Learn to design a stunning title for your presentation and leave a lasting impression on your audience. Learn a simple method that gives you professional results every time.
A title created using a standard design theme that comes with the software.
A title that uses a conceptual image to support the theme of the presentation:
Which presentation gives you the impression that the presenter has spent some time and effort to create it? Which one would you like to give your attention to?
Obviously, the answer is the second presentation!
That is the kind of difference a good opening slide can make to your presentation.
A title slide creates the first impression on your audience’s mind. If it looks professional, you gain and retain your audience’s attention. If it looks like ‘just another run of the mill presentation’, you lose your audience at “Hello”.
You don’t need to be a professional designer to design a well laid out title for your presentation. In this article you will learn a simple method to create great looking titles even if you have zero design skills. Let us start the process:
Start by dividing the slide area into small manageable chunks called cells. A cell is nothing but a rectangle of Height -1.5” and Width – 2”
Create copies of the cell and tile them to fill the slide as follows:
Now, imagine the slide as a giant weighing scale.
Every time a cell is filled with an image, text or color, the slide goes off balance. You need to restore the balance by filling another cell at an appropriate distance. For example:
The fill on the left is balanced by a corresponding fill on the right.
You can use a grid like this to create a professional looking PowerPoint floor too. See the tutorial here >>
This balance creates some interesting layouts for your presentation titles. Let us understand this better by exploring a few layouts.
The convention we follow to represent the filling of cells is – Red cell indicates ‘Photo or Image’. Green indicates – ‘Text box’. Black indicates ‘Color fill’.
A simple layout that works well is – a slide filled entirely with a relevant image and a sharp title. We would represent the layout as completely red in color as per our convention.
Here is the translation of the layout into a title slide:
The image and the title support each other. You can find a good stock photo that supports your presentation title and make this title slide in minutes.
Though the title looks good, you can create more sophisticated titles by playing with the layout balance. Take a look at an alternative here:
The fill on the top and bottom balance out. The text box on the left is balanced out by an image on the right. We purposely kept the ratio slightly off to lend some visual interest.
Related: 3D PowerPoint Scales tutorial
Here is the translation of the layout as title slide:
This title layout looks far more sophisticated than the plain image title.
Let us try another alternative:
The fill on the left column is balanced out by the fill on the top row. The remaining space is filled by an image. The slide looks well balanced.
Here is the translation of the layout as Title slide:
We used different colors for the fill on the left and on the top. To ensure that there are no sudden jumps in design (when the eyes move through the cells), we added some transparency to the cells on the top and added a few white lines where the colors meet (just a few tricks you pick up with experience).
Once you understand this basic principle of layout balancing, you can create your own set of variations.
However, there is one simple rule you need to know to make your learning complete.
The rule is – “Different visual elements weigh differently on the slide”.
For example, a darker shade has more weight than a lighter shade. A photo has more weight than text. You need to balance the elements on your layout keeping this fact in mind. This will help you create more interesting layouts.
Take a look at the following layout:
Though the slide looks out of balance, you can create a balance by choosing a combination of lighter image and darker fill.
See the translation of the layout as title slide:
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Even though the photo occupies 80% of the space, it has much lighter color intensity compared to the dark strip at the top. So, the slide looks harmonious and balanced.
Your sense of balance gets refined with practice. Keep experimenting with various elements till you feel the balance intuitively. Once you get enough experience, you can create more sophisticated layouts as follows, which have an inherent balance in design:
The above layouts were created using the same principles we discussed. Take a minute to study the way we balanced the weights of the cells.
You may like to see our popular tutorial on creating a PowerPoint Wheel diagram here >>
Creating good title layouts is as much an art as it is science. It is worth your time to practice the skill to create a lasting impression on your audience during your business presentations.
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