I’m a firm believer that (as a brand designer) you just can’t win the company-wide, on-brand powerpoint game. There will always be rouge actors or bad users who butcher your presentation template or just do whatever they want. It’s the way of the world. You can try, and you can even hire teams of presentation designers…but rouge slides will always make their way into the world.
About a year ago, Spredfast was in need of a new presentation template (or so they thought). What was really needed was a complete rearchitecting of the company’s approach to how presentations were built. The company was suffering from the typical symptoms that I described above…rouge presentations, slides that were cobbled together from years-old decks, and very little time or attention paid to the branding and design of the slides.
After a great deal of consideration, evaluation and discussion, the core team decided on several key factors:
1. We had to standardize on Google Slides. Spredfast is a Google shop, and this was the obvious tool to use to ensure all users had access to the same toolset.
2. We needed to design all slides. If we were to increase the delivery on-brand presentations from anyone in the company, we knew we had to take on the responsibility of designing every iteration of our most commonly used slides.
3. We needed to provide training. We knew we were going to be taking a lot of folks out of their comfortable Powerpoint worlds, so getting them comfortable with Slides and arming them with usability tips and tricks was incredibly important.
4. It needed to be a choose-your-own-adventure model. Many of the company’s presentations are developed quickly in response to sales and customer requests, so enabling users to quickly copy and paste pre-made slides from a variety of starting points was critical.
After deciding on our framework, we set out to do the actual work of creating the platform and starting point decks:
A view inside the master library of the presentation platform.
Built upon Google Slides, our presentation platform provides employees with a single source of truth for branded messaging, positioning and presentation assets.
Our starter decks have been populated from a master library of over 875 designed slides covering every primary area of the business with a wide variety of use cases.
We treat this solution as a product, continually iterating on new layouts that are deployed as they become available. We also encourage feedback and suggestions, integrating new content as needed.
Whenever possible, we provide design solutions that can be reused and repurposed easily, removing the need for a designer to address every presentation.
Instead of providing an icon library, we have decided to provide a smaller library of custom glyphs that can take on a variety of meanings when combined with copy.