20 presentation ideas that will inspire you

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

A great presentation does more than just inform its audience. It captivates, educates and takes them on a journey. It leaves them thinking about it and wanting more, long after the final slide rolls!

But with research showing 46% of people can’t sit through a presentation without losing focus, you need to pull out all the stops to hold their attention. This means pairing a strong, engaging message with impactful design and multimedia elements.

Via Dribbble

So, how do you take your presentation from ‘pass the coffee’ to ‘play it again!’? Whether you’re creating a pitch deck for a new business idea, holding a conference or teaching students, these 20 creative presentation ideas will spark your inspiration.

Presentation idea #1: Play with shapes and graphics

An eye-catching presentation instantly makes the audience sit up and pay attention. This means going beyond just text and photos! Layering elements like graphics and shapes throughout your slides is a great way to add more visual interest.

Via Behance

You can see this in action in the above presentation. From the image blocks to the icons and graphics on the slides, the designer has used an array of different shapes. These elements work together to create a bold and modern presentation.

Not sure which shapes and graphics work well together? Canva’s White Simple and Colorful Geometric Company Meeting Presentation template has done all the heavy lifting for you—all you need to do is add in your own content and colors!

Presentation idea #2: Incorporate video

Adding video is a great way to make your presentation more engaging and fun to watch. Plus, research shows that people retain 95% of the information they see in video vs just 10% in text. You might choose to embed a video speaking into the presentation, a walkthrough of your product or service, or even just stock footage to elevate your visuals.

Via Behance

This presentation for beekeeper app Beeqos uses video in a creative way. Not only have they used video footage throughout, but they have layered animated graphics on top of video backgrounds.

Want to use video to take your own presentation to the next level? Canva’s Blue and Green Fun Presentation template is the perfect place to start. Simply switch out the background footage from our extensive library of royalty-free stock video.

Presentation idea #3: Layer text

The opening slide of your presentation is important. It needs to instantly grab attention and tell the audience what it’s going to be about. That said, you only get so much space to work with to set the scene for your presentation.

The solution? Layer your text! Not only is this is a great way to fit more information into your slide without overcrowding it, but it creates an interesting visual effect.

Via Behance

In the above presentation, you can see how this layering effect creates an avant-garde aesthetic and adds more visual depth. The key here is to use different fonts, colors and textures and font sizes, so that your text stands out and is readable.

Our Pink and White Handdrawn Visual Arts Class Education presentation template artfully layers text in a clear yet effective way. Make it your own in Canva today!

Presentation idea #4: Use illustrations

Adding illustrations is one of the easiest ways to make your slideshow more fun and engaging. Not only do the add a human touch, but they’re a great way to illustrate tricky or abstract concepts in a more accessible way.

Via Dribbble

In the above example you can see how illustrations have been used to elevate an otherwise corporate presentation. It quickly takes the information from dry and boring to dynamic and relatable. This can be seen in not only the larger illustrations of people, but also the smaller icons to illustrate key points.

The good news is, you don’t have to be a professional illustrator to use them in your presentation! The Yellow and Purple Illustrated Voice Talent Minimalist Marketing presentation is one of Canva’s many templates featuring in-built illustrations.You can also switch these out with other illustrations from our extensive elements library.

Presentation idea #5: Consider mobile

Gone as the days when presentations were solely delivered in a boardroom. In our digital era—and especially with so many working remotely currently—your slideshow may be watched on an array of different devices. That includes mobile!

It’s important to think about how your presentation will appear on smaller, vertical screens as well as on desktop. You might even choose to create a separate, mobile-friendly version of your presentation!

Via 365 Labs

This slideshow is a great example of a presentation that has been optimized for mobile. Not only does it have a vertical orientation, but it has clear, bold text that would be easy to read on the smaller screen. It also appears to include ‘swipe’ gestures that lend itself well to mobile.

Not sure where to start when it comes to designing your presentation for mobile? No problem! Canva has an entire library of mobile-first presentation templates, such as the Blue and White Illustrative Technology Startup Pitch Deck Mobile First Presentation. The best part is, many of these templates are also available for desktop screens, so you can easily repurpose your content across both platforms.

Presentation idea #6: Make it interactive

Great public speakers don’t talk at their audience—they make it a two-way conversation! One of the best ways to do this is to add interactive elements to your presentation.

Ask questions, give prompts and ask for opinions. With virtual presentation tools like Zoom and Facebook Live including live messaging, it’s easier than ever to generate that real-time engagement. But, even if you’re not presenting live, you can still get the conversation flowing by encouraging your audience to leave feedback in comment boxes.

Via Visme

You can see the power of interactive elements in the above presentation. The designer includes the audience in the conversation in a humorous and relatable way by asking them to choose from the three scenarios. This not only builds rapport with the audience, but it helps them better understand their struggles and pain points.

