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Unconventional Presentation Design Tips from the Humble Lunch Box

October 15, 2015 / Blog cuisine’s food philosophy, food, food and presentation, Japanese cuisine, presentation design tips, presentation tips, Rick Enrico, SlideGenius, traditional concepts

Eating is a favorite pastime for almost everyone. Nothing else can engage the sense of sight, smell and taste quite like food does. Food ads are made to look appetizing simply because we need, and love to eat. Everyone appreciates well-made meals, and ads take full advantage of the strong, motivational desire to eat.

From billboard ads to the home kitchen, food can play a big role in shaping something as simple as our preference to our beliefs.

Feed the Senses

Japanese cuisine brings this idea all the way home, to the humble bento box. There are five sets of rules containing five rules each. Each set details an aspect of food preparation in Japanese cuisine.

The five sets are Colors, Methods, Flavors, Senses, and Viewpoints:

1. Colors

Each dish should have something red, yellow, green, black and white.

2. Methods

Prepare the meal by simmering, steaming, grilling, frying and creating.

3. Flavors

Each part should balance a salty, sour, sweet, bitter or spicy taste.

4. Senses

Appeal to the senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch.

5. Viewpoints

Receive it with gratitude, feel worthy of the dish, accept it, then let it give you nourishment and enlightenment.

These traditional guidelines are the basis of washoku, or Japanese cuisine. But the bento box simplifies these traditional concepts to fit the more modern, convenient times. A presentation functions similarly, taking the old methods and integrating them with the convenience of PowerPoint decks.

Simple, Compact and Organized

An old adage goes, that we are what we eat. A lunchbox is personal, and anything goes inside. If we don’t want to eat broccoli then we won’t put that in our lunch. Pizza stacked in a Tupperware may be filling, but toppings stuck between slices can make for unsightly and messy eating. There is a sense of order and space that must be followed to create an organized, and visually appealing lunch.

So instead of stacking the slices, roll them up. The toppings stay in each slice, leaving room for more food inside the container. Treat each slide like a slice, and your deck like a lunch box. Give the audience a wonderfully packed meal for them to take home.

Prepare a Small Feast

What emotions do you want the colors in each slide to evoke? Luckily, you can glean some important presentation design tips just from enjoying food. Each color has a corresponding psychological effect, so use this to your advantage.

What method will you use to get the message across? Will you make the pitch simmer, and slowly reveal the idea? Or build hype around the idea in an exciting, open flame? What kind of flavor will you impart on the audience?

Will you end a presentation with a spoonful of sugar after a bitter-tasting cure? How will you engage the audience?

Tickle their imagination by making them realize how much they need your product or idea in their lives. What will the audience ultimately get out of your pitch? Change lives with your deck and present them with a new way of seeing things.



Lapointe, Rick. “Now Here’s Some Real Food for Thought…” The Japan Times. June 9, 2002. Accessed October 5, 2015.


Featured Image: “bento 014” by Kelly Polizzi from