Design Tip of the Day


While perusing Slideshare this morning, I realized that one element sets apart a good slideshow from a great slideshow.

Now, let’s first define “slideshow.”  A slideshow is a visual presentation.  A slideshow is not a slideument.  It does not include bullet points.  It doesn’t use a template, and it isn’t death-by-PowerPoint.  A slideshow is visual.  It applies the picture superiority effect.  It utilizes glance media, and the audience can easily digest the slide’s content in 3 seconds.  Slideshare, unfortunately, does still contain ineffective slideshows.  They regularly look like this:


That being said, when looking through real slideshows, what one quality separates the winners from the losers?  Our design tip of the day is an important one: don’t be corny.

Image Credit

Examples of corny include corny transitions and animations; corny clip art; corny stock photos; and corny templates.  The example above falls victim to all of the above.

Below is an example of a Slideshare presentation that works.  Judging only the first slide, I was immediately drawn in and wanted to click to learn more.  My first impressions are rarely wrong on Slideshare… If the first slide sucks, the rest of the slideshow sucks.


I liked Contemporary Trends because of the elegant font and the simplicity of the first slide.  The punch is, actually, a lack of punch.  This first slide relies on restraint, one of Garr Reynolds’ most important principles in Presentation Zen.  Clicking through Diana Carrico‘s slideshow, we see these themes of elegance, simplicity, and restraint repeated. She avoids the flames transition and doesn’t have “comet” animation flying her text in. On the second slide, she doesn’t use a clip art chair; she uses an actual image of a chair.  The element I’m most excited Carrico doesn’t use: templates!  There is no “Craft” or “Industrial” or “Sedona.”  She uses simple black and white.  This is a slideshow that works… because it isn’t corny.


3 thoughts on “Design Tip of the Day

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