22 Jun 21 / Blog

Powerpoint design ideas …. in Canva!

Who would have thought that your best Powerpoint design ideas would come from another software tool entirely?

Over thirty million people around the world use Canva.com to create stunning visuals for their business.

Canva is a powerful, simple-to-use graphic design platform that many people use for social media posts or for print products like flyers or posters. But did you know that Canva can help you to create stunning presentation slides in minutes? And that you can use your Canva designs within Powerpoint easily?

According to molecular biologist John Medina, images enhance our ability to remember information by a factor of 6? So why not use Canva for memorable, eye-catching Powerpoint design ideas?

Whether you’re hosting a webinar, or presenting in the boardroom, your audience expectations are higher now than ever before. After 18 months of virtual presentations, audiences have come to expect TV-worthy visuals every time you hit ‘Share Screen’.

If your slides are great on quality content but lacking in the design department then here’s a video to help. Watch digital marketing strategist Owen Sweeney of Erudite Digital take you through his top five tips on using Canva to make your presentation slides stand out.

Powerpoint design ideas …. in Canva! Transcript


Welcome to all of you to today’s event on killing it with Canva. My friend Owen Sweeney will give you amazing tips to make your presentation slides stand out at today’s event. Owen is a digital marketing strategist. He’s principle of digital marketing agency, Erudite Digital, based right here in Belfast. Owen’s job is to help his clients with great messaging to cut through the noise on digital platforms and to help his clients to stand out in their market. You’ll find Owen most of the time helping people with their Facebook, their Twitter, their LinkedIn, their Instagram presence and he supports a wide range of small and medium sized businesses with digital marketing strategies that look great and help them to tell their story. You know, part of telling your story is actually standing up yourself in front of an audience and presenting and sharing your story and to do that our audience expectations nowadays have been built up – they expect TV worthy visuals from me! So what better person to show you how to do that than Owen, who has spent years perfecting the craft of working with the platform that is Canva. So I’ve had a sneak preview of today’s session and I know my slides will never be the same again. I very much look forward to sharing with you what Owen has to tell you about today.


Thanks Camilla, I’m going to share my screen here folks so hopefully you will the start of a slide presentation on Canva. But Camilla thanks very much it really is a real pleasure and a real honour to be able to come here and chat to you. Hopefully my aim is to add some value that you can walk away today with not just some ideas but some skills. Thankfully Camilla is recording the meeting this afternoon. We’re going to try move pretty quickly so that we get through as much as we possibly can and if you are unsure of something, if we maybe move a little quick don’t forget you can nip onto the video afterwards and you can fast forward or pause it wherever you like and hopefully that will make sure we get through as much as possible for everybody.

When Camilla asked me to do this we were talking about how do we make sure that people slides reflect the effort they have put into a presentation and we were talking just about how do you do that. I suppose one of the things we talked about is normally people go to PowerPoint or if you’re a Mac afficionado, you maybe go to Keynote. We talked about the power of Canva, how actually it’s a bridge for people who maybe haven’t had the experience of learning how to do PowerPoint or they  get a little frustrated with how challenging it can be and how a little bit clunky it can be at times. Canva is a one size fits all platform for not just your presentations but proposals for marketing for lots of different things. So the aim today is to run through, kind of lift the hood and give you a sneak peek on and how you could actually use that to support you. So we’re going to run through, it’s going to be like a workshop so it’s going to be really practical and yeah I’m going to get going.

About Owen

So first of all a couple of little bits at the start. I am not a graphic designer, as Camilla said I run a digital marketing agency but we use this an awful lot and the important thing in any communication, especially if your standing up standing in front of people is to use the slides as a scaffolding for your words. So having loads and loads of words on the screen is going to take away from it but this is what kind of drives your presentation, prompt you and should inspire and entice your audience into finding a bit more.

3 Do’s

Before you do any presentation make sure you plan it out. Some people are computer planners and like the write stuff and type stuff, other people it’s paper and pen, draw it out scribble it out. I would say before you do anything make sure you plan it out.

Number two, really simply less is more, so big lumps of text, we’ve all been to a presentation and it should really have been called death by PowerPoint. Those things are terrible nobody enjoys them, so what you want to go for is how do I put on the key information without having to put loads and loads of text that people either read or even worse than you just stand there and read out.

The last really simple do is use different imagery. Use graphs, icons, stats anything like that will help you to move your presentation forward, but also will get somebody to pay attention.

Tips and Tricks

So here are 5 little tools that Canva offers you that will help transform your presentation. Things that you maybe always wondered how to do or maybe you’ve seen on a different [piece of software] or maybe you use a different piece of software to do it. Here are five things that Canva does really well and this is all based on the free version of Canva. So there is a paid version, it’s fantastic there is a free trial for a month so if you are doing a presentation I’d always say download it the month beforehand. Make sure you get everything that you can do, out of it. It’s only 10 or 11 pounds a month anyway, but the free version itself offers a huge amount functionality. This is going to be pretty quick so belt up and buckle up and we’ll get ready go.

