Let’s get something out of the way first: it’s your business model, your vision as a founder and your ability to pitch what will determine if you get funding or not. We are not going to argue that.
Still, designing a pitch deck that stands out can say a lot about the stage your company is in, and your ability to execute. All internet companies rely on high engagement and high conversion rates to grow, and the only way to achieve that is with a remarkable UX design. Your pitch deck is a reflection of the ability you and your team have to generate a product that is intuitive enough to reach mass adoption.
The best pitch decks are an extension of what the startup is already doing. They portray what’s being done, how it’s being done and how it can be done better with more money. Without a doubt, the best pitch decks make a compelling case for the investment.
In a previous article, we covered the ideal pitch deck outline and how the principles of storytelling can help you nail a convincing story. Please refer to those first before working on the design part of it.
Let’s get to it, then:
Fonts + TEXT + AMOUNT OF CONTENT
Be sure to make your pitch slide engaging with legible content. Stick to big, bold fonts with highly-contrasting backgrounds. It's more than just about aesthetics. No one wants to expend effort reading a slide. If the text is not easy to understand, your audience will lose interest and zone out.
The main issue when addressing text is how much is enough, and when to stop. Most presentations derive from previous materials, like page documents, and because of that people tend to go a little overboard when adding information to a presentation. The main issue with this is that if a slide is full of text, people either ignore it completely in order to listen to you, or worse even, ignore you in an attempt to read what’s written. Best advice we can give you is do NOT type *everything* on the slides, rather, use only keywords to help the audience (and yourself) keep up with your story. Keep text to an absolute minimum.
Break it down into simple parts. Each slide should convey a single idea that doesn’t require a degree in rhetoric to decode. Your talking points don’t need to take up all the real estate on your pitch deck either. If you put a dense paragraph on a slide, it’ll prevent your audience from absorbing your main points.
The simpler, the better. A great chat is not one that has a ton of data but one that represent what you're explaining in a clear way.
If you’re using charts or graphs on a slide, that information should be immediately apparent. Think about how the figures or facts connect to your central premise and focus on what you want the audience to get from the slide.
Finally, bear in mind that complex data sets were never meant to reach the presentation medium. They take too long to understand. Due to their complexity, the font becomes too little, and therefore they are pretty much impossible to read from the audience perspective. So the answer is: DON’T.
Keep in mind that people remember images better than text. Be sure to include attractive photos that dramatize your talking points. The images should be relevant, bright and unique. A high-quality image lets you play up that visual on the slide. If you have a lot of text to incorporate, use half the space for writing and the other half for the image. Don’t try to squeeze in too much; one high-quality visual that sums up the central theme is enough. If the slide warrants multiple pictures, be sure to arrange them aesthetically. Borders or frames should be added to each image. As a rule, images are best when used to tell your story more succinctly.
Also, DO NOT use stock photos of people at a meeting room, posing towards the camera, nor any clip art of characters solving a puzzle, or the absolute worse: two guys in suit shaking hands. Not only does it look absolutely hideous, but no one can relate to those images. They are super fake and make you look like a really bad presenter. Check out these great sources of photos, so you don’t have to use them ever again.
To get an idea of how your pitch deck might look, take a peek at some of these templates.
Successful behemoths like Facebook and YouTube have used pitch decks to launch. Mark Zuckerberg turned his dorm room project into a success using pitch decks to receive $500,000 from a billionaire venture capitalist. It included the company’s value proposition, marketing plan, traffic and key metrics. Airbnb is a platform that allows folks to find and rent lodging. It’s one of the greatest startups of all times, and its pitch deck is a favorite for entrepreneurs. This company used great text in its intro and hooked its audience. Even a 5-year old could have understood what its business is all about.
Remember, the best pitch decks demonstrate that you understand what your business is all about and who your customers are, but don’t waste an opportunity to reinforce your brand to investors.