Why Keeping PowerPoint Slides Simple is an Effective Strategy

Let’s be clear: the best PowerPoint designs are often those that are simple.

PowerPoint has given us access to a number of design features and components (i.e. color, font choice, sizing, positioning, shapes, images, animations, etc.) that we, as communicators, can take advantage of. The goal with PowerPoint is to use a combination of these features and components to really bring out our message. Doing so will make sure the message is thoroughly and concisely communicated to our audience.

But there’s a problem. With so many design options available, too many presenters keep adding unnecessary clutter to their slides. That’s why it’s important for us to keep things as simple as possible when it comes to PowerPoint design.

What Do Netflix, IKEA, and Google Have in Common?

When was the last time you went on Netflix and looked around for a show to binge on?

What about that time you bought a piece of furniture from IKEA and looked at the manual?

Or that time you went to Google’s and used only thing there: A search bar?

What do all of these brands have in common?

A simple way to give a product to a customer.

No clutter, no crap, no BS. The customer knows exactly what she’s getting and how to get it. It’s a strategy that is so simple that it affects the choices and livelihood of the customers involved. As expressed by Margarest Molloy, the Chief Marketing Officer of Siegel+Gale, “the greatest brands tend to make life simple for their customers.”

Keeping It Simple in PowerPoint

In PowerPoint, your product is your message, and your customer is your audience.

By adopting a design approach that is simple you’ll have the ability to create slides that are clear, concise, and above all, understandable. In layman’s terms: You’ll be able to get your main point(s) across with ease.

This is an actual slide I saw online once. I GUESS the presenter is focusing on the need to buy a new suit?
We can achieve the exact same message using one icon and some text. Which do you think is more effective?

Get Through to Those That Matter

With all the crap that people have to go through today, it really makes sense to go simple. Just like you, members of your audience are exposed to what I like to call ‘information overload.’ People are bombarded with advertisements, e-mails, texts, pitches, bad PowerPoint presentations, and so on. They get this information all day and night and have to process all of that information every waking minute. It just makes sense to design simple slides that cut through all that crap to get through to your audience.

Remove all the senseless clutter from your slides. I know it can be hard, but if you want to create slides that win, then it’s time to opt for a simpler approach.


Yousef "Yoyo" Abu Ghaidah

Yousef "Yoyo" Abu Ghaidah

Yousef "Yoyo" Abu Ghaidah is a PowerPoint ninja that founded Slide Cow, a learning platform for all things PowerPoint, presentations and public speaking. When he's not designing slides or giving presentations, he's on another coffee run.
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