#1: Brand Your Slides

The first one is how to get your slides on brand. So it’s great, you can use lots of different things on Canva but having things that look like they’re your own is really important. So here is the very first slide that I had up there and this is for me for my business. But if Camilla was wanting to run something similar for her business, she’d want to make sure that it actually looked like her business – it used her logo, her colours, things like that. So really simply I’m going to take my logo out and put in Camilla’s. So I have uploaded her logo here – there is the Bespoke Communications logo, lovely purple and blue and pink. I’m going to pop it up here and having your logo on the slide allows you to do a couple of things. It helps people to know who it is, but also on Canva it allows you to get and extract the colour from your logo so that you can make all your slides look consistent because that’s a really important part of what you want to do. So these colours here, there’s a pink, there’s a purple, there’s a blue and with Canva you can actually use those colours. I’m going to show you really simply how to get it. If I select the text here, so I’m just going to select the writing, if I go into the text colour, here’s where you can change the colour to whatever you want it to be. You’ll see here because I have uploaded the little Bespoke logo here you can see the colours that are within that logo. So there’s the pink and you can see below it this little hash, #e5c3de. This is called the hex code, which is a unique code so that if you type that code in you will get that exact colour. There’s the blue, there’s the purple and then there is the grey. Using these colours is great, so if you want to go, right we want to make that writing a lovely pink, there’s Camilla’s colour there. Okay it doesn’t look so great with the blue but it’s not too bad. If you wanted, one of the things that Canva allows you to do is to create a brand toolkit. If I go into that text there again just to select it and go to the little colour palette, here in the little plus bit, I hit that and it will show me here that code so that’s her code. I can actually save that so I’m going to copy it and I’m just going to go to the Canva home page and you’ll see on the Canva homepage they have a wee brand kit down here and what that allows you to do is to save your colour. So I’m going to call this ‘Bespoke Comms’ and I’m going to go plus and I’m going to paste in that little bit of code. Ok so there’s the pink. If I want to do the same I can go for the blue, so if I want to change the text here to Camilla’s blue, there’s the blue there, all I have to do is set to little plus and it will show me the code here. So I’m going to pop that in as well and what you end up doing is you end up creating a brand kit or brand toolkit that whenever you create any presentation again you have that saved. There’s the purple colour, I’ve got to take it too. Copy and paste that and back into my brand kit. The free version allows you 3 colours and the paid version you can have loads and loads of colours and actually you can have lots of different profiles. Say you really were doing things for different presentations you could have a different colour set for each presentation. So we now have a Bespoke Comms brand colour. Now normally that will come up over here, so what I’m going to do is just refresh this page so that it syncs. There we go, there’s the first one. Where’s our slide? There it is, there is the purple. So now what I can do here is go in and go to my colours and here you can see the Bespoke Comms toolkit is here, so I can go pink. Maybe I want to change this green. There’s my colour palette, there’s the blue. Maybe I want to change this blue here to the purple and all of a sudden the old presentation, it looked a little bit like this, now it looks like something that Camilla might have created because it fits in with her colours. So really simple, a really easy tip to do is create that little brand toolkit at the start and it means anything you do after that in Canva, whether it’s social media or proposals, you have your colour saved there and that’s how you get those little hex codes. That’s step one, it’s probably one of the longest ones. We’re going to keep it moving, so hopefully that was useful. Remember it’s being recorded so if it’s a bit too fast, you can rewind it once you get the video.

#2: Use and adapt a template

Tip #2 – use and adapt a template. This is one of the real benefits of Canva, it provides you with loads of kit templates. So on the left hand side of the menu, there’s a template menu and you can find templates for pretty much anything you want. There’s loads of presentations and if you hover over it, so this one here poetry project, if I hover over it says there’s 26 different options within that. They’re all the same, look all the same, lots of different options and you can pick which ones you want and there are so many different options here that you can find something. Now the worst thing you could do is just take one of these toolkits or one of these templates and just use it and that’s it. What you want to do is take something and make it your own. So just like we did earlier on, we can change this yellow really easily to one of our colours, say it’s our purple colour we want to go for. Any of these little templates they have they’re fantastic because you can see there’s an image in there so you can upload your own image. So let’s take this lovely one of Camilla and Sarah and drop it in there, we can move it across. Ok same for this one, we can double click on this little image here and we can upload another picture such as this one here. All of a sudden, you now have these beautiful images which are within your brand. Again you can go into the templates, always stay within one template. You might want to do something like this one, again really easily, you just pop in and change the colours so that they fit in with your brand colours – it maintains that consistency. All these images and all the text, they’re all editable. One of the things the paid version allows you to do is it allows you to have your own font toolbox. So not just the brand toolkit where you can change your own colours, but you can actually create your own font one as well so you can have your own fonts so that everything is going to be consistent throughout the different things you can do. So tip #2 is really simply – don’t use the cookie cutter; you don’t want to use just one of these templates, but you want to adapt it so that it looks like your own work, so it looks like your business, so it’s not somebody else’s presentation. The worst thing could be if you stood up there and saw something that looked just like yours because somebody else had copied it. These little templates are just that; they’re a template to be used edited and adapted so they look like what you want them to. So that’s tip #2, hopefully it’s not going too fast, hopefully it’s of interest to you.

