Templates are the greasy fast food of presentations. They can fill in gaps for inexperienced chefs or quick fixes, but they just aren’t great for you. At best, a template can make your style consistent and can be wielded by people without design backgrounds. But at worst? The truth may scare you.

Templates control your brain.

When a template dictates the rules of content layout, you obey without thinking. If they provide three bullet points and a header, you are already sacrificing simplicity and inspiration for data-heavy drivel. Break out of bullet point prison; each of your points deserve to stand alone. Don’t sell your content short by using sub-par text layouts.

Templates look like templates.

The whole world knows when you are using a template, there is no way around it. The generic colors, the frames, and even the font looks like something created in a factory. It informs your audience that you haven’t invested time in the presentation. Why should they pay attention now?

Templates make people tired.

A template layout encourages you to include a lot of data on one slide. This makes your slide count shorter, yet less interesting. A text-heavy slide isn’t visually appealing or memorable, and it can lead to a lot of accidental napping in the conference room. People want eye candy. They want to see more images and less text, and nothing about template design says “eye candy.”

It’s predictable.

If you go into a presentation and see the opening slide in bold Times New Roman with a navy blue background, you know what to expect. You’ve seen this same thing in classroom reports and forgettable business meetings your whole life. It’s the sad, unoriginal standard that we’ve come to expect…all because of templates.

Death to templates!

A blank slate is the only way to apply your true creativity and learn the craft of presentations. Rely on your own image inspiration, fonts, and layout to escape the norm. There are so many great resources for content and design, even for those who are completely new to presentations. Say “RIP” to templates and “congratulations” to individuality.

Question: What skills can you sharpen to break free from templates?

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