How To Create Presentations That Are Out Of This World


This morning, a beautiful new deck debuted on Slideshare.  Scroll through “How To Create Presentations That Are Out Of This World” by Slide Comet:


What fascinated me more than the gorgeous design was the conversation taking place in the “Comment” section below the deck.  This comment (since removed) from The Presentation Designer reveals the debate currently taking place about design plagiarism:

“Whilst, I can appreciate that this is a nice deck. What I don’t appreciate is you guys stealing the exact ideas in terms of colour scheme, layout and fonts from my ‘much’ earlier presentation –

Sure, it’s great to take inspiration from each other but I purposely go out of my way not to use similar fonts or ideas that another person has already published in their deck on Slideshare.

How is your slide 23 NOT extremely similar to my slide 3. You’ve even used the exact same font combinations and colour combination.

I know you can’t copyright a font combo or colour scheme and I wouldn’t normally make a fuss about something like this but think taking my ideas and re-purposing them ever so slightly is wrong. You don’t even credit me in the deck for some of the design / font inspiration” (Source).

Slides That Rock followed up with a comment:

“Let us share our experience and view. When we created the original ‘Slides That Rock’ deck, we used the fonts ‘Lobster Two’ and ‘Bebas Neue’. That combination has become very popular and you will find a number presentations on SlideShare using those fonts and even images that look like the ones we used. Most of those decks do not give us any credits and we are OK. We take it as an honor when people are influenced by us. We know and they know where the influence came from and as long as more people in the world create slides that rock, we are on the right track!” (Source).

Would you consider using similar colors design plagiarism?  Would you consider using the came combination of fonts design thievery?

Check out Eugene Cheng’s take on the situation in “Does Originality Still Exist?”

Chiara Ojeda is currently working on a blog post about the thin line between design inspiration and design thievery.  Follow her work at Tweak Your Slides, and watch out for her upcoming post.

Do you see any design thievery happening in the Slide Comet presentation?  Do you see plagiarism happening on Slideshare?  What do you think about the “You Stole My Design!” debate?


12 thoughts on “How To Create Presentations That Are Out Of This World

  1. Jacoub

    After comparing the two. The argument seems somewhat valid. But I really don’t see the clear intention of ‘thievery’ The fonts used were different ,the content was completely different at most they probably had one or two slides with a similar layout and a section with the same colour scheme. But overall as a whole, the design seems like it was stitched together from different author styles and not solely from one.

  2. Great post Alex!. It’s a bit like music for me. One singer sings it and it’s good. Another sings it and it’s better. People can only like what they know and someone must bring it to people’s attention. And after all, they’ll probably discover the original artist later. Let’s be thankful our work is ‘borrowed’, it adds to our credibility. I see lots of my work being borrowed inside the big companies I work with. I only get paid once but I gain more work from the internal sharing. Be proud of being copied, it’s not something that should be fought, it’s something to fight for. More plagiarism [but credit the originator and help them too]!

  3. A couple of old adages come to mind: “Good artists borrow. Great artists steal.” And this one: “To borrow from one source is plagiarism. To borrow from many is research.”

    Yes, there seemed to be a lot of similarities. But I’d be willing to bet even the original poster was influenced by other presentations he/she had seen. Possibly without even knowing it, he/she used someone else’s ideas, too. Imitation still equals flattery. The beauty and power of the sharing sites is that we all learn from and influenced by others. We develop our own styles and techniques, and so it goes.

    Just my two cents’ worth this afternoon…

    (Oh…good ideas all around!) :)

  4. Jacoub

    I found many presentations where 80% of it had a really similar design to Emiland’s Visual Presentation deck, without a credit at the end either. No debate arose from those though

  5. It seems as if I have sparked an interesting debate in the community. Though this wasn’t intentional.

    I’ve come to terms with the fact that as a designer it is extremely difficult to protect your own style and everyone is well aware of the term great artists steal.

    Whilst, I can agree that this is true in many cases. I believe it is important to try and break free from the people you idolise or take inspiration from in design, instead trying to carve out your own path.

    Jacoub – said that Emiland’s decks designs are often replicated to a degree – however, I’d say that Emiland has a distinct style and that is a more difficult thing to follow, unless your actually Emiland himself.

    All I can say is I feel very passionately about my designs and anyone who can understand the amount of effort and hours that goes into constructing a presentation (and not just on the design side of things) I can appreciate why I spoke out.

    I feel there must be a place for any designer to raise concerns about their work.

    I’ve seen other great designers on Slideshare credit decks, or other designers that they have taken inspiration from and this great to see.

    The presentation design community is a really great group and what we are doing over on Slideshare is really pushing the boundaries of presentation design to its limits and developing the medium further.

    I think all of us do learn something from one another. However, it is very easy to slip into idolisation (I’ve done it myself). I truly believe it is important to do it your own way and carve out your own style.

    • I’ve definitely seen more and more presentations on Slideshare that blur the lines between “I was inspired by this deck” and “I’m just going to copy this deck,” so I believe this is an important discussion that we should all participate in. Thank you for your comment -AR

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