Here’s the RIGHT way to show your company logo on your slides – Be distinctive (not dismissive)

distinctive full-size logo slideDo you use a PowerPoint template with your brand’s logo on every slide? If so: Yikes!

Having your logo on every slide just creates “blur”, or noise. By that I mean it subtly distracts your audience, because it doesn’t help them to understand or remember your specific message.

Don’t just take my word for it, though – these 3 experts make the same point:

“Putting your logo on every slide is like shouting your name before every new thought” Tweet this

  • Author of Presentation Zen Garr Reynolds says so:
  • “If you must use your logo, do so only on the first slide and
    the last slide. Putting your logo on every slide is like
    shouting your name before every new thought you have.”

    (2014-01-22: Garr’s link above seems to be broken now, but here he makes very similar points.)

  • PowerPoint MVP Ellen Finkelstein says so:
  • “I often see presenters put a small logo on every slide. But this small logo soon becomes “invisible,” that is, ignored. And it’s usually too small to even see clearly.”

  • Keynote speaker and renowned blogger Michael Hyatt says so too:
  • “Here are some suggestions when it comes to eliminating clutter.
    Number one, please, please don’t put your logo on every slide.”

Here then is a technique that proudly presents your logo in a far more memorable and impressive way than putting it in a tiny corner of every slide.

Note: For a discussion on whether and where to put your Twitter handle on your slides, see the comments for this post.

What I suggest is you make an all-black slide and put a big, high-quality copy of your logo on it. Make this your 1st slide. (The image at the top of this post shows an example, using the Remote Possibilities logo.)

Next, duplicate the logo slide and make the copy the last slide in your deck. (Tip: To duplicate the current slide, you can press Ctrl+Shift+D in PowerPoint.) To get the proper benefit from this technique, don’t put your logo on your other slides.

Lastly – before you arrive at the speaking venue – follow the 2 quick steps in this earlier post to hibernate your laptop with your 1st logo slide displayed in slideshow mode. That way, when you start your laptop at the venue – to get ready to speak – your slideshow restarts automatically and waits for you on your logo slide.

So the 1st thing your audience sees in your slideshow is a big copy of your company logo, with nothing else on the screen.

Here’s the key tip though: Don’t talk over your logo

Here’s the key tip though: Don’t talk over your logo, and whatever you do, don’t mention your company now – just coolly advance to your next slide and then start your talk. (For tips on what to say when you do start, see this list of 20+ opening lines.)

And when you get to the end of your talk, the last thing people see is the copy you made of your logo slide, which neatly bookends your talk as being the work of you and your company.

Such a large version of your logo, with nothing else on the screen, will make a strong lasting impression on your audience. (Can you say the same about dismissing your logo to a tiny corner of every slide, like so many other presenters do? Hardly!)

To me, this approach of making “bookend slides” (with your logo on a black background) is far better than having your logo on every slide, for these 4 great reasons:

  • You stand out from nearly all presenters, thereby making your message more memorable.
  • You come across as professional and well-prepared, making you (and your brand) more persuasive and influential.
  • By making your company logo big, showing it on a black screen, and not talking over it, you make your company into a highly visible yet refreshingly subtle part of the conversation.
  • You free up precious space on your slides, so for instance you can make your charts and diagrams (as well as photos) bigger and therefore clearer.

(You can even use a similar technique during discussions, to black out your slide so it doesn’t distract people away from the conversation.)

So, good luck with your presentations, and knock ’em for six!

Now it’s your turn

  • Do you think this is the “right” way to show your company logo?
  • Are there other pros or cons of this approach?
  • Or do you have a better way?
  • I’d love to hear your views in the comment box below.


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12 thoughts on “Here’s the RIGHT way to show your company logo on your slides – Be distinctive (not dismissive)

  1. Our design engineers send powerpoint presentations with drawings/illustrations of electro-mechanical devices to our clients who can be mega car manufacturers. We know that they will often print off individual slides and circulate them to colleagues for discussion. To have printed material being circulated without our logo means that they will not know where it came from and are likely refer to the wrong issues of the presentation.

    • Thanks for joining in the debate Pam. That sounds like quite a common situation.

      My view is that content designed for use in a PowerPoint slideshow isn’t suitable for use without a presenter. If it can stand alone, it most likely has a lot of detail on it, perhaps as text boxes labelling the drawings. So when the speaker presents it, those details on the slide compete for attention with what the speaker says aloud, resulting in information overload for the audience.

      In your situation, would it work to send a PDF of the notes pages? That way, you can put your logo on every notes page (via the notes master), but the logo doesn’t appear on the slides themselves when you present.

      Likewise, you can move text from the slides onto the notes pages, so again it doesn’t appear when presented by a speaker. And you can make the thumbnail picture of the slides themselves as big as needed, so people can still see the diagrams clearly.

      Also, have you seen the comments and replies below about adding a Twitter handle to your slides? There are some great suggestions there.

      I’m happy to discuss this more, so by all means leave another comment if you’d like to. (If possible, it’d really help to see a sample slide, so if you have any online, please let me know.)

      Thanks again for speaking up, as everyone benefits from open discussion.

  2. I am with you Craig on not putting a logo on every slide and, like you, prefer to bookend the presentation. Of course the entire deck can still maintain some branding through colours, type and even images. Unfortunately we are sometimes restricted by companies that insist on the logo on every slide.