Want to boost engagement in your own presentation? Canva’s Stop Start Continue Presentation template includes handy prompts to get the conversation flowing!

Presentation tip #7: Add product mockups

Want to show off your product or service in action? Product mockups are the way to go!

This is where you embed a visual of your product inside a frame, such as a phone or tablet screen. This is a great way to not only help the audience contextualise your concept, but also to visually break up your presentation. Plus, they make your product photos look more polished and professional than just including the images loose on a slide.

Via Behance

You can see this in action in the above pitch deck for Guru. By including a 3D rendering of their security system inside the mock-up frame, they help the audience visualise how their product might work. This helps to build trust and credibility around their solution.

Whether you want to take a leaf out of Guru’s book and include a 3D mock-up or just stick to photo or video, Canva’s Blue and Pink Modern Technology Keynote Presentation template is the perfect place to start.

Presentation idea #8: Use animated elements

Flicking through slide after slide of presentation can become a little tedious. But, it doesn’t have to be! By adding animation, you can quickly take your slideshow from stale and static to dynamic and fun. These can be animated elements on your actual slides, the transition between the slides, or both!

Via Dribbble

Take this presentation for publishing company Vice, for example. To showcase various articles and content themes, the designer has overlaid text, images and footage onto a phone screen. Paired with the animated elements, this creates a highly engaging presentation.

The key to using animation in a tasteful way in your presentation is moderation. You don’t want to go overboard with animated elements that take away from your message. Canva’s Black and White Illustrated Startup Business Animated Presentation template contains just the right amount of animation!

Presentation idea #9: Include ongoing motifs throughout your presentation

You want your presentation to be polished, branded and consistent. An excellent way to do this is to thread ongoing motifs throughout. This may be an icon, graphic or shape that appears on every slide in some form.

Via Behance

You can see an example of this in this presentation for Fluxica. They have a couple of recurring motifs that appear throughout their slideshow—the gradient ‘orb’ effect, and the jagged lines, both in a teal color. By dispersing these throughout, they tie their presentation together beautifully.

You can achieve a similar effect with Canva’s Blue and Purple Gradient Simple Listing Presentation template. Just personalize it with your own colors and you’re ready to go!

Presentation idea #10: Incorporate a grid layout

Collage-style graphics are a great way to inject more color and personality into your presentation. They allow you to add more photos into your presentation in a way that doesn’t feel too cluttered or overwhelming. They’re also useful for communicating your brand values and showing the human faces behind your face.

Via Behance

In this presentation, the designer has used grid layouts in a number of creative ways. They use this tool to showcase the experience they create for their customers, the projects they have worked on before and the people who make up their team.

Want to showcase the ‘who’ and ‘why’ behind your own brand? Check out Canva’s White Blue Green and Yellow Photo Collage Modern Company Culture template.

Presentation idea #11: Visually communicate complex ideas

Quantitative data can be extremely persuasive in presentations. But, let’s be honest—numbers aren’t very fun to look at! From flow and pie charts to pie graphs, infographics are an excellent way to illustrate complex stats in a more compelling way.

Via Dribbble

In this slide deck, you can see how the designer has used visuals to make this type of information more digestible. By making use of a few different types of infographics, they’ve also made their presentation far more interesting to look at.

Want to use visual charts throughout your own presentation but don’t want to create them from scratch? Canva’s Blue and White Chart Presentation has many different types you can choose from. All you need to do is add in your own data!

Presentation idea #12: Pull out key stats

Infographics aren’t the only way you can draw attention to powerful stats. You can also drive focus through the use of bold and eye-catching typography. You can see this in action in the below slide deck for services marketplace, Bark.

Via Dribbble

Their bold and modern typography lets their impressive stats speak for themselves. By laying this information out in this simple and impactful way, they’re made it extremely easy for viewers to understand and contextualise.

Want to showcase your data in a similarly understated yet impactful way? Take Canva’s Violet and Purple Chaos Technology Presentation template for a spin!

Presentation idea #13: Include an index

With any type of presentation, it’s important to set the agenda with the audience so they know what to expect (and, how long your presentation might take!) Slideshows are no exception.

It’s a great idea to include an index near the beginning. Similar to a table of contents in a book, this tells your audience what you will be covering through your presentation. This is particularly useful if it’s a self-guided presentation, so that the viewer can easily flick between slides as needed.

Via Dribbble

You can see this in action in this slideshow for design agency Aerolab. They’ve used this introduction slide to establish what’s to come in the presentation. They’ve lined these sections up with the number on the slides, so that the viewer can easily reference these. The result is a presentation that’s professional, polished and user-friendly.

