“It’s All About the Design of the Slides”: Julian Cole on Making Standout SlideShares

3 minute read

Upland Admin

It’s not like Julian Cole’s been designing SlideShare presentations forever. But you’d be forgiven for thinking he has.

As Head of Comms Planning at Bartle Bogle Hegarty, he’s always looking for novel ways to get a message out. His SlideShare presentations demonstrate his knack for compelling content. Pull-you-in visuals, quick-but-clear points—these are the hallmarks of a Cole presentation.

We turned to Cole for advice as part of our Masters of SlideShare project, and wanted to share all the insights he offered. Here’s the full interview.

When did you first start using SlideShare and what drew you to it?

I started using SlideShare seriously this time last year. I was looking for a place to upload my slides that I had for my digital strategy course on Skillshare. I needed somewhere to host them online and SlideShare seemed like the best place.

“It’s all about the design of the slides when it comes to #SlideShare.” @juliancole

What is the primary purpose of a SlideShare presentation?

I think it’s to get your thinking out there in an easily digestible format. It’s one of the easiest ways for a person to get through a story. There seems to be a lot of traction with the marketing, startup, and design world.

How do you know an idea deserves to become a SlideShare as opposed to a blog post, infographic, etc.?  

I actually use SlideShare for all the pieces I do now. Where I used to blog about these topics, I now use SlideShares. They’re the best ways to get an idea out to the biggest audience.

“I actually use #SlideShare for all the pieces I do now.” @juliancole

How do you come up with topics to create presentations around?

It usually is about what I’ve been researching or what I’m teaching on Skillshare. I try to share the information that I have just learned that I think people will find interesting.

For someone just getting started with SlideShare, what would be your first piece of advice?

It’s all about the design of the slides when it comes to SlideShare. If the presentation has a nice design people will spend more time with it. Look at the presentations you like and try to deconstruct the way they create their slides. What are the fonts that they are using? What colors are they using? How are they displaying images?

What is something a lot of people do on SlideShare that drives you crazy?

Embedding YouTube videos. I don’t know if they’ve fixed this, but they used to auto-play and it would drive me crazy.

What do all breakout SlideShare presentations have in common? How do you “bottle” that element in your own?

They have two nice fonts—one for headings and one for body copy—bold colors, a standout front page, a nice theme in terms of the images they’re using, and great content to back it up.

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