Not a Graphic Designer? No Problem!

I openly tell people that I work with that I am not a graphic designer. I am a techie person but graphic design and making things look pretty is not one of my strengths. This is an issue because I would still like to make beautiful slide decks for participants in professional developments that I facilitate, as well as for students that I tutor and teach. It is no secret that slide decks and PowerPoints can be extremely monotonous at times and that the design of a slide deck can take it from being “boring” to being “engaging.”

I liken my skills in the graphic design arena to me being back in my elementary school’s computer lab working on Microsoft Paint as a child in the early 2000’s (no disrespect to Microsoft Paint): my designs are clunky, the colors are all out of left field, and the pictures look terrible. I often lean on other programs to carry the burden of graphic design for me, and one of my favorites is PowerPoint Designer.

PowerPoint Designer is a feature in PowerPoint that designs your slide for you. You no longer need to play around with fonts, colors, backgrounds, and photos if you do not want to—Designer does it for you.

To use Designer, here are the steps that I follow:

  1. I create my PowerPoint FIRST. I do this because Designer will design the slides based on the content that is displayed on your slide. For example, if I’m making a PowerPoint deck on solving linear systems of equations the slide will populate with a beautiful math background and accompanying font. Starting with Designer first can absolutely be an option if you are more savvy with graphic design, but as I’ve indicated graphic design is not really my strong suit. Find it much easier to create my deck first and then go to the Designer tool.
  2. To find the Designer tool click “Design” on the home task bar and at the right you will see “Design Ideas.” This is where the magic resides.
  3. Once you select the Designer tool for your individual slides, Designer will take multiple things into account: accessibility (can all of the text be seen? Can all of the pictures be seen?), background (will the background be solid? A gradient? Will it be translucent?), borders, overall design…I can go on and on, but it takes blank slides and makes magic out of them.

Here is an example of a deck that I recently created for a Pancake Ratios activity for the consulting firm that I recently co-launched with my friend and colleague, Maribel Valdez Gonzalez. It is beautiful and required very little effort on my end—Designer did it all!

About the Author

@VictoriaTheTech

Victoria Thompson is a STEM Integration Transformation Coach at Technology Access

Foundation–a nonprofit leader redefining STEM education in public schools–and a consultant

for Ignite EdTech. She has been in education for five years and began her journey teaching fifth

and sixth grade math and science in Summerville, SC. After completing her masters degree in

curriculum and instruction she moved to the Seattle, WA area in 2018, where her career has

pivoted to focusing on STEM integration in schools, K-12 mathematics instruction with research

on decolonizing mathematics curriculum for teachers and learners, creating inclusive math

environments, and using technology to bridge equity gaps in math education.

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