Disorganized Slides

This content originally appeared in Slide:ology by Nancy Duarte.

Now it’s time to set our sights on another slide type: disorganized slides.

disorganized slide design example

This is a sample of what we might see.The information feels a little disorganized. It might feel like we sort of put it up there, and at least we got something up there to present. We want to think about our slides and remember that they represent our ideas. They represent us. A lack of organization makes people feel a little less confident in the message. Just tightening things up a bit, it doesn’t take much, can really make your slides look crisp. Make your slide elements orderly and neat, and people will have more confidence in the message you are sharing through those slides.

Apply Slide Layouts

There are a couple of points you should think about when you’re trying to organize your slides. A simple, but often overlooked step, is to apply slide layouts. Presentation applications include slide layouts, with areas that show that the title goes here, the placeholder here, and text here. Sometimes when we’re working with our slides, we move things around and we get jumbled up. Often, just reapplying layouts will snap everything into place. As you go from slide to slide, elements feel unified, in the same place, and elements won’t be jumping around. It’s a simple step, but a lot of people neglect it.

new products on a slide

If we have a slide like this, we might have used placeholders for some of the images. We moved them around until they were out of place.

clean slide design example

When we apply the slide layout, we put the images in the place designated by the template. Applying the slide layout is a simple step to help organize our slides.

Align Elements

Another step is aligning the elements, and simple alignment can go a long way.

disorganized slide design example

For a slide like this, we’ve randomly included some badge photos of people on our team.

clean looking slide design example

To improve this slide, do a little bit of aligning. You might align things to the bottom or spread them out. Some simple clean up can go a long way to bring order to a disorganized slide.

original slide designed to look much better

We applied a nice grid to create alignment in this slide, and all of a sudden, it feels like there is some design to it. Now, it feels like that must have taken a lot of work; it must be from the work of a designer. Let’s think about that. To get this image to where it’s at, what did we have to do?  We had to import it, move it around, maybe scale it or crop it; about three steps. To get our images here, what did we have to do? We had to import it, we had to move it around, we had to scale it or crop it.  That’s the same amount of moves! For almost the same amount of work, you can get something that is clean, organized, and unified from slide to slide.

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