3 PowerPoint Presentation Design Tips: Using Images to Guide Focus

In this post, taken from the book “How to Design TED-Worthy Presentation Slides” you will discover three principles for designing sexy presentation slides.

Say NO to boring presentations!

Presentation Design Tip #1: Use Images to Direct the Eyes

If you’re going to be pairing pictures up with text, use images that guide your audience’s eyes towards the text (or data).

Our eyes are naturally drawn to images first, and then follow the image from the focal point to the end point of the image.

Make sure that when your audience’s eyes reach the end point of the image, they are looking at a piece of data/text. This way, you manage to naturally guide your audience’s eyes. Here’s an example (Image on slide: Mike Baird):


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Notice how the image below helps guide the audience’s eyes from the picture to the statistic. The jogger is running towards the statistic – causing the audience’s eyes to naturally move towards it.


Presentation Design Tip #2: Rule of Thirds

Images are most powerful when they follow the rule of thirds. What is the rule of thirds? The rule of thirds refers to dividing a slide into thirds (both horizontally and vertically) as follows:


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According to the Digital Photography School blog run by Darren Rowse, here’s why the rule of thirds is useful:

“The theory is that if you place points of interest in the intersections or along the lines that your photo becomes more balanced and will enable a viewer of the image to interact with it more naturally. Studies have shown that when viewing images that people’s eyes usually go to one of the intersection points most naturally rather than the center of the shot – using the rule of thirds works with this natural way of viewing an image rather than working against it.”
– Darren Rowse

Here’s an example of an image that uses the rule of thirds to create visual appeal (Source: Eugene Cheng):

presentation designing

Notice how the subject has been placed along the line (at the point of intersection), which is more interesting than having the subject placed in the center of the image. Plus, having the image positioned this way allows you to use the remaining space to add text.


Presentation Design Tip #3: Avoid Cliched Images

The images you use must be new and fresh.

What do I mean by new and fresh?

There are some images which have been used so often that they have become clichés. For example, presenters have overused the image of the handshake to represent teamwork or collaboration. It’s an obvious image, and it is boring!

If your audience is forced to stare at an overused image, they’re going to tune out of your presentation.Instead, find a new, exciting and fresh way to represent the idea visually.

Recommended Resource forDesigning Sexy, TED-Worthy Presentation Slides

Want more great tips on how to design sexy presentation slides? Check out my book, “How to Design TED-Worthy Presentation Slides” – available for immediate download from Amazon for less than the price of a cup of coffee!

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2 thoughts on “3 PowerPoint Presentation Design Tips: Using Images to Guide Focus”

  1. Good stuff. Like you said, a pitch deck that addresses the context an investor needs in order to make their decision is vitally important. And like you captured here, the presentation and design needs to be equally crisp. Hope we can help address the lack of good pitch deck design.

  2. Pingback: Do your presentations suck? - Akash Karia

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