Great Design is about Taking Away, Not Adding

An important lesson for slide designers is this: great-looking design is more about TAKING AWAY unnecessary elements than ADDING more decorative elements.

Here’s design great John McWade, author of How to Design Cool Stuff, showing why less is more.

The key takeaways for me are:

  • Use a color palette to harmonize your colors. I use Color Cop to create a pleasing color palette (see video)
  • Don’t create “frames” around your images. Instead, bleed them off the edge of the slide
  • Pay attention to alignment (see video)
  • Avoid embellishments like drop shadows, decorative lines and novelty fonts
  • Don’t feel the need to fill every available space. Allow whitespace (blank space) into your slide and let your slide “breathe”

When you’re not pleased with your slide design, don’t ask “what else can I add?” but “what else can I take away?”

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.

5 thoughts on “Great Design is about Taking Away, Not Adding

      1. Thanks! I like taking all this awesome info I read on blogs and relate it to what I do in research / education. Do you ever make it out to Colorado? Send me an email if you want to chat further. I have another video about slide design I’m sure you’d like –

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