Tuesday, June 19, 2012

10 Tips for using images in presentations

Have just got around to uploading a few bits and bobs to SlideShare and thought that it might be handy to share the '10 tips for using images in presentations' slides I did. They're dead simple...

1. Fill the screen for more impact
Using a small image can be okay sometimes, but for a really punchy slide filling it with the whole of an image can work brilliantly - it not only helps you emphasise your point but keeps you from jamming on too much text (which just won't be read)

2. Make sure your image leaves enough space for the text
... so, when you're looking for images to use - keep that one in mind!

3. Don't use clipart
... well, not if you can help it. It's kinda stuck in the 1990s and looks amateurish. It can be okay if you edit the clipart so it fits in with your overall style for the slides, but generally best to avoid

4. Avoid busy images
Too much stuff going on in the image makes it hard to read any text over the top - if you *need* to use *that* image, then consider using a slightly transparent fill behind the text / applying a little bit of shadow to the text to help it stand out.

5. Avoid pixelated images
The normal culprit here is using an image which either isn't high enough resolution or is too small and you stretched it to make it larger on the presentation. Don't! Find good / appropriate quality shots and use them instead. Pixelated = poor quality.

6. Work with your colour scheme
Don't have a colour scheme? Get one! You can search for particular colour images in compfight.com and finding something that complements what you're trying to do with the design of your slides is really what you're after. The exception here is if you're deliberately using the colour to make a point. I might use a darker image to create a particular mood then contrast that with one with bright blues and greens etc to open things out again. Whatever you do, think about the impact those colour choices have on the message you're trying to get across.

7. Avoid cheesy shots
Stock images with smiley models posing awkwardly? Not so much! Don't be too literal either. I remember seeing a presentation one time where every point was illustrated with a literal image. Where they talked about 'building bridges' - up popped an image of a bridge. 'Reaching out to students' - there was an image of someone reaching out. It's just a bit... well... awkward... and in the end takes the emphasis off what you're trying to present!

Everyone likes a little bit of sparkle in their
presentations... right?
8. Don't let the image dominate
Remember, this is a presentation which *you* are giving - the images are like visual punctuation. They can help make points, they can emphasise or set a mood... they can illustrate... but they shouldn't take over. If the audience are mesmerised by the images you've used... they're not listening to you!

9. Use the rule of thirds
Actually, use basic design principles. Presentation Zen has a wealth of these that will apply perfectly to your presentation and the way you use images. Go... have a read. It really will help you get away from that boring bullet point style and get you feeling comfortable with using images to good effect.

10. Don't infringe copyright
This is SO important. Either get permission, use Creative Commons licensed images (in accordance with the license) or use your own shots. It's not hard to take okay shots and it'll keep you on nice safe grounds with your presentations. Equally, there are tons of fantastic images with a CC license that you can use.

As long as you're thinking about the images you use, how you use them and why... that's a much better place to be than just glueing bad images onto a bullet-point heavy presentation. Trust me on this one. :o)


  1. Can we talk to Corporate Branding/Marketing about point 7 please?

    1. Hahahaha! You can't beat a bit of cheese in a corporate presentation! :o)

  2. thanks for sharing this post..

  3. If you want some reliable and professional presentation agency in order to make a good impression I strongly recommend you http://buffalo7.co.uk/ I have worked with these guys and they are amazing!


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