive colors to draw eyes towards your information and help them focus on it.

When it comes to diagrams and charts, labeling your data is essential. Don’t assume that your audience knows what the colors and lines stand for.

Putting up something like a legend for the viewers’ reference can greatly help them understand the information you’re presenting.

The Takeaway: Drop the Bullet

There are many ways to design your deck. Avoiding a slide deck faux pas can mean something as simple as cutting back on bullet points and opting for more timely alternatives.

Keeping a single keyword or phrase on your slides will help the audience remember these points better after your presentation. In the same way, putting images instead of words can help them associate the emotions created by the image with your speech.

If your purpose is both to attract and inform, use diagrams to summarize numbers into neat visual treats for the eyes. Still having trouble choosing the right design? Contact our SlideGenius experts today for a free quote!

Featured Image: “Success by Design: Negotiation Spread” by changeorder on

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 facts and guide them to the outcome you want: investing in your idea.

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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:

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.

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.

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.

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!

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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.