Presentation Logos: The Debate
The Logo Debate
Whether or not to include a logo on each slide is a hot topic of debate among presenters. On the one hand, adding a company logo creates a professional touch, and reinforces your brand. On the other, if we should remove all design that is irrelevant – why do we need a logo on each slide? Surely the audience will be able to remember who is presenting to them?
Why shouldn’t you use a logo?
The arguments against using a logo stem from visual communication basics. Anything extraneous or irrelevant on a slide that doesn’t directly add to the message can take the audience’s attention away from the content. Even design elements, such as colour and animation, can distract the audience if they are not blended in correctly.
So, if a logo isn’t integral to the message, won’t it distract from the content?
If it looks out of place on the slide, or animates in an obvious way, then yes, a logo could draw the audience’s attention away from where it should be. But this is true for any object or design element on a PowerPoint slide.
Why should you use a logo?
So if we hate all content that isn’t strictly relevant to the message, why are we suggesting that you include a logo in your presentation template?
There are two main reasons for including a logo on a slide:
Repeating a company logo reinforces the brand, however subconsciously. As anyone in advertising will tell you, this can only be a good thing. You can even go one step further and use your audience’s logo too – showing the two together to demonstrate a possible partnership, or including their logo in a visualisation to involve them in your message and predictions for the future.
Including a logo conveys a really professional image. Imagine if you were to send some post out to a client – you wouldn’t send it without using a company letterhead, would you? A professional image implies that the presenter, and thus the company itself, is also professional. This can have a big impact on credibility, and persuade your audience that you are worth listening to – or even worth doing business with.
How should a logo be used?
In our opinion, the benefits of including a logo outweigh any potential negatives. And in fact, logos can be successfully included without distracting from the main content. So if you’re going to include a logo, how should it be done for maximum effectiveness, and minimal distraction?
Unless it is part of a visualisation, the company logo belongs in the background of the slide, as part of the PowerPoint template. Objects in the foreground will demand attention, while the logo remains to enforce the branding.
The logo should not animate, but instead sit quietly and unobtrusively in the corner. As the rest of the slide transitions and animates, the logo remains. By the third slide, the audience will no longer notice it. This would create a professional image, without distracting the audience.
Also important is that the logo is used as a basis for the colour scheme, and that everything included on a slide fits in with the branding. Clashing colours and shapes will look unprofessional and amateurish, demeaning credibility and irritating the audience.
The ideal position for a logo is in the bottom right, with the title bar in the top left. The title is the most important aspect of the presentation background, and so this should be in the most prominent position. With the logo in the bottom right, the slide will then look nicely balanced. The logo can be positioned in the top left, alongside the title bar, if it is balanced by an object or text at the bottom of the slide.
The logo should be big enough to be seen clearly, but not so big that it impacts the working area available on the slide. It is also important that any resizing is carried out correctly, so that the logo is not distorted.
It is worth noting that logos can also be used in the foreground, as part of a visualisation. To see an example of a visualisation you could customise with the use of your own and your audience’s logos, have a look at our Partnership Approach slides.
Of course, not all presentations include a logo. Bill Gates doesn’t include the Microsoft logo every time he speaks about malaria. For scenarios in which the company itself is not involved, or when the presentation is based on individual opinion, the logo is not necessary – and indeed, could be perceived negatively.
However, in a business setting, including a logo on your slides really adds a professional touch, and helps to instil trust and credibility. If you appear prepared and proficient, your audience will have more faith in your ability to deliver. Whether you are looking to persuade your boss to develop a new system, or aiming to sell to a prospect, your audience are more likely to trust you if you look professional.
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