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‘Before/After’ Slides from Presentation Design Expert Garr Reynolds

Renowned presentation expert, Garr Reynolds runs a blog called Presentation Zen where he shares tips and insights on presentation design. He advocates for the use of more minimalist visuals, challenging us to create presentations that are simple but impactful. He provides more details about this presentation design philosophy in his book.

If you’re curious about learning more about his presentation design philosophy, see it in action with these Before and After slides.

Presentation Design Inspiration

Check out how the following slides have transitioned from PowerPoint Hell to Presentation Zen:

Presentation design inspiration by Garr Reynolds 1

Presentation design inspiration by Garr Reynolds 2


Presentation design inspiration by Garr Reynolds 3

These prove that PowerPoint slides don’t have to be long and detailed in order to embody the core of your message. Reynolds makes use of interesting images and minimal text without losing the key points of the slides.

A few lessons you can pick up from these examples:

  • Add meaningful images that will ‘show’ without having to ‘tell’
  • Think of catchy, one-sentence headlines instead of using generic titles for your slides
  • Condense several bullet points into a brief but meaningful sentence

View the rest of the Before and After slides in Garr Reynolds’ SlideShare presentation. He has several other presentations that you can view. Browse through his profile to learn more about ‘zen’ presentation design.


Featured Image: Gábor Hojtsy via Flickr

9 Presentation Resources You Don’t Want to Miss


The most memorable presentation of my life

Once, while in the third grade, a classmate of mine, Julie, was supposed to give a presentation on a subject that I obviously no longer remember, but let’s just say was Apache Indians. She had built a huge, or what I thought at the time thought was a huge, Paper Maché project for her presentation.The project had dozens of little Indians, tiny teepees, plastic horses, even handfuls of real grass. When our teacher called her up to speak, she walked up front-and-center, with her project in hand, looked up to the class for about 10 seconds, and blew chunks all over her incredibly detailed project. Ironically, that was one of the most memorable presentations I’ve seen. Julie was afraid to present to us. Coincidentally, fear of public speaking actually incredibly common.

While maybe blowing chunks isn’t always the consequence, it is definitely a nerve-racking experience.  In fact, some experts estimate that as much as 75% of the population has some level of anxiety regarding public speaking. The best way to get over the fear is to be prepared. Preparing obviously consists of practicing a whole lot, but it also incorporates resourcefulness. Before one begins to practice, one must design an effective presentation to practice with. With that comes the need to know how to make effective presentations.

For that reason, we at Slidegenius, have come up with a short list of 9 useful resources for anyone who may find themselves giving or creating a presentation. 

1. Beyond Bullets

This site will help you use presentation software more effectively. Filled with  stimulating content and useful information. The site highlights certain philosophies and strategies with regard to  the way you use your software and apply it to presentations.

2. DesignSense

This site  advertises itself as “graphic design training for businesspeople.” The content focuses on a series of design lessons the common-folk with no formal training in graphic design. The company claims that the training you receive on the site is equivalent to a 40-hour graphic design course. It is condensed into 12 hours of computer-based training and costs around $60.

3. Presentation Zen

This site is essentially Garr Reynold’s blog on issues related to presentation design, technique, and delivery. Reynolds provides examples of good and bad presentations.

4. Crystal Graphics

This is a great source for PowerPoint add-ins that enhance the basic program. Professional-like transitions, 3D Titles and custom templates are some of the more popular add-ins.  The only caution Id give is that some of the effects require some intense hardware horsepower and may be costly.

5. KeynotePro

This source presents amazing Keynote themes for professionals.

6. PowerPoint ImageObjects

The site offers collections of great-quality symbols and shapes, metaphor objects, numbers, bullets, and other objects.

7. PowerPoint Templates Pro

Another collection of professionally produced PowerPoint templates.

8. iStockPhoto

Cheap and good-quality images.

9. Microsoft Clip Gallery Live

Microsoft’s free clipart site.

If you can think of any other resources that I have missed, please comment to share your favorites.



Fritscher, Lisa. “Glossophobia.”

Our Five Favorite Books on Presenting with PowerPoint

1. Slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations by Nancy DuarteBook_Slideology

Nancy Duarte is a graphic designer, writer, and head of the presentation design firm Duarte Design. The firm is most notable for designing the award-winning Al Gore presentation-turned-movie, An Inconvenient Truth. In Slide:ology, she provides a great resource for getting inside the mind of a presentation designer and seeing how they think; conceptually and technically. The book breaks down the problems that people experience with PowerPoint, such as defaulting to bullet points or using clip art. This is a great read if you want to learn how to think about PowerPoint in a new, creative way.

2. Beyond Bullet Points by Cliff Atkinsonbbp

BBP hits on many of the subjects we’ve emphasized in our blog, and it’s a very good general how-to for good PowerPoint design. Naturally, a big point it makes is to avoid the use of bullet points in PowerPoint. Atkinson aptly observes that while bullet points are very easy to make, they’re difficult for the audience to comprehend and relate to. The book then hits on many other important themes in PowerPoint, such as the importance of storyboarding and the classic story arch.



3. Presentation Zen by Garr Reynoldszen-book1-x

Supreme overlord of the popular presentation blog, Garr Reynolds has a lot to say on the art of presenting, and he’s compiled a good many of his thoughts in this book. A must read for any PowerPoint enthusiast or public speaker.





4. Speaking PowerPoint: The New Language of Business by Bruce Gabrielspeaking powerpoint

Compared to the more conceptual, creative ideas taught in the aforementioned books, this is more of a basic how-to. That’s not to say that Bruce Gabriel’s book on stolid PowerPoint design isn’t very useful. This book, written to be used by business people in boardroom presentations, is easy to comprehend and has a ton of practical application.


5. The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience by Carmine GalloSteve_Jobs_Cover[1]