Best Books on Presentation DesignBest Books on Presentation Design
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Best Books on Presentation Design
(Updated 2023)

Sven Woltmann
Sven Woltmann
Last update: November 28, 2023

Discover the best presentation design books: tips, inspiration, and expert advice for effective and visually appealing presentations.

In line with the topic, I can also recommend you some books on the psychology of persuation.

Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences

resonate nancy - duarte

by Nancy Duarte

Link to the book at Amazon

Nancy Duarte, an expert in the field of presentation design, demonstrates how to create impressive and impactful presentations that not only inform the audience but also inspire and move them to take action. Presentations whose ideas stick, causing the audience to reflect on and talk about them long after they are over.

The underlying idea is to develop a story around the information and then use storytelling principles (as employed in film and literature) to evoke emotions in the audience. The hero of the story is not the presenter but the audience itself. The presenter plays the role of a mentor, inspiring and encouraging the audience to take action.

The author explains these principles through speeches and presentations by well-known speakers and presenters such as Steve Jobs, Martin Luther King Jr., and Ronald Reagan and shows how to incorporate their techniques into your presentations.

A recommendation for anyone who wants to turn their presentations into captivating and impactful experiences, leaving a lasting impression on their audience.

About the Kindle version: Due to numerous graphical contents and partly colored text, I advise against buying "resonate" in the Kindle edition. It does contain the graphics, but in poor resolution, so you cannot read them well even after tediously zooming in.

Suitable as an audiobook? The title is unavailable as an audiobook and would not be suitable as such.

Slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations

Slide:ology - Nancy Duarte

by Nancy Duarte

Link to the book at Amazon

Many presentation slides serve primarily as a teleprompter: the presenter, having their back turned to the audience, meanders along countless bullet points. And the audience quickly gets bored because they can read faster than the presenter can talk.

Good presentations, on the other hand, focus on the presenter and their ideas and visions. Slides help the audience grasp those ideas through memorable images and graphics (and occasionally words) – rather than distracting from them.

Nancy Duarte, founder of Duarte Design, has designed presentations for world-renowned brands such as Adobe, Cisco, Google, Hewlett-Packard, and Al Gore’s Oscar-winning film “An Inconvenient Truth.” In “Slide:ology,” she takes you through the presentation development process, from brainstorming to designing powerful and visually appealing slides to eventually delivering the talk.

The book’s focus is on the content and design of the slides. It covers how to present insights rather than data; how to arrange elements and space them properly; how to display numbers, dimensions, and words; how to create diagrams; how to select images; how to choose colors, backgrounds, and fonts; and how to create animations and slide transitions.

The book is excellently structured and designed with great attention to detail. Numerous before-and-after case studies in all chapters help to understand the visualization strategies presented. Even without having studied graphic design, you will be able to implement many of the principles. A recommendation for anyone who wants their next presentation to stand out from the crowd of standard talks.

About the Kindle version: Do yourself a favor and buy the printed book. The many graphics have a poor resolution in the digital version and are, on top of that, black and white on the Kindle.

Suitable as an audiobook? The title is unavailable as an audiobook and would not be suitable as such.

Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery

presentation zen - garr reynolds

by Garr Reynolds

Link to the book at Amazon

Who doesn't know them? Boring presentations, full of slides cluttered with bullet points, where you are unsure whether to listen to the presenter or read the text.

In “Presentation Zen,” you'll learn how to create presentations that engage the audience, inspire them, and have a lasting impact on them.

You do this, firstly, by using stories, metaphors, and compelling storytelling to build an emotional connection with your audience. And secondly, by using minimalist, visually appealing slides that support the presenter's message with images and graphics rather than confusing the audience with textual clutter.

The book offers numerous design examples, understandable explanations, and practical advice. For example, the author recommends planning a presentation with a whiteboard and sticky notes and only after this “analog” phase creating the slides on the computer. And if a presentation document is required that non-participants can read, we should design it as a separate handout instead of placing all the information as text on the slides.

I highly recommend “Presentation Zen” to anyone who wants to give an effective presentation – whether at university, in the office, or at a conference.

Suitable as an audiobook? The title is unavailable as an audiobook and would not be suitable as such due to numerous illustrations.

The Tall Lady With the Iceberg: The Power of Metaphor to Sell, Persuade & Explain Anything to Anyone

the tall lady with the iceberg anne miller

by Anne Miller

Link to the book at Amazon

People are generally not won over by facts alone. Salespeople cannot sell on facts alone, and speakers cannot inspire anyone with facts alone. Only when facts are accompanied by emotional messages, for example, in the form of images, stories, or metaphors, can people be persuaded.

In “The Tall Lady With The Iceberg,” Anne Miller, a presentation and communication coach, explains what metaphors are, how to develop them, and how to use them effectively as a salesperson, speaker, or presenter to communicate more effectively, explain complex ideas understandably, and captivate and convince the audience.

Numerous real-life stories and over two hundred example metaphors for various situations make the book an informative and entertaining read. Exercises at the end of the chapters help to consolidate the learned material and allow the reader to develop metaphors for their own messages.

This is a recommendation for all who want to use convincing language to stand out from the crowd of speakers and salespeople or simply in everyday conversations.

Suitable as an audiobook? Yes.