It’s true. PowerPoint (PPT) is more popular than ever, so how do we designers deal with this? It’s not something we learn at college, it’s not something we are encouraged to become experts in. According to a majority of the design population, PPT is strictly for those who like to think they can design but can’t, for those that want to “show” you what they mean but have no other resource for which to do that.
I always thought that it was reserved for the corporate world. The world in which hundreds of people crowd into a room to listen to the head of Finance talk about end of year figures, or how the fall in oil prices leads to a dip in profits yadda, yadda, yadda.
But the reality is that it is now creeping in to all industries, including mine. People like its flexibility, its “get things done last minute” attitude, and the colours, oh the colours!!! We are seeing a sharp increase in requests for us to develop highly creative presentations…made in PPT. Clients want the same standard of design and the ability to make last minute amends without having to refer back to us to do it (at 1am on a Friday morning). Fair enough, I say.
Is it really that bad? Is it really true that you can’t do everything you can do in InDesign? No and yes. It really isn’t that bad. It’s a little clunky and slow to process commands at times. This is the general issue that most designers have with Microsoft products. However, there is a lot you can do with it. You can include brand colours, fonts even (as long as the end user has them on their machine). You can link to images, so that when they are adjusted in Photoshop they will adjust in the file (although this is glitchy at best). You can type on a curve, adjust and crop images. You can set up multiple master pages. It is also possible to animate nicely (if you know the most appropriate effects to use). But this all comes at a real cost. It take longer to develop so a designer will need a bigger budget in order to produce the same standard of work in PPT as you would expect in Indesign.
The other key point is that a designer needs to be willing and able to work in PPT. It is a completely different language to Adobe and, for some reason, designers find it hard to think in PPT. A designer’s brain mentally blocks the idea of PPT being good-looking.
As a business owner, and all-round great designer (I’m modest too!) I would never shy away from a challenge like this. I want to see what it can do, what direction it can take, and how useful it can be for us as a business. So on our list of service offerings, you will see presentation design proudly displayed. If you have a passion for design, you really should look at PPT as part of that creative process. It is never going to replace Adobe as the software of choice for designers across the land BUT it can complement it. To be able to keep up with the demand of your clients, PowerPoint needs to be embraced.