7 Predictions for Presentation Design

Someone recently emailed me and asked this intriguing question: what trends do you see in presentation design in the next 1-3 years?

I thought the question was thought-provoking so I list below the 7 trends I see in presentation design.

1. More storytelling, less slides. Books like Resonate and The Naked Presenter are encouraging speakers to depend less on slides and more on the power of storytelling. Many presentations, especially those intended to motivate and pass on values, are more effective without any slides at all.

2. Stock photography is the new clip art. I think we’re all growing fatigued of slides that are gorgeous but clearly “posed”. It’s hard to be truly inspired by stock photography, with its too-perfect imagery and too-happy people. We crave reality and so we’ll see increased use of Creative Commons images to replace stock photography.

3. Tablets and scribbling. The rise of the iPad and other tablet computers will replace pure laptops and so speakers will interact with their presentations more by scribbling annotations on slides as they speak. They will increasingly start out with a blank presentation slide and build it as part of a conversation with the audience, like using a flipchart or whiteboard.

4. More focus on effectiveness, less on design, starting in education. The pendulum has swung too far to the creative side of the equation where we’re pumping out beautiful but low-content slides like you see on SlideShare. This won’t work, especially in education. Teachers will increasingly demand rules for using PowerPoint that are based on instructional research. This will spread, first to business and then to other types of speakers.

5. PowerPoint continues to replace text documents. The trends that are driving adoption of PowerPoint as a business document will continue to push text documents out of business: complex problems, increased availability of data and the tools to analyze it, information overload.

6. Increased interest in developing PowerPoint slides for online marketing. SlideShare is mostly used today by small businesses and thought leaders with a lot of time on their hands. But increasingly, businesses will see the value of creating SlideShare decks to increase interest in their products. The rules for SlideShare decks are different than the rules for training decks, business decks and keynote decks and there will be some floundering around while we figure out the rules. Someone will write a book targeting this niche interest.

7. Video, motion. With tools like Prezi, YouTube videos and even Adobe After Effects, it’s becoming easier to enhance static slides with motion. But the phrase “enhance” is loaded. Does this mean enhance the meaning? Or simply add ornamentation? My prediction is people will fumble with these new tools at first, adding glitz to their presentations without enhancing the meaning. And over time, they will learn to use motion effects with restraint and even some wisdom.

What are your predictions for presentation design in the next 1-3 years? Leave a comment below.

About the author: Bruce Gabrielle is author of Speaking PowerPoint: the new language of business, showing a 12-step method for creating clearer and more persuasive PowerPoint slides for boardroom presentations. Subscribe to this blog or join my LinkedIn group to get new posts sent to your inbox.