There is no doubt that PowerPoint Slideshows are possibly the most used medium when it comes to presentations, speeches and demonstrations. PowerPoint has always been easy, intuitive and very effective in getting ideas through to your audience more effectively. While it is possible for you to integrate a number of different graphics, media and animations into your presentation, it may not be the best idea to do so. Templates have taken center stage recently, as they define a common structure to the entire presentation, and maintain continuity between two slides. A number of sites like powerslides.com offer the widest range of templates for all looks and purposes, but it is not at all difficult for you to make your own template. But, there are several ways you can go wrong when designing your template and these could make a presentation with good content into a bad presentation which no one would like to see.
Using Poorly Selected Background
The background of your template will be repeated in every slide! You must ensure that you choose a relevant background which goes with the theme of your presentation, and also does not conflict with your content. Contrast is important, and hence snazzy backgrounds with too many colors or distinct textures are discouraged. Often solid colors or minimalist graphics are enough. Your background must never take anything away from the slide itself, by distracting the viewer or inhibiting the visibility of the text or content.
Selecting Incorrect Font Choices
This is possibly the worst mistake you could make while designing your template. Your content is everything, and it will not do you much good if no one is able to read it off your slides. For enhanced legibility, use sans serif fonts. Serif fonts are very difficult to read from afar as the characters bleed into each other. Monospace fonts may not be beautiful, but they too maintain a clean look on your slide due to fixed character width. Script type fonts are a serious no-no in your slide body, and must only be used for titles, that too sparingly.
Sizing of the text is another important factor, as this is where most people go wrong. Some designers make their text so small, that the people towards the rear of the hall are not able to read it, while others make their text so large that the front-benchers find themselves struggling to assimilate all the content at one go. Font height of 30 points is fairly suitable for most medium sized rooms, but this is something you must implement after test runs in the actual hall. The contrast must be on point. If your font blends into your background, it is very difficult to read. Do not experiment with transparency, texture, gradient or picture overlays when it comes to text. Keep bold text against dark backgrounds if needed.
Excessive Use of Colors
When designing templates, you must leave your love for the spectrum aside. The worst possible situation is words having each letter in a different color. This is not only difficult to read, but also juvenile and also makes it difficult for the audience to take you seriously. Use no more than five colors in one slide, and ensure that a paragraph or line has the same color throughout. If you feel held back by the default colors, you could check out advanced palettes from Adobe Color CC and COLOURLovers.
Too Much Formatting
Yet again, most people go wrong here. It is completely unnecessary to flaunt your ability to the audience and implement as much as you possibly can into your template. Do not put any graphics or pictures into your template, as that would mean they appear on every slide. Add graphics in the original presentation, individually to each slide. If you are making a template for a business presentation, mentioning the company name with a logo once in the header or footer is enough.
Putting the same in BOTH header and footer is absolutely unacceptable and will only result in public ridicule, and take away valuable real estate for your content. Lay off on extraneous formatting, and make your template minimalistic. Less is more. If you are still confused about what an ideal template would look like, check out the collection offered by power slides. Each of their templates has been designed by professionals to serve a particular purpose without looking gimmicky or flashy.