Corporate Templates: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
To me, a corporate template is kind of like a pinstripe suit — professional and conservative, but (usually) not particularly exciting.
And let’s face it — the corporate template is as pervasive as bad PowerPoint in today’s business culture.
Nearly every company and brand has one, and in my role as Haiku Deck’s Chief Inspiration Officer, I’ve seen plenty of them — beautiful, bland, and downright hideous.
Now as a bona fide brand geek, I appreciate that there are plenty of great intentions behind most corporate templates — they keep brand expression consistent, they give presentations a cohesive, polished look, and (in most cases) they give presentation creators a leg up in terms of design, structure, and layout.
But I believe corporate templates also have a few drawbacks that are worth noting:
1. They take valuable space (and attention) away from the content being presented.
2. In the rush of presentation prep, slides from different templates are often combined into a single presentation, resulting in a mishmash instead of a polished whole.
3. Just like a presentation using endless header-and-bullet slides, corporate templates can set a tone of uniformity and, well, corporateness that subtly signals “This is going to be boring.” Especially in longer presentations, it gets monotonous.
Zooming out a bit, corporate templates do not exactly encourage creativity or inspiration on the part of the presenter, and I can’t help but feel that at some level they disrespect the intelligence of the audience. Putting a logo or a company name on every single slide seems to suggest that the audience is going to forget where they are, or who they’re talking to. It’s just overkill.
Putting a logo on every single slide seems to suggest that the audience is going to forget who they’re talking to.
Bottom line: It’s really only your company who cares about your company template.
A New Take on the Template
I love working with companies, large and small, to help them create beautifully branded Haiku Decks that loosen the tie, so to speak, on the typically stuffy corporate template.
Here’s one we created for our friends at OfficeNinjas:
The OfficeNinjas Story – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires
Here’s another example of a Haiku Deck that’s branded with a lighter touch:
Ideas that Stick – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires
7 Strategies for a More Creative Corporate Template
You might not be able to abandon your corporate template wholesale, but perhaps you can experiment a bit. Here are my top tips to help you try out this new approach.
1. Try putting your logo on the first and last slides, not on every slide. (Tip: The new Haiku Deck logo layout is ideal for this.)
2. Include boilerplate or legalese on one slide, not every slide.
3. Include your hashtag or Twitter handle at the beginning of your presentation (or sprinkle throughout), not on every slide.
4. Include your contact info at the end of your presentation, not (you guessed it) on every slide.
5. Instead of repeating slide headings, try using solid-color, standalone slides to introduce new topics or sections. (Tip: In Haiku Deck, you can now create solid-color backgrounds to match your brand colors using the new color picker.)
6. Use creative imagery to evoke or illustrate your brand — you don’t have to resort to logos alone. You can include images of actual products, people, places, or symbolic objects that relate to your brand or company.
For example, when I give talks about Haiku Deck, I prefer to represent our brand with beautiful images of colorful origami instead of showing our logo over and over again.
7. Experiment with choosing photographs and colorful backgrounds that showcase your brand colors in a more stimulating way. If your company colors are, say, blue and green, try doing an image search for “blue green,” “blue green abstract,” or “blue green pattern.” (Tip: You can now match your brand’s colors exactly using custom color slide backgrounds.)
What ideas do you have for loosening the tie on the corporate template? We’d love to hear your thoughts and see your examples — feel free to share your creations at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More Helpful Resources
If you found this article helpful, you might enjoy these as well:
- Showcase Your Brand Identity Beautifully with New Logo Slides and Custom Colors (Step-by-step guide for trying these new features)
- A Comprehensive Guide to Diagnosing and Fixing the 15 Worst Slide Problems (See, in particular, #templamental)
- Six Simple Suggestions for Poetic Presentations (More examples of using evocative imagery)
- PowerPoint for iPad? Try the Haiku Deck Way (Step-by-step guide for converting PowerPoints to Haiku Decks)