Learn the 5 common mistakes in PowerPoint templates for your next rebrand

As a PowerPoint specialist, I see many different corporate PowerPoint templates. While some are created perfectly, others have room for improvement and some need to be scrapped and started again. 

What’s wrong with some of the templates that I see? Most haven’t been created properly in PowerPoint making them problematic for users. Let’s be honest, we want to make life easy for our staff, not more difficult. Incomplete templates result in poor user adoption, and additional time creating presentations, because staff must spend time fixing issues.  

How does this happen? Designers do a fabulous job of designing stunning slides and templates because they have an eye for detail and the ability to make things look beautiful. Not all designers have the skills to transfer their beautiful designs into a PowerPoint template. Building a template requires a different set of skills to designing one.  

Here is a list of five errors I frequently see with corporate PowerPoint templates. 

#1. Missing corporate colours  

The most common thing I see wrong with PowerPoint templates is that the brand colours haven’t been added to the template. In other words, the colours have been added to the slides and not added to the slide master, i.e. the template. This means that when you go to add content in PowerPoint for example a chart, a table, or a SmartArt graphic the default colours are picked up, resulting in your branding being mixed up with the default Microsoft colours. 

#2. Inconsistent fonts 

The second most common issue I see in PowerPoint templates is that fonts have not been added to the template. At first glance you might not notice there’s an issue. But when you go to insert a text box, the font within the text box contains the default font, and not your brand font. This means that you’ll have inconsistent branding throughout your PowerPoint file and users will spend precious time picking through slides changing the fonts to match, that’s if they even notice the errant font in the first place. And let’s be honest we don’t want our users to spend more time than necessary creating PowerPoint slides. 

#3. Functionality 

In addition to looking good, slide layouts must be functional too. I often see templates with imposing background graphics on every slide, and there are no blank, or title only slides. What if we want to a chart or SmartArt? Then we end up with a tiny chart that will be difficult for our audience to read. Yes, we can Hide Background Graphics for that slide, but that’s making it difficult for our staff. We want to make life easy for the people using the template, not harder!

#4. Poor contrast 

Is it important for your organisation that people viewing your slides can read the text? Of course it is! I see many organisations whose font colour and background colour combinations would not pass an accessibility check. Yes, there is such a thing as accessibility checkers. They test the font colour relative to the background colour of text. For example, this newsletter is written in black text against a white background. Has anyone checked the colour combinations in your template? There are some great online tools available that will give you an indication as to whether the font colour and background colour can be read at certain font sizes. For example, your text may pass at a larger font size and fail at a smaller font size. This is important for presentations, websites, and printed media. I commonly see pale brand colours being used for the font colour on a white background and it’s very hard to read the text.  

#5. Variants 

When creating a template in PowerPoint it’s very important that we strip out the variants from the original file. If this task isn’t done, strange things will happen when working with the PowerPoint file. You will lose all your custom formatting, for example, colour palette and fonts, when someone changes either the slide size, or chooses a different variant in the PowerPoint file. If you’re not sure what I mean by variants, these can be found on the Design tab. 

Now you know about the pitfalls, what can you do to ensure this doesn’t happen with your corporate template? We offer a template review service where we work with you to ensure you get a fully finished, functional template. We provide a detailed report giving guidance and feedback that you can pass on to your designer. 

Now you have a fabulous template, what next? To ensure full user adoption we can work with you to design a training program that incorporates your brand guidelines and train your staff on the fundamentals of PowerPoint so that they can create professional, on-brand slides quickly and present them with confidence. 

Thank you for reading this article. I’d love to hear your feedback on these tips.

If you would like to know more about creating professional looking slides to wow your audience, please  book a call

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