Presentation design trends for 2017

What happens in the design world filters through to the PowerPoint presentation design world. Earn cool points by incorporating these trends into your presentations this year.

Design is a strange discipline. Metaphorically, it’s a field of sheep scrambling around in the half-darkness trying to find a way out. Eventually, one finds a gap in the fence and charges through to the next field with the flock hot on its heels.

The dawn of a new year represents a blank canvas; we are, to all intents and purposes, in a new field. No one’s quite sure where we go from here, but when one sheep figures it out, you can bet the the rest of the flock will waste no time in stealing their style. It’s a given that there will be advances in digital design this year – advances that will trickle down, influencing everything from your web design to the layout of your PowerPoint presentations. But what are those trends likely to be and can you adopt them ahead of the chasing pack?

Having spent the first two weeks of January reading tea leaves (and the occasional design blog), these are our predictions for top presentation design trends in 2017.


Pastel Colours

Remember when that old man’s pub at the end of your street got repurposed as a cocktail bar with reclaimed wooden flooring, exposed beams and industrial lighting? And then remember how overnight it seemed like every bar in your street had adopted the same look? That’s gentrification for you. In the design world, it’s a similar story. For a long time there’s been a trend towards minimalist aesthetics, with black, white and grey the predominant colours: black text, oversized fonts and acres of white space. It’s a good look but it’s one that’s been done to death.

This year, we predict an end to all that homogeneity as pastel colours make a comeback. Think warmer, brighter hues, the sort of palettes that an interior designer would have a field day with, but which will work equally well as backgrounds for your PowerPoint slides. Pink; mauve; baby blue: the sort of shades that are normally the preserve of brides-to-be planning wedding stationery. As all that austere black and white starts to tire, we predict 2017 to be the year of pastel pink and lime green, until at least summer, when everyone tires of pastel colours and moves on to electric neon stripes.


Video Continues To Dominate

Video, video, video…yeah, we know you get it. Video is king. Video is the future. No one reads any more; they’re all too busy watching vidya. If the alarmist stories are true, the average millennial can’t cook a hard-boiled egg unless the recipe’s dictated to camera. You’ve already heard the apocalyptic warnings: your business will be deader than dinosaurs unless you go full Buzzfeed and create a dedicated video division.

It would be fair to say there’s a lot of hype about video, but despite its inexorable growth, the printed word isn’t in danger of dying a death any time soon. (See also: emojis). The appeal of video is one that’s easy to understand however; video is dynamic, it’s a great storytelling medium and it’s far more expressive than words alone. When structuring your PowerPoint presentations, think how you can harness the power of video to capture your audience’s attention from the get-go or to end with a visually rich flourish that will bring your proposal to life.

We’re gonna stick our necks out and predict that you’ll be hearing a lot more about video in 2017.


Virtual Reality Becomes Reality

If the futurologists are to be believed, we’re scurrying towards a virtual society, one where the only thing that can coax our smartphones from our hands is the prospect of strapping on headsets and diving even deeper into the matrix. While gamers have been the first group to feel the effects of VR, it won’t be long before the technology is commonplace in industries as diverse as architecture and fashion. As VR becomes less clunky and more like, well, reality, its sister technology, Augmented Reality, will also be normalised.

AR has the potential to dispense with projectors, screens and other such cumbersome contraptions altogether, so that your presentations resemble something out of a sci-fi movie. With a flick of your fingers, 3D objects will appear before your audience’s eyes, hovering in space before being despatched into the ether with a wave of your hand. Could 2017 be the year your finance department authorises a Microsoft HoloLens? No, probably not. Still, don’t ignore AR or VR – they’re a lot closer than you think.


Other Presentation Design Trends for 2017

Pastel colours, video and VR are our big three – our eclectic big three – for 2017, but don’t for a second think that encompasses all that will be afoot in the design world. Expect to see exaggerated use of space, a trend that Taylor Swift of all people first predicted in her hit single Blank Space. It’s one you can easily incorporate into your slides; just shrink the text and the blank space will automatically swell around it.

We’ll also wager that the trend towards minimalist design continues, with superfluous shadows and shapes eliminated as icons are pared back to the bare bones, eliminating distractions and enabling the user to focus on the message rather than the medium. We also suspect that illustrations are going to become extremely popular as an alternative to photography. Why liven your presentation with stock photos when you can liven it with charming illustrations that give it personality and quirkiness in spades?

May our celebrities live long, may our world leaders get on and may 2017 be the year when all our presentation design predictions come true.

Presentation Design Predictions 2017

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