    Some interesting comments re the twitter handle on a black bar. I am speaking in November about using social media to engage after the presentation so I will consider using this.

  3. Thanks Craig for leaving your positive comments on my blog post ‘Tips for tweeting at conferences’
    And thanks for leading me to this interesting debate! I’d agree adding your username to every slide could be distracting. However if you have personally created a model or other graphic you might want to consider adding your @username to this. As it gets re-shared it keeps your name with it and helps others to cite correctly!

    • Thanks so much for adding to the debate Sue.

      That’s a brilliant idea! I really like how it:

      • Earmarks just a few slides as being key content, which provides engaging contrast from the rest.
      • Helps the audience to focus on those points.
      • Marks the key slides as being the speaker’s own intellectual property.
      • Prompts people to share them too.
  4. I’m in the no logos on every slide camp. It’s just distracting and doesn’t add to the presentation narrative. If it doesn’t support what you’re saying, it shouldn’t be on a slide.

    A friend of mine who does social media for conferences (including live tweeting) had an interesting suggestion about Twitter handles on slides. She says to have a small black bar at the top of the slide with the Twitter handle in white. Then it looks like the bar is a part of the screen and not the slide.

    It also makes it easier for people to tweet and tag you as the speaker in that tweet.

    • Thanks for your comment Michelle, and welcome to the blog.

      What an excellent idea about using a black bar for the Twitter handle! If you’re going to show your handle all the time, I think it’s important to be subtle, and to separate it from your message, so your friend’s tip fits the bill.

      This comment on the CommsNinja blog makes a good point:
      Why make your audience work harder when they share a slide-shot?

      So I’m a bit undecided about showing a handle all the time.

      You could say having a logo on each slide’s purely about “me” (really, the speaker’s employer), whereas if you have your Twitter handle, at least that’s useful to the online audience because it lets them get more insights from you, and connect with you.

      It’s certainly an interesting topic, and it seems to be still evolving.

  5. An interesting article. We have a logo on every slide. It’s small and unobtrusive, but important. Why? We encourage audiences to share content… by having a logo on every slide the ideas/data remain linked to us.

    • Thanks very much for commenting, Ruth, and you raise an excellent point.

      Just last month, I read an article on Entrepreneur.com that suggested putting the speaker’s Twitter handle on each slide, for similar reasons. (Perhaps you came here via my comment there.)

      The whole issue of putting a logo, Twitter handle or other brand object on each slide is tricky: With people snapping photos of your deck and posting them online, as you say there’s no longer just the in-room audience to consider, and people’s needs online are different.

      Still, I think it helps to compare slides with TV ads or online video: Should a logo or handle be shown throughout a video segment? I’d say “No”, because it’d be distracting, and I believe the same’s true for brand objects on slides.

      (By “brand object”, I mean any item – like a logo or Twitter handle – that takes up space on the slide and whose sole purpose is to identify the speaker or their organisation. To me, other aspects of the brand – like colours, fonts, or style – are fine, provided they don’t distract people.)

      It’s also worth considering whether a slide would be shared online without a link, or some other mention of where it came from. I’d say if someone tweets a photo of a slide, they’re very likely to say something about it. In fact, I believe the more valuable the content is, the more likely they’ll say where it comes from or provide a link, to let their followers get more value from their tweet.

      Consider the opposite case though: What if someone tweets about how bad a slide is? Sadly, tweets like that are probably more likely to go viral than more positive messages, and bad slides are a lot more common than good ones. But with a bad slide, I’d say followers are less concerned about its source, and hence the people who share the slide are less likely to mention whose it is. So in those cases, having a logo or handle on every slide might actually damage the brand!

      Anyway, thanks again for commenting, and I’d love to hear more thoughts you might have – here or on other posts.

      • While I agree that a negative tweet is more likely to go viral, I don’t think that’s a valid reason to leave a brand object off a slide. If your slide has missed the mark or offended and gets negative attention, then you’ve got the opportunity to apologize and make it right. And do better next time.

        Incidentally, we received a new corporate PowerPoint template last week. The logo appears {…drum rolls please…} bottom left on every slide. So it’s shifted from bottom right, and it is much smaller and paler than previous templates.

        The logo placement interests me. A quick Google of visual heat maps suggests little, if any, attention is paid to the bottom left of a slide. This tells me that most people would be unaware of the logo unless they were specifically looking for it. So the “blur” would be less.

        Thanks for your blog. I find it thought-provoking and useful.

        • It’s good to hear your perspective Ruth, so thanks for replying.

          It looks like we’re not going to agree about logos on slides, but I recognise that most people are bound by their corporate template anyway, and (sadly) I’m sure most corporate templates do put the logo on each slide.

          Interesting that you mention heat maps from eye-tracking studies. That makes me wonder 2 things:

          • Do people pay so little attention to the bottom-left of a slide because there’s usually nothing there?
          • How much does people’s peripheral vision of the slide distract them from the message?

          I went to Google Images and searched for the phrase eye-tracking heat map looking at slide. What phrase did you search on?

          And lastly, for a related discussion on how consistent to be from 1 slide to another (which is also an area where branding gets involved), please see this post, which has comments from at least 6 readers.

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