Don’t Use A Designer To Do Your Pitch Deck. Do It Yourself Instead.

There’s a company called Slidebean that sells pitch deck formats. As part of their sales material, Slidebean has redone the original pitch decks of companies like Uber and Airbnb in their “improved” format.

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The only problem I have is that I actually liked the original format that the companies had better.

For example, let’s take a look at two versions of the Airbnb pitch deck:

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I’ll take the white background with the simple black text every day of the week. BTW, that white background with just the text is Airbnb’s original deck, not the “improved” Slidebean version.

You need to keep your pitch decks simple.

You don’t earn style points with investors for having a designer come up with an interesting format for your deck. If anything, the interesting format hurts you.

You want the information about your company to stand out, not the format of your deck.

The easy check for this is this: Is your deck easy to read?

Of the examples above, which makes it easier for you to follow the information?

The black background with the faint view of what appears to be a city is cool, but, combined with the small font sizes, it makes it difficult to see the information. The simple white background and large fonts of the original wins.

I’m sure the Slidebean designer that came up with the Airbnb design thought it was really cool. But that’s not the point. You need your information to stand out.

Here are some other tips when you are preparing your deck:

A. You want your deck to be inviting and easy to read.

That means tons of white space and large font sizes of 16 point and above.

B. Limit your text.

Keep text to a minimum in your decks. The more graphics the better, augmented with a small amount of text.

C. You don’t want to get too technical.

You’ll lose your audience in a heartbeat if you try and show what a technical genius you are. Instead use laymen’s terms to explain your technology.

D. You shouldn’t use animation.

Anything that can break will break in a pitch. Instead, if you want to animate a deck, use consecutive slides to show animation. It’s what we call “Poor Man’s Animation”, but it works really well.

E. Assume you get two minutes per slide.

It usually takes about two minutes to explain a slide during a pitch. So my simple rule for how many slides I will prepare is I take the time I have been allowed and divide by two.

That means for a 60 minute time slot, I assume I have 30 minutes to present, so I will prepare 15 slides. Then there is plenty of time for Q and A.

For more on pitching like a pro, read: How To Successfully Pitch Your Business In One Slide

I work with startup CEOs to help them grow their businesses . I built several businesses from $0 to >$100M. Learn more at

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