#3: Instant Photoshoot

#3 is what we like to call our instant photoshoot. We love to get pictures with our own branding on it and actually I just had some beautiful photos done for my business the other day. But there’s always things where you go I wish I had something like that for mine. So I was thinking what would you maybe use it for. I was thinking if Camilla maybe decided, ‘you know I’ve become a bit of a professional, I am going to release a book.’ What would it look like? Really simply, she might want to pop her logo onto a slide. In the little effects bit here, you can click this menu and there are lots of different options of things you can do and they have one called smartmockups. If I click see all it’ll give me a whole load of different options. What it allows you to do is take your logo or your image and put it onto something else. Here’s one here, this is a book. If I click this little option here, all of a sudden it takes Camilla’s logo and puts it onto the book. Now the problem is, you can’t really see that because her logo is a square and the book is a rectangle. I’m just going to stretch it so you can hopefully see it a little bit better. So it’s not quite perfect. There is a little control panel you can see here. If you click on the little control panel and instead of being fill the image into the full size, we want to do custom which allows us to resize the size of an image. We can decide where we want it, maybe we want to move it to the top, maybe we want to move it to the side. So Camilla whenever you’re planning your next book, you can do a wee bit of work on Canva to create your dust jacket then throw it onto one of these images. The important thing to decide is, okay what colour do I want my image, maybe you want to make your image a different colour. Let’s say a bright pink, maybe not. Maybe something like a light blue colour. The important thing here is click apply, because if you forget to sometimes it doesn’t apply and then you have to go back and set it up. So you end up having a lovely image that looks like somebody’s actually come and taken a little photoshoot for you. Maybe you’re not wanting to write a book maybe you don’t have quite the skills of Camilla for a best seller and your thinking ‘I’d love something that showed off my new website so that I could maybe tell people where to go.’ Really simply if you took a wee screenshot of your website, here’s the screenshot of Camilla’s website. Her and Sarah looking fantastic on the front. How do we make sure that looks a bit more exciting than a screenshot? We just go into the effects, onto the smartmockups and we’re going to click see all. Here you can have it on a laptop, there’s an iPhone. Making sure it’s the right shape and size is pretty important. Let’s find a nice laptop screen. There’s some that are straight on. This one here is at a bit of an angle, let me show you what it does if you choose that one. It’s smart enough to actually get the perspective right. You can go in and change whether you want to fill it or want it to fit. I think that’s a pretty good fit, so hit apply and then I’ll stretch it a wee bit bigger for you to see cause I know it can be a bit hard to see sometimes on a screen. So there you go. Now you’re able to actually show off your lovely new website and it looks like you’ve had a photoshoot done. Actually taking a photoshoot of a screen usually would look pretty terrible so this is a great way of showing something off. It can be applied for tonnes of different things. I’ll show you one more real quick. Imagine you’re thinking about getting maybe some nice clothes done. So Camilla decided, ‘we’re selling some merch, we’re going global, we want to make sure that everybody can wear their Bespoke Communications T-shirts or hoodies.’ So go into the smartmockups and you can see if you scroll down, there’s loads of different options. This guy here, let’s see what his hoodie would look like if we managed to get a Bespoke Communications logo on it. It looks pretty good, you can see there they’ve have even got this kind of nice wrinkle effect so it looks real. Again we’ll go into custom and we can change the size of it – we can make it nice and small maybe, put it up towards the top, maybe move it onto there like a little crest. So Camilla really easy. We’re expecting now, we’ll all be signed up to get our new merchandise that we can buy and wear wherever we go. Maybe you want to see what that would look like on a lovely mint green. Oh yeah, Camilla I think we’re onto a winner here I’ll definitely get this, put me down for the first one if you do like a XXXL! So really easy, you can make your images and your logo look like you’ve gone and got a photoshoot for something great. Okay, so I understand we’re going really, really quickly here so hopefully you’re able to keep up. Again, if not it is going to be recorded.

