Powerpoint Layout Lessons From Financial Newspapers

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Learn the 5 essential principles of PowerPoint layout by adopting the best practices from financial newspapers. Let the pros show you how to make your slides look professional.

As PowerPoint designers we learn our lessons from various sources. One of the best sources of inspiration for presentation slide layout comes from financial newspapers which we browse through every morning.

Here are a few reasons why a financial newspaper is a good place to learn our slide layout lessons:

  • The reader of a business newspaper (like your audience) has limited attention span. It takes hard work to design a document that grabs and retains the fleeting attention.
  • Newspapers have mastered the fine art of telling their stories using good layout principles which help them maximize message effectiveness.
  • Their readers want to be informed – not just entertained. So, business newspapers strive to provide the information clearly and quickly.
  • Their readers are result oriented. So, good newspapers endeavor to give their views and not just the news

Here are the layout principles that are worth borrowing from the design masters:

1.    Make titles that summarize your message

PowerPoint Layout from Newspaper

These are some of the article titles we saw in today’s financial newspaper:

  • ABC’s John Doe to Move to a Global Role
  • Attorney General Says DOT must Heed Regulators
  • Govt. Approves Draft Mining Bill
  • Bank Of ABC To Charge For Debit Card Use

Do you see a common theme there?

Each one of these titles is a complete sentence. Business newspapers are never afraid of using short meaningful sentences as titles of their story. They make the reader curious about why and how.

So, what does this mean to you as a PowerPoint slide designer?

Let your slide title summarize your slide content

Your slide title is the first thing your audience sees on a slide. If you make an assertion on your slide title, you develop curiosity in your audience to look for the evidence in the body of the slide. This is called the Assertion – Evidence model of slide design.

There is another benefit in making your slide titles self-evident…

Even if you are an experienced presenter, you can’t prevent your audience from taking an occasional mental stroll. They may suddenly remember some unfinished action points of the last meeting or think about the conference call they need to attend in the evening. A clear self-evident title helps them get back on track quickly when they resume their attention.

Read more: How to create stunning title slides for your presentation

2.    Make the important points look important:

Take a look at the design of this scanned image of a business newspaper:

PowerPoint Slide Layout from Newspaper

See how well the key point is highlighted?

  • The headlines of other articles are not as big as the lead story
  • None of them are in capital letters
  • There is only one key point that grabs the attention

So, what does this mean to you as a PowerPoint designer?

Let your slide have one key message and make the message obvious. PowerPoint Layout is always better when it is simple.

If you have too many points on a slide you lose your audience interest. Focusing on one key point makes your slide memorable.

Read More: Slide Design for Presenting Ideas

3.    Have a clear agenda

Take a look at the following:


The main stories of the day are mentioned right under the Brand name. Those are the first things the readers see.


When you browse through the page, on the left column you’ll find a section called ‘News briefing’. The segment gives you quick summary of the stories included in the rest of the pages.

A business newspaper always follows the axiom of good communication – ‘Tell them what you want to tell them. Tell them. Tell them what you told them’

What does this mean to you as a PowerPoint slide designer?

Show your presentation agenda right at the start.

A clear PowerPoint Layout with agenda helps your audience orient their thinking to your point of view.  It helps them to focus their attention on your presentation better.

Read More: How to make a creative Presentation Agenda

4.    Make it visual

Take a look at this front page of Financial Times:

PowerPoint Slide Layout with Visuals

The image holds the centre stage.

Newspapers know the value of a good visual in communicating a story. That is why they allocate a substantial portion of their prime space to pictures.

What does this mean to you as a PowerPoint slide designer?

Use visuals to communicate your message

Your audience understands visual presentation faster and retains the information longer. In your PowerPoint Layout, you may use diagrams to explain your concepts, charts to explain your numbers and photos to evoke audience emotions. Let visuals hold the center stage in your slides.

Read More from this premium resource: Visual Presentations eBook

5.    Keep the related information together

Take a look at the design and layout of this page:

PowerPoint page layout related items newspaper

Newspapers use subtle separators to guide the reader’s eye to the relevant parts of the article.

  • The titles serve as the boundary for the article
  • The image and the explanation are kept together to make it easy to establish connection
  • They keep unrelated article separate using subtle grey lines

What does this mean to you as a PowerPoint slide designer?

Make a clear connection between related items on your slide

Human mind tends to relate things that are close to each other. Make sure that you use this principle to your advantage.

Read More: Visual Chunking in Slide Design

Conclusion about PowerPoint Layout:

The article is meant to set you thinking in the right direction. If you observe closely you may come up with more lessons of your own. We would be happy to know your observations. You can write to us and we will share your thoughts with the world.

Another way to have slides with great PowerPoint Layouts is to use professional business diagrams to convey your message. We urge you to take a look at our Mega PowerPoint diagrams pack. The pack has 301 fully editable PowerPoint business diagram templates to help you make your presentations look professional. Just copy paste our diagrams to your slides and your presentations get ready in minutes.

We made sure that the design of our templates reflects the quality you represent. Visit the PowerPoint Diagrams Pack page.

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