My team and I have designed a variety of presentation decks, including sales decks, speaking presentations, capabilities decks, and pitch decks.
Today, I want to talk about pitch deck design.
Because only 2% of all VC funding goes to women founders. I really want to help femtech and other early-stage female founders get the funding they deserve.
You’ve done the hard work of gathering information and crafting compelling arguments, but sometimes it all falls flat when the visual representation isn’t up to par.
The power of visual communication can never be underestimated, especially when it comes to conveying your ideas to potential investors.
I’ve spotted some common mistakes that many make while creating their pitch decks, and I want to share them with you, along with the best practices to turn these pitfalls into successes.
Common Mistakes in Pitch Deck Branding & Design
- Lack of Visual Identity
A consistent visual identity is like a signature style. It’s what makes you immediately recognizable. Inconsistency can lead to a forgettable presentation.
- Overcomplicated Design
Less is more. Overloading one slide with multiple ideas can cause confusion. Imagine explaining 3 points on one slide; no one will remember what you're saying.
- Poorly Chosen Images
Every image should have a purpose. Using generic or random images may seem minor but can significantly impact how your message is perceived.
- Overuse of Text
Slides packed with text can confuse the audience and divert focus from the main message. Instead of engaging with you, people may get lost trying to read everything on the slide.
- Lack of Storytelling
People remember stories, not facts. Facts tell, but stories sell. If your pitch deck doesn’t tell a story that resonates with your investors, you'll lose that vital connection.
Now that we know what NOT to do, let’s turn them into opportunities:
Best Practices: Turn Mistakes into Success
- Create a Strong Visual Identity
Your pitch deck should be as polished as your appearance for a big meeting, mirroring your brand's identity:
- Maintain consistency in your design.
- Craft unique brand elements that align with your brand’s personality. (E.g. logo, colors, fonts, visual symbols)
- Need a head start? Use a template! TIP: Canva offers lots of free options. Just search for “Presentations.”
- Keep the Design Simple
Simplifying doesn’t mean dumbing down; it means making your content easily digestible:
- Present one idea per slide.
- Use simple charts and graphs.
- Leave some white space. Just as humans need air to breathe, designs need white space to breathe. It brings visual clarity and balance to a layout.
- Choose Images Wisely
Use photos that reflect your brand’s essence. Don't just choose random stock images; make sure they add to the narrative:
- Use photos with a similar style to enhance your brand personality. E.g., if your brand focuses on people, use people's photos throughout. Don't add nature photos without reason.
- TIP: try these free photo sites like Unsplash, Pexels, and Freepik.
- Use Text Effectively
Think of text as a spice. Too much, and it overpowers the dish; too little, and it’s bland. Find that perfect balance:
- Keep sentences short.
- Break content apart into bullets or columns (3-5 is best).
- Follow the 7 words per line, 5 lines per point rule.
- Tell a Story
Take your audience on a journey. Make them feel something:
- Use an origin story — your why, how you got started, or the obstacles you’ve overcome.
- Share customer success stories — how customers went from pain to pleasure with your product/service? What are their success stories?
FUN FACT: According to cognitive psychologist Jerome Bruner, we’re 22 times more likely to remember a fact when it's told as part of a story.
Your pitch deck is more than a collection of slides; it's a visual story of your brand.
I hope these tips will help you convey your big idea and connect with your investors.
Whenever you’re ready, here are 3 ways I can help you:
1. Startup Branding Quiz:
Health check your brand to identify areas for improvement and take your brand to the next level. → TAKE THE QUIZ
2. Build a Fundable Brand™ Bootcamp:
A 30-day bootcamp for first-time founders to create your very own investor-ready brand (even if you have ZERO design or marketing experience) in just 1 hour a day. → JOIN THE WAITLIST
3. Brand Perfect Unlimited: Subscribe to our friendly service plan with no proposal or scope of work required. Request unlimited designs hassle-free. → SEE PLANS