#4: On-Brand Images

Here’s tip #4. We’ve got 2 to go so hold on to your hats we’re going to get through this one. Having images that are on brand that look consistent, you’ve got your template, you’ve got your colour scheme all right and your colour palettes. So what happens if you wanted to put some pictures on and you want them to look like they were not out of place? So really easy again, imagine you’re doing a presentation and you wanted to go into the photo. In Canva in the elements section there are photos (or else you can just find it down here, you can add these menus and change them). So let’s say I wanted to find a picture of a computer for the sake of argument. Go search computer, loads of nice images, but they can be a little bit boring. Well what you can do is the same as what you did earlier on with your brand toolkit – you can actually use your brand toolkit in the pictures as well. Really simply I’m going to show you how to do that. If I go back and I put in a wee bit of text, I’m just going to put a little bit of text in here so I can get the little hex code again so I don’t lose it. So let’s go for the pink. Okay so I’m going to just copy this little code, the hex code here and I’m going to delete this text out of the way. So what I’m going to do is I’m going to search for a photo of a computer and then when I’ve clicked in the search bar, I can click this little control panel here, in here I hit the little plus and paste in the little hex code. I’m saying little an awful lot! Hit apply and apply filters and all of a sudden I now get images that are on brand, they have this nice pink. Now not everything will have the perfect shade, so some of them might be a little bit off. There I have a lovely picture of a nice pink computer or something pinkish in it. Sometimes it can be a little bit confusing because you’re kind of wondering where is that word coming from. So let’s say maybe you needed a picture of some fruit. Search for fruit and again we’ve still got that little filter of the colour in there. Hit apply filters and there we’ve got some fruit with different pink elements in it as well. You can use this interesting picture. Not sure that’s one you’d really want to put on any slides you’re doing. What if you wanted something a wee bit different? Maybe you wanted a nice sky picture, yet again there’s lots of pinks in there. So it allows you not just to search for an image that you want, but it actually allows you to search for the image that fits in with your brand colours. Using any of these images, there’s lots of them that are free like this one here. If you wanted you could actually just search for pink images as well, just by searching pasting in the hex code and you can see lots of different pink images to find the ones you like. The Pro ones here, there’s a watermark on them. They usually cost about a pound, so they’re not really overly expensive and if you’re doing a presentation do you want to look good, paying for an image, a pound is nothing to spend.

#5: Call to Action

Okay nearly there, #5, call to action. So you’ve stood up, you’ve given the most incredible presentation of your life the crowd are going wild. What now? What next? What do you want them to do? So maybe Camilla was talking about her Speakeasy Club that’s coming up in September and she tells you ‘go to my website there, it’s on the screen – bespokecomms.net.’ Well if you went to try and find the actual link to that this is what comes up: bespokecolumns.net/services/video-… you know what, I’m not even going to read it all out. The problem is, you have this beautiful presentation you’ve given, but how do you get somebody then to take the action you want them to, whether it’s to watch a video of yours or to checkout your website or to see something that you want them to go to. Canva have thought about that and it integrated a nice little tool that will help you do that. If I go to that blank slide (I’ve just copied the URL). In the more section over here, they have created a little QR code generator. So click QR code. A QR code for those do know is just a little kind of an image that when somebody scans their phone over it, it will take them to that website so if I paste in the URL and hit generate code it will create this little QR code and you can make it pretty small. In fact if you’re sitting on your computer now, you could actually lift your phone, if you’ve got an Android you probably need to download a QR code reader, if you have got an iPhone if you just hold your phone with the camera over it. Scan that and that will allow you to go straight through to sign up to the Speakeasy Club. A really great way of ending a presentation is making sure that the call to action is really easy for somebody to get to.


Camilla I feel like I haven’t stopped talking for like forever. Those are 5 tips that I found are really useful in creating a presentation. They can be used across lots of different things. I’m going to end it there because I feel somebody might pass out, probably me if I keep going! But hopefully those things have been of use and people have learnt something of interest there.


Well Owen if you were watching the chat, especially for the smartmockups part of your presentation, the chat function just lit up Owen. There’s been so much appreciation for everything that you shared this afternoon. Absolutely amazing and I tell you what, I haven’t thought about merch, I haven’t thought about a book but now that I see my logo on them I think I’m just going to have to get out there and do that. Loads and loads of absolutely great advice. Thank you so much Owen. My slides, like I’ve been saying to everybody since I got the sneak preview of today’s session, will never look the same again. Loads and loads of really smart time saving tips in there. See that smartmockup with the computer screen – I have spent hours trying to resize images to make them fit on screens, so thank you, absolutely amazing. Today’s session has been all about the learning Owen and how to create beautiful slides that back up the power of your words.

Bespoke Communications offers public speaking courses in Northern Ireland, and virtually on Teams, Zoom or the platform of your choice.

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