7 tips for designing impactful keynotes
A keynote presentation is the crux of any conference or event. It’s your chance to share your company vision, inform your teams, and inspire your audience—and when done right, make an unforgettable impression.
Whether you’re presenting in-person, online, or at a hybrid event, investing time into your keynote presentation design will help you create an immersive experience for guests. The following tips can help you create an engaging presentation that puts your brand and message front and center.
1. Organize information clearly
A keynote presentation is your chance to convey important messages to your audience. Organizing information clearly is the best way to ensure your points get across to your audience in the way you’ve intended—and without them losing interest.
- Use bullet points to pull out key messages
- Pay attention to information hierarchy (headlines, text size/treatment)
- Pull out important numbers, facts, and quotes to provide emphasis and break up text
2. Keep the focus on the speaker
It may be tempting to add flashy animations and decorative elements, but when it comes to your keynote, simple is best. Let the speaker shine by balancing high-impact visuals with opportunities for the viewers’ eyes to rest and focus on the presenter.
- Only add effects, animations, etc. if they truly enhance your messaging
- When in doubt, leave it out
3. But don’t be afraid to add some personality
Chances are, your presenter is an executive, celebrity, or influencer with plenty of charisma, so make your presentation reflect their personality. Are they silly? Inspirational? Sophisticated? Nerdy? By matching the tone of the presentation with the presenter, you’ll help tell a more cohesive story.
- Have the presenter talk through the deck with the design team
- Add subtle personality elements, without coming across as over-the-top
4. Communicate with strategic visuals (and less text)
In a keynote presentation, visuals are so much more than just design elements. Think critically about how you can use visuals to help cut down on text and convey key points. This will make your content easier to follow and help keep your audience engaged.
- Keep visuals unique and relevant for information retention
- Choose visuals that are quick and easy to understand
- Limit text as much as possible by using strategic visuals like infographics and charts
5. Stick with a theme
Erratic visuals can distract from your messaging and leave your audience feeling frazzled. To keep the focus on your content and increase brand identity, stick with a visual theme. This will streamline your presentation and help you audience know what to expect on every slide.
- Select 1-2 fonts with consistent treatments for headlines, subheads, body copy
- Choose a limited color palette (2-3 colors)
- Thoughtfully introduce variety within the theme to keep things interesting
6. Add energy with animation
These days, anything that is moving vs. static will help keep your audience engaged. Use animations to make your presentation more dynamic by adding drama, providing emphasis, and creating fluidity from slide to slide
- Consider using background animations, slide transitions, and entrance/exit effects
- Don’t go overboard or visually overwhelm your audience; it’s an art
7. Invest in custom designs
A custom design will make your keynote presentation feel more high-end, polished, and unique, and ultimately help you make a stronger impression on your audience. Creative visuals can help reinforce your message and support your speaker, plus sneak in brand identity.
- Skip the Powerpoint-based graphics and opt for custom imagery
- Find images that fit within your visual identity, or make them work with your palette by adding overlays
Creating a keynote presentation that’s memorable, engaging, and polished is important to making a lasting impression—especially for remote events (like this one we did for Imagine Digital). But remember that decks are the means to an end; it is your idea, product, or service that drives the presentation. A good deck is simply a way to let your message shine.
An agency can help create a memorable keynote presentation. They act as a sounding board for the creator, bringing unique ideas to the table that will help your content shine. At Design in Mind, we always start by having the speakers walk the design team through their presentations so they truly understand the takeaway of the speech and have the creative freedom to set the speaker up for success. Reach out to learn more about our keynote presentation services.