You can set the agenda in your own presentation by using Canva’s Neon Green and White Simple Gradient Review Presentation as a starting point.

Presentation idea #14: Alternate your slide layout

Presentations with the exact same layout on every slide are a one-way ticket to snoozeville. To hold your audience’s attention throughout your presentation, you need to keep them guessing. You don’t want them to be able to predict exactly what’s going to be on the next slide!

A great way to keep things fresh and interesting is to alternate your slide layout. This means changing up the orientation and composition of your slides throughout your presentation.

Via Dribbble

This doesn’t mean you have to design every slide in your presentation from scratch. But as you can see in the above example, switching up your colors, alignment and text sizing throughout keeps the content from falling flat. Just be sure to keep some elements consistent (like your fonts) to tie it all together.

Featuring varied layouts, Canva’s Maroon and Cream Modern Business Marketing presentation template will ensure your slideshow never feels monotonous.

Presentation idea #15: Use a photo background

You don’t always have to use solid colored or graphic backgrounds in your slideshow. Why not mix things up with some photo backgrounds? Not only can these make your presentation feel more unique, but it can also help to give it a more personalized feel (even if you’re just using stock images!)

Via Behance

In this presentation, you can see how commanding a photo background can be. It immediately draws in the viewer’s eye, especially with the graphic icon overlay. But, you don’t always have to feature images of a person—lifestyle and landscape images can work just as well!

Want to make your presentation stand out through the power of beautiful imagery? Check out Canva’s Green and White Simple Health Care Deck presentation template.

Presentation idea #16: Add a colored overlay

Another great way to add image backgrounds to your slideshow is with a colored overlay. This is a filter or gradient that goes over the top of your photo. Not only can it create more visual depth and interest, but it also ensures that the text you layer over the top is legible.

Via Behance

Layering two different gradient colors over the top of an image, the above presentation is a great example of this effect in action. This creates a fun, bright aesthetic that perfectly complements the rest of the slideshow.

Get the look in your own presentation with Canva’s Blurred Nature Mother Quote Wide template. You can adjust the opacity of this layer in Canva using the ‘transparency’ slider.

Presentation idea #17: Use an unexpected theme

There’s no reason you can’t have fun with your presentation. After all, if you’re enjoying yourself, your audience likely will too! Using a quirky or unexpected theme for your presentation is a great way to make it stand out against the crowd.

For example, this presentation for a tech company has a comic-book inspired aesthetic. It’s fun, engaging and doesn’t take itself too seriously—which can be a refreshing change in a sea of corporate presentations!

Want to take your audience on a trip back through time with a 90s computer-inspired presentation? Check out Canva’s Violet and Purple Sales Presentation template.

Presentation idea #18: Go minimalist

More is not always more when it comes to slideshow presentation. If your brand is quite mature and sophisticated, you may find that a more minimalist aesthetic is more suitable. Free from all the bells and whistles (such as lots of graphics and animations) and with plenty of white space, this ensures the focus stays on your message.

Via Behance

This presentation for branding company Bornfight shows how you can still make a major impact with minimal elements. They’ve nailed their sleek, minimalist aesthetic in a way that doesn’t feel stale.

Want to achieve the same monochrome, minimalist approach in your presentation? Canva’s Black and White Simple Fitness Mobile App Brand Guidelines Presentation template is the perfect blank canvas.

Presentation idea #19: Add pops of color

Want to go down the minimalist route, but don’t want your presentation to feel too flat or boring? A great way to get the best of both worlds is by adding pops of color to your slideshow.

Using a neutral color scheme as a base, pick just one accent color that you’ll use through your presentation. That’s what VR Education company Jenius has done in the presentation above, and the result is an engaging yet professional-looking presentation.

Incorporate a punchy pop of color into your own presentation with Canva’s Editorial Markup Stop Start Continue Brainstorm Presentation template.

Presentation idea #20: Incorporate humor

If all else fails, make your audience laugh! People tend to remember humorous presentations far more than serious ones. This could mean adding in an amusing graphic or gif, or tickling your audience’s funnybones through wordplay, puns or relatable humor. It all depends what’s on brand for you!

Via BoredPanda

For example, the above presentation may not be the most beautifully-designed. But, it’s certainly memorable, and drives home the presenter’s point about the importance of search engine optimization!

Want a presentation template that merges beautiful design and bold humor? You can’t go past Canva’s Brown and White Dating Presentation.

At the end of the day, a presentation is always more than just a presentation. It usually represents an opportunity—whether that’s to win a new client (or impress an existing one) raise investment capital or even just to teach someone something new. By taking inspiration from these creative presentation ideas, you can ensure your slideshow is memorable, engaging and powerful. That way, you can go in with the confidence that you’re making the most of the opportunity in front of you.

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