Presentation Design

Minimalist PowerPoint Design: Know How To Solve The Problem

By Julbenson Hujon
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Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. 
- Antoine de Saint-Exupery French writer (1900–1944)

You may have heard the term Minimalist/ Minimalism doing its rounds everywhere. Probably from your boss, colleagues, your design partner or on the internet. Ever wondered what and how this concept of minimalist PowerPoint design can be applied to your next presentation?

Design as a visual concept and approach is changing and evolving. Take a look at the top brand like Microsoft, Apple, and Google five years ago and today. Noticed any difference? A subtle one even? Why the changes... could it be because of our short attention span or just a shift in general taste, or plain laziness of the designer? Whatever be the reasons behind it, it is gaining popularity and not going away soon.

So what is minimalist design?

Simply put, "Less is More", but this does not mean fewer hours put into designing! You will be surprised to know how far away from truth that thought is.

Minimalism as it is called, is a concept that aims at simplicity and objectivity. It is an intention aimed at being simple and clear, all elements stripped down to its barest essentials or elements to deliver maximum impact.

Minimalist design is a visual movement of going back to basics and driving focus and important on using less color, more white-space, better typography, grid layouts and images/photography.

Is the concept applicable to a PowerPoint presentation as well?

Would you want to present your ideas and concept in a scrapbook? or would you rather present your brilliant ideas to make an impact on the audience? Isn't that why you are giving a presentation in the first place?

So how are we going to do this?

You are in luck, transforming your slides into minimalist PowerPoint design does not have to be that daunting. Here are the guidelines that would help you plan/create an engaging visual presentation.

7 Steps that will help you plan your first Minimalist PowerPoint Presentation Design.

1- Slide Content: Planning your slide content is key to achieving a minimalist visual presentation. Consider this, have only the most important point and take away on your slide, deliver the rest through your speech. Get the audience excited and engaged.

Can you imagine the awkward situation where you have to pause in the middle of your presentation just to give the audiences time to read your slide? IF they read it at all! Many get bored and shut-down for the time it takes to read the slide.

2- Content Layout: After you have your content ready, this is your next step, drafting the layout and getting your designer or designing partner to work on organizing your slide using grid and guides in PowerPoint. This will keep your slide organized and give a harmonious feel.

content layout in a PowerPoint slide

3- Space (white-space): Space and content is an important integral part of minimalism. White-space is not an empty space, on a slide it is as important as your other elements like text or image. Each design element must have enough room to stand on its own, breathability is important. This also helps the audience skim through and digest the content while you deliver your well prepared speech.

4- Contrast: When we hear the word contrast, the first thing that comes to our mind is color! But in a broader context it is pairing elements with opposing forces, they distinctively contain a lot of contrast between elements - combining shapes, like circle and a triangle, solid line and dotted line, stark design with an elaborate typeface.

The focal point on your slide should have a noticeable difference from the rest of the surrounding elements.

5- Color: As mentioned above color and contrast are closely related and often misunderstood that contrast is only in color. No doubt that contrast can be easily achieve through color. But when we say minimal, it does not mean that you have to resort to a black and white presentation, that would be boring. Instead let your brand colors guide you and balance your color palette.

Choose your colors wisely

Choose your color scheme wisely, stick to one or two colors, and utilizing hue in light and
dark profile. 
Tweet: Choose your color scheme wisely, stick to one or two colors, and utilizing hue in light and dark profile

6- Typography: The effectiveness of getting your message across is also dependent on the typeface used in your slide. Just as important as your speech, this is also true with the typeface on your slide, both should compliment each other. So choose wisely if not already specified in your brand guideline.


Most common to minimalist design is Sans serif typography as they have simple clean lines and crisp edges that add to the visual impact.

Legibility is key to selecting the type for your presentation.

7- Visual Hero: This is the juicy stuff, but don't get caught up with having too many visuals on a single slide to communicate your idea. As a designer this is where I get lost often and just too many temptations. There is a specific reason why it is called Hero, it is singled out as a dominant element on your slide.

Visual hero

Pick your Hero wisely, they will save or kill you, if not leave you red faced!.You can use block of text, icon or a simple shape and illustration graphic.

Equally important is to step back, relax and review your slide deck. Have you got everything you need on your slides? Any last minute tweaks to bring out the perfectionist in you?

Oh and needless to say, give yourself enough time to rehearse and synchronize your speech with your beautiful slides.

Do you have more points to add to this list? Why not share them in the comment below.

PowerPoint formatting requirements

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