Successful startups are known for their disruptive approach, so it’s interesting to see how so many innovative companies are surprisingly conservative (and sometimes sloppy) when it comes to their pitch deck — a curious fact considering the design and development resources at their disposal.

I had some success in the past with a pitch deck I created for my company Piccsy— and although it’s unnecessary to go to the lengths that we did to create a quality deck — it never hurts to swing for the fences.

Keep in mind a well-designed deck is not as important as the product you’re pitching, but it can clarify and enhance your presentation. Compare it to wearing a tie and pressed button up to a job interview: it won’t get you the job, but it will prevent you from having to dig yourself out of the hole a wrinkled tee and cargo shorts would have created.

Using the pitch of my new company Mylo as a case study, I’ll show you how to create a well-designed deck.

Rapid Fire Considerations: Dos & Don’ts

Don’t:

  • Exceed 20 words per slide. You get one headline phrase, one sentence caption, and that’s it. Slides aren’t scripts, they’re a visual guide for your audience. Everyone in the room should grasp a slide the moment they glance at it.

If they’re reading, you’re in trouble, because
that means they’re not listening to you.

Do:

  • Use one phrase (headline) per slide, maximum.
  • Use one sentence (caption or subheader) to complement your headline, maximum.
  • Use one image (visual representation of the headline or caption) per slide, maximum.
  • Source non-licensed images. Especially if you can’t afford a designer or photographer. Keep in mind, this is not a TED Talk. For the most part, you’ll be pitching a few people, and your deck is only going to be seen behind closed doors. (Except in our present case: before we intended to write this post, we borrowed and manipulated a handful of images from one of our favorite illustrators, Rami Niemi.)

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