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Graphic Redesign: PowerPoint Slide

March 12, 2012

The other day I was giving a friend a few suggestions for something she had designed, and an idea came to me: what if I did quick redesigns on amateur work and gave design/layout tips in the process? Most people encounter graphic design projects, both at work and in their personal lives, in the form of invitations, signs, cards, banners, etc. The tips I will discuss are mainly for beginners, and can be applied to many types of software (or even markers and posterboard).

So as not to overload this post, I have started a disclaimers page in case I decide to make this a regular feature. Have a look. Now let’s dive in to this first design!

A friend of mine graciously volunteered this PowerPoint slide that she made for work. Like many people, she has ended up in charge of creating slides and other publicity pieces in her job even though she’s not a designer. I think this is a common situation. Thank you, M, for letting me make a few changes to your slide!

[ETA: I forgot to mention that I did not design this in PowerPoint–generally I design slides in another program (like InDesign or PhotoShop) so I have control over how they show up on other computers. If I want some text editable to anyone with PowerPoint, I’ll just add that after designing the more permanent parts.]



Okay, I’ll just point out some of the main changes and why I did them.

1. An important part of design is to grab the viewers attention with something that’ll keep them reading. The most interesting thing this slide has to say is that there is a game night. The rest of the details, important as they are, are secondary, and shouldn’t steal the show. They only matter to people who actually have an interest in that sort of event. Therefore, I let “Game Night” be large and central enough to draw the eye first.

2. In this particular case it was simple for me to use the same slide background, so I did so for the sake of easy comparison. (In some makeovers I might have to change the pictures used.) Any number of designs and colors would work on such a slide, and this one works fine. But if I were going to be spending more time on it, I’d possibly find a background that was more game-related.

3. I flipped the background to be a mirror image of itself. Why? This might just be preference, but I tend to think a border design like this works better on the left. I think one reason is because we all start reading on the left, and it helps comfortably guide the eye instead of drawing it over past the wording and then making it backtrack.

4. Choosing a font can be a huge task. My coworkers and I often lament what a pain it is to find exactly what we’re looking for. It’s easy to spend too much time on it, but there are definitely things to consider in choosing an appropriate font. That information could be a post (or book) on its own, so for now I’ll just say that I went with something very basic and clean here, and I chose something with a round feel to reflect the roundness of the polka dot design.

5. I removed unnecessary text. I only include things like “when” and “where” when it’s adding to the design or if the information is confusing without the labels.

6. I added a few dots to the right to give it balance and frame the message. It felt a little heavy on the left, so this particular background was simple enough that I could add some circles on the right in the same color. The large green dot to the right of “Game” attracts the eye to the title more than itself, which is handy.

Okay, so those are the basic changes. Any questions? I tried to stay concise, though I don’t know if I succeeded. πŸ™‚

If you have a piece you’d like to submit for me to possibly makeover, please email it to me at jessica @ Thanks!


From → graphic redesign

  1. I have a question. How come you're so awesome at this?

    – Shannon

  2. Ha! Thanks, Shannon. I love how you put “S” as your name in the comment box, but then sign your name at the end of the comment anyway. πŸ˜› Very anonymous!

  3. I LOVE this! Thank you so much! Now the question … may I use your redesigned slide? πŸ˜‰

  4. I love it! I was doing things like this all the time at church, and I've done a couple flyers at my current job also. I'd love to hear more pointers.

  5. Marie – thanks! And I already responded to the rest of this. πŸ˜€

    Jonathan – Thank you! So you should submit something, then! πŸ™‚

  6. Super cool. That's why I try to run all my graphic design projects by you. You're the best. And my sister, so you get first dibs on providing me with all the free help you would like to offer. πŸ™‚ Lucky you.

  7. Good advice all around!

  8. Wow, this is really cool! You dumbed it down enough so even a bumpkin like me can understand it, thank you : )

    It's so funny because when I first looked at the original slide I thought it looked fine. But then I saw the remake and was like, “Oh, yeah that looks WAY better”, but I couldn't have really said why. But then as I'm reading each point you made, they totally made sense and it was really cool just picking up that little bit of knowledge or insight or whatever. And now when I look at the original it's like, “Oh yeah, how did I not see that stuff in the first place?”

    Very interesting, thanks for sharing!

  9. Thanks, R! What an honor that I get first dibs at helping you.

    Thanks, hestergray!

    Dan, thanks, this is a great comment–that's exactly what I was going for with this post! I'm encouraged by these comments and anxious to do another. πŸ™‚

  10. I was visiting Grandma with K&F today. K was telling me how much she appreciated the lesson in graphic design you gave on your blog. I had to check the spot. She was very impressed and so am I! (I'm proud, too!) Thank you! Love, Mom

  11. Wow, this is great! I think this is going to be a really helpful series. πŸ™‚

  12. Tessa permalink

    This was great! All of your changes made so much sense and just made the slide come to life. I'm going to pass this post along to John because he is in the same boat designing slides for business presentations and just doing the standard stuff! Thanks!

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