The Fundamentals of Pitch Deck Design

The Foundation of Pitch Deck Design

Sep 13, 2022

Many entrepreneurs are well aware of the challenges to raising capital. Competitive landscapes make it crucial for you to set your brand apart from the crowd, creating a lasting impression on potential investors who see and hear pitches every day. If you want to convince them that your business is a promising opportunity, you must professionally and uniquely show them your value. 

Learning how to design a pitch deck will help you present and explain your business ideas to angel investors and venture capitalists. However, the first step is understanding the key elements that comprise modern pitch deck design. 

Pitch Deck Design: What Goes Into a Successful Pitch Deck?

Powerful pitch deck design involves discussing your company's key message, which should be brief, direct, and engaging — core elements of effective communication. A common pitfall in pitch deck design is using to many slides than necessary. For example, a slide deck that is well over 20 slides are a surefire way to turn off investors. Show your investors that they’ll financially benefit by funding your brand with appealing and direct-to-the-point content.

It’s OK to use a template to structure your presentation, and you can benefit from studying the pitch decks of additional successful startups for inspiration. Try to avoid the pitch deck design rules you may have read online, as a stringent approach can reduce creativity. If your presentation isn’t creative, it’ll likely not engage anyone. 

Design With Your Target Audience in Mind

If you haven't yet identified your target audience for your pitch deck, invest in market research to find out who that is exactly, and design a pitch deck specifically for them. Perform competitor analysis, send out client surveys, and gauge the interest of people in your industry about our offering. 

Once you’ve established your target audience, develop the pitch deck tone you want our brand to put forth. For example, you can present your brand in a casual, conversational, formal, or scholarly tone. Each one has its perks, and the key is to use a tone attractive to your target audience.

It might be hard to decide on your brand tone while designing a pitch deck, but it’s hard to beat a straightforward and conversational style. Short, sharp, upbeat, and positive-language content makes for optimal presentations.

Create Visuals for Financial Projections and Startup Metrics  

Designing a better pitch deck includes using visuals to present your finances and startup metrics. In short, potentional investors will want to see information about your startup KPI tracking, and the visuals in your pitch deck design are strategic ways to accomplish this. 

Essentially, your financial projections represent the expected results of your business plan for which you need funding. Be sure to include any traction you've gained, which can consist of users, sign-ups, and pledges — anything that suggests your company is on track to fulfill the financial forecasts.

Depending on your specific startup and the other elements of your slide deck, consider creating separate pages or slides for your KPIs and financial forecasts. The latter should showcase your company's critical financials for the next three to five years: revenues, cash flow, and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization.

Include various metrics to bolster your presentation to potential investors. The specific metrics you highlight depend on what type of company you're starting, but  a few common examples include:

  • Number of Users/Accounts/Customers
  • Customer Acquisition Costs 
  • Conversion Rate
  • Churn Rate
  • Retention Rate
  • Customer Lifetime Value 
  • Average Revenue Per User 

Pie Charts

Pie charts allow your audience to visually compare parts to a whole and see your data represented in percentage distribution. Using pie charts allows you to highlight critical financial information without lulling investors to sleep. However, only use data compatible with a ratio or percentage relationship, and calculate each segment of the pie chart via the same unit of measurement. 

Flow Charts

Powerful pitches often involve incorporating flow charts, and it’s an excellent way to foster effective communication between you and your investors. Pitch deck designs use flow charts to illustrate the buyer's journey, financial projections, and various business processes. Moreover, some companies tell stories with flow charts, and this method outlines how they will market their products to customers. 

Identify and Stick With a Color Palette    

Visual hierarchy is essential for modern pitch deck designs because you’ll want to optimize your presentation for engagement, display, and delivery. Using white space and contrast can showcase organized information, emphasize key takeaways, and promote focus to one presentation point at a time. Implementing bright colors against white with the occasional dark shade is a tried-and-true strategy. By doing so, you present various common-thread elements of your pitch deck without appearing disorganized or unprofessional. 

The trick to sticking with a color palette is to not veer far from it while using different text colors and infographics. The slide deck should remain consistent with your company's other marketing and presentation materials.

Ensure Consistency Within Slide Layouts

A good pitch deck uses various slide layouts and universal principles of design, but avoid making your slides so different from each other that it’ll appear they belong in another presentation. Inconsistent slide layouts signal red flags to investors that you’re not prepared, which can lead to other apprehensive thoughts about investing in your business. Ultimately, you want your key message “Hey, our brand is fantastic — we’re ready for you to join our team and profit from investing in us!” to shine through a beautiful, well-executed design. Consistency from the table of contents, the marketing plan, to the financials is crucial to a successful pitch deck design.

Remember to stick to your brand's colors and typography throughout the pitch deck. For example, if you use two different fonts, incorporate each into multiple slides so your audience doesn't think it's an error. Lastly, consider applying a bit of repetition for shapes, logos, and other design elements.

Use Shapes and Images Where They Best Fit

No one wants to sit through a pitch deck that contains nothing but text. No matter how much formatting you do, text-only presentations will not engage or inspire your potential investors. On the other hand, you risk overdoing it with the visuals, too. Maintain an appropriate balance of shapes and images versus text throughout your slides. Use shapes and images only when they enhance the slide deck's information and overall design. 

Use a Pitch Deck Design Service for Your Pitch Presentations 

You’ve covered the pitch deck design fundamentals here, but there's much more that goes into putting together a great pitch deck for your investors. Now is the time to fire up your presentation with GhostRanch — the experienced, responsive, and professional pitch deck design company. The design team at GhostRanch can help you design a custom presentation that’ll lead to inspired investors and closed deals. 

Don’t waste another minute! Your business deserves world-class pitch deck designs, whether you want slide designs and illustrations of high-level strategy or those with a more involved, hands-on feel. Connect with the presentation specialists at GhostRanch and start creating your dream pitch deck design today!

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