Creating your visual aids

Do you really want to be told your presentation is CRAP? – Yes!!

Are your presentations CRAP?

To many it wouldn’t seem like a compliment but actually it is.  If you follow the basic design principles that are commonly referred to as CRAP you can’t really go wrong (and what applies to presentations is equally relevant to any other form of visual).


C ontrast

Make elements different (by clever use of fonts and colours) to increase understanding. By de-cluttering your slides the contrast will stand out and the message too.

R epetition

Repeat visual elements to create strong unity. Unpredictable = Distracting. Haphazard = Confusing. Order = clarity

A lignment

You know what I mean.  The picture on the wall that is almost but not completely straight – drives you nuts, doesn’t it? Place elements deliberately and rationally to improve clarity. Aligning items creates a visual path that leads to a focal point. There are grids and rulers for a reason – to make things clear.

 P roximity

The placing of items establishes relationships.  Position carefully to help the audience process the information.


In a nutshell, the members of your audience are all busy people.  They haven’t got the time (and probably not the inclination) to work to decipher your message.  Make it easy for them.  Once you’ve made it Fit their needs and Focussed on the key points you want them to take away, all it takes is a bit of Flair and thoughtful design to make it stick.  For more useful tips on using Powerpoint, read our other posts here.

For a more visual (and we always like visual) representation of the principles of CRAP design,  check out Chiara Ojeda’s excellent presentation.

Rosie Hoyland
Rosie is a writer and content creator and has worked for many years as a print and digital designer for The Message Business. When she’s not creating fantastic resources for our trainers and clients, she shares her presentation design wisdom here on the blog and over at Presentation Guru.
Rosie Hoyland
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