Corporate PowerPoint Madness

I just spent Sunday morning trying to clean up a clients’ ugly PowerPoint presentation. He didn’t set out to make it ugly. It arrived that way.

He was using a corporate template. And I’ve noticed over the past year, more and more of these things appearing. Who creates them? That’s what I want to know. No, actually what I want to know is: what was the brief?

This is what I imagine it might have been: please design for me a PowerPoint template with a pattern on it that will dominate the page, reduce available space for information, distract the viewers eye from the data, swamp any brand story with a corporate message and ensure that all flexibility of presentation is eliminated.

If it were just one or two companies doing this, I’d keep my mouth shut. But it’s become an epidemic, especially with the massive multinationals. And by the way I think they must all use the same designer, because there is a horrible sameness about their templates. Usually something pastel-shaded and patterned. Something that suggests they’re human and creative.

PowerPoint is a tool for communicating information. It is not a weapon for corporate propaganda. It does make sense for everyone in a company to use a common template for presentations. This tells both insiders and outsiders that the company is well organised, proud of what it stands for, and expects its staff to present a common image. It ensures consistency and professionalism.

But a corporate template is not an excuse for branding megalomania, not an opportunity for a Corporate Comms person to make a name for himself or herself. It is a frame for information – nothing more, nothing less.