3 Rules for Choosing a Presentation Template

Choosing a Presentation Template

One of my favorite things to do is design research. That basically means I get to browse around Pinterest and look at pretty things in the name of inspiration. There’s a lot of great, inspiring stuff out there – graphic designers doing really cool things in the presentation space. And for all you non-designers out there snagging and customizing a presentation template is a great way to add some legitimacy to your brand.

But beware! There are a lot of templates that you can purchase that look awesome but make for terrible presentations! Looks aren’t everything and pretty presentations aren’t better presentations. Here are some things to keep in mind when you choose a presentation template. And scroll to the bottom for a presentation template source recommendation!

01 Does the template highlight or obscure my content? 

When you look at presentation templates stay focused. It’s really easy to get distracted by flashy graphics and polished slides. But, as we all know, content is king! Before you purchase a template ask yourself “does this make the content easy to read or will my content be second to the design?” If you can’t definitely say that your content will be the focal point of the slides then you need to move along.

02 Does it work with my brand? 

This seems like a no brainer, but you’d be surprised at how easy it is to get distracted by a pretty design (to be honest, I’ve done it myself. Luckily, I work with so many different clients that I get to use a wide variety of design styles.) When you’re building presentations for your brand it’s important to remember to be consistent! Only choose a template that works with your existing materials. If you’re a children’s company, you probably don’t want a presentation template that has a super urban vibe.

03 Will it look good after I make changes? 

Just because a template starts out looking good, doesn’t mean it ends that way. Be very mindful of how much design skill is required to keep a presentation looking good. Are there a lot of custom graphics? Are the slides laid out like artwork? If it’s not immediately clear how your changes will affect a presentation template you’re probably better off skipping it. Stick to clean, flat design decks that will be easy to change.


So those are three really quick rules of thumb to choosing your own template and avoiding a high cost designer. Obviously, as a presentation designer I think there’s a ton of value to having a professional to work with, because good presentations aren’t about visual designer. But, if you’re an un/underfunded startup or even just someone who wants to put together a tight looking presentation for a new idea at work then templates are the way to get it done fast and affordably.

My absolute favorite place to pick up a template is Graphic River in the Envato marketplace. What do I love about it?

  • It’s a strong community so if you have a problem you won’t be left hanging
  • There are TONS  presentation template options (in Powerpoint AND Keynote) to choose from and there are great filters to help you find what you’re looking for
  • Most of the templates are under $20 for hundreds of slides and variations
  • If you really need help customizing a template you can usually pay to get it done (word of caution – this can be hit or miss. Better to try to do it yourself and see what you come up with).

Remember to ask yourself these three questions as you search for your new presentation template – happy hunting!


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