The PowerPoint template is an important component of an organization’s branding strategy and a critical vehicle to share information to prospects, leads, and even staff. While PowerPoint offers multiple standard templates, most firms require a custom design to effectively meet their branding requirements. We often interact with customers who have recently updated their templates, and through this interaction we have learned several lessons:
1. Build templates for all slide types and uses
Before creating your templates, catalog all the slide types you need:
- While title slides are important, take a moment to think through the other types of slides you might also regularly need, e.g. agenda, one large chart, two small charts, customer feedback/quotes, biographies
- Will you require different templates for different presentation types? E.g. internal vs. external, by vertical, by function
Performing this step will prevent your team from editing the template and adversely affecting your branding.
2. Use safe fonts to ensure a consistent performance
Selecting an appropriate font set for your template that conveys the characteristics that align with your business can be an artistic endeavor. However, you may want to limit your choice to safe fonts that are commonly available in different PowerPoint installations. This selection will ensure your presentation looks the same across different computers.
3. Limit the ink required
Although it may seem rare, printing presentations is actually still common in some industries, including management consulting. If your template uses a colored banner behind every slide title, you’ll end up consuming a lot of ink. Instead consider underlining the title to leave more white space.
4. Watch the file size
Images are powerful tools to convey emotions and quickly make your point. When selecting images for your template, determine the minimum resolution required. High resolution images can quickly increase the size of your presentation, making it difficult to share with others and potentially cumbersome to edit on older, slow computers.
5. Use the opportunity to formalize your visuals
Beyond slides you might also consistently need specific images, charts, specific text blocks, and logos. If you are updating and disseminating a new slide template, you may find synergies in also collecting and refreshing all your visuals.
6. Use a slide library to share the templates with your team
If your template is small and simple, follow these instructions to make it easily accessible in PowerPoint. However, if you have a detailed collection of slides and visuals, consider a slide library solution to disseminate the slides and ensure adoption.
We have previously written about slide library best practices and the trade-offs between browser and add-in based solutions. In addition, if you’re using SharePoint 2013, the slide library feature is no longer supported and you’ll need an alternative.
7. Hire professional designers
If your budget allows, consider engaging professional presentation designers. These experts can apply a wealth of experience to build a custom, detailed template package that tightly fits within your brand requirements.