17 must-read books about presentation design – SlidesCarnival

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Maybe you’ve created hundreds of presentations. Or perhaps you’re about to embark on your first. Either way, improving your presentation design skills makes for a better end result.

Dive into one of these excellent books about presentation design to pick up a wide range of tips and techniques – everything you need to make your next presentation more engaging and persuasive.

  1. Books about presentation design for absolute beginners
  2. The all-time presentation design classics
  3. For those times when the data has to do the talking
  4. When you want to get more visual
  5. For professional public speakers creating complicated presentations
  6. Want a shortcut to great presentation design? Start with a template

Books about presentation design for absolute beginners

Starting from scratch? Then begin your presentation design education with one of these introductory books.

The Non-Designer’s Presentation Book: Principles for effective presentation design by Robin Williams

Slides Carnival Google Slides and PowerPoint Template 1 The Non Designers Presentation Book

This book has helped countless non-designers find their presentation mojo. It’s based around four easy-to-understand design principles and guides readers in creating a presentation from start to finish.

Unfortunately, this book can be a little tricky to get a hold of. If you’re struggling to find a copy, this next title is well worth a look.


The Non-Designer’s Design Book by Robin Williams

Slides Carnival Google Slides and PowerPoint Template 2 The non designers design book

This book, also by design expert Robin Williams, covers everything from color to typeface. It gives you a wealth of professional design tips that can easily be applied to your next PowerPoint or Google Slides creation.


The all-time presentation design classics

You just can’t beat a classic, and there’s a good reason these presentation design books have stood the test of time.

Presentation Zen Design: Simple Design Principles and Techniques to Enhance Your Presentations by Garr Reynolds

Slides Carnival Google Slides and PowerPoint Template 3 Presentation Zen Design

Take your presentation design to the next level with practical insights and lots of great examples from Garr Reynolds. This book will teach you how to keep things simple, improving your communication and really connecting with your audience in the process.  


slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations by Nancy Duarte

Slides Carnival Google Slides and PowerPoint Template 4 Slideology The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations

Nancy Duarte’s book helps you to become a visual thinker. You’ll learn about visual story development and be inspired by case studies from the world’s leading brands.  


For those times when the data has to do the talking

Beyond the standard charts and graphs included in your chosen presentation software, there’s a world of persuasive data storytelling. Find ways to give your data more impact with one of the titles below.  

Storytelling with Data: A Data Visualization Guide for Business Professionals by Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic

Slides Carnival Google Slides and PowerPoint Template 5 Storytelling with data

Data can be easily lost on an audience. But when you apply the lessons in this book, you’ll create data slides that really pack a punch. Learn which graph to use in a particular situation. Eliminate clutter that obscures your information. And create high-impact data stories that stay with your audience.


Storytelling with Data: Let’s Practice! by Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic

Slides Carnival Google Slides and PowerPoint Template 6 Storytelling with data lets practice

Reading about data storytelling theory is one thing. But many of us learn by doing. If this sounds like you, try more than 100 hands-on exercises in this book. Practice makes for data storytelling perfection.


Good Charts: The HBR Guide to Making Smarter, More Persuasive Data Visualizations by Scott Berinato

Slides Carnival Google Slides and PowerPoint Template 7 Good charts HBR guide

This book is a great guide on how data visualization works and how to use it to impress and persuade your audience. Covering research into visual perception, neuroscience, and visualization science, everything you’ll learn here is rooted in proven principles.  


Envisioning Information by Edward R. Tufte

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Looking for inspiration for your next data presentation? Look no further than this incredible book from Edward R. Tufte. In it, you’ll find lots of beautiful and original ideas for the visual presentation of information, and tons of practical advice, too.  


When you want to get more visual

A presentation is nothing without good visuals. If you want to up your game when it comes to presentation imagery, here are a few books that will help.

Killer Visual Strategies: Engage Any Audience, Improve Comprehension, and Get Amazing Results Using Visual Communication by Amy Balliett

Slides Carnival Google Slides and PowerPoint Template 9 Killer visual strategies

At the cutting edge of visual communication, Killer Visual Strategies examines what brands are doing right now to create exceptional visual content. Balliett provides actionable rules for would-be designers and takes a look at the very latest trends in the field.


How to Design TED Worthy Presentation Slides: Presentation Design Principles from the Best TED Talks by Akash Karia

Slides Carnival Google Slides and PowerPoint Template 10 How to Design TED Worthy Presentation Slides

What do the very best TED speakers have in common? This book aims to answer that question with a look at some of the best speakers and presentation slides to have graced the TED stage.


The Art of Presentation by Tom Nixon

Slides Carnival Google Slides and PowerPoint Template 11 The art of presentation

Upgrade your presentation design skills with Tom Nixon’s instantly applicable tips and tricks. From how to align slide text to where to look for presentation inspiration, this book covers it all.


For professional public speakers creating complicated presentations

If you’re a seasoned presentation designer looking to take your skills to the next level, take your pick from these two titles.  

Advanced Presentations by Design: Creating Communication that Drives Action by Andrew Abela

Slides Carnival Google Slides and PowerPoint Template 12 Advanced presentations by design

The lessons in this book have been tested by big name brands like Microsoft, ExxonMobil, and PayPal. With a focus on story structure and the best possible use of data graphics, this guide will teach you everything you need to know about results-driven presentation design.


Encyclopedia of Slide Layouts: Inspiration for Visual Communication by Andrew V Abela Ph.D. and Paul J Radich

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As the title suggests, this book provides hundreds of slide layouts to inspire your presentation design. Along with examples, you get a dissection of the purpose of each layout and the problems they solve, so there are plenty of design lessons to learn along the way.


Presentation design for specific fields

Presentation design can vary depending on which field you work in. These books address specific issues faced by presenters and designers in a number of fields.

Scientists

Designing Science Presentations: A Visual Guide to Figures, Papers, Slides, Posters, and More by Matt Carter

Slides Carnival Google Slides and PowerPoint Template 14 Designing Science Presentations

Whether you’re looking to publish your findings, get funding, or advance your career, this guidebook will teach you all you need to know about scientific presentations and the very best presentation techniques.


Startup owners

Get Backed: Craft Your Story, Build the Perfect Pitch Deck, and Launch the Venture of Your Dreams by Evan Baehr and Evan Loomis

Slides Carnival Google Slides and PowerPoint Template 15 Get backed

Getting your start-up off the ground means securing funding. It also means building relationships that will take your dream from idea to reality. This book, written by two entrepreneurs who raised $45 million for their own ventures in just three years, will help you do just that.


Educators and students

Better Presentations: A Guide for Scholars, Researchers, and Wonks by Jonathan Schwabish

Slides Carnival Google Slides and PowerPoint Template 16 Better presentations

Written with academics and researchers in mind, Better Presentations offers expert advice on creating scholarly or data-intensive presentations. Instead of recreating a written document in presentation form, you’ll learn how to impress and engage an audience with great visuals and content.


Design for How People Learn by Julie Dirksen

Slides Carnival Google Slides and PowerPoint Template 17 Design for how people learn

Help your audience gain and retain the information or skills you want them to know by following the advice in this incredible book. With insights into learning, memory and attention, you’ll be able to design educational presentations that really help your students engage with a topic. 


Want a shortcut to great presentation design? Start with a template

Any of these books about presentation design will improve your skills. But if time is tight or you’d prefer to leave it to the experts, browse the extensive library of professional presentation templates available at SlidesCarnival.

With one of our templates, you’ll get the visuals and data tools you need to present your content in a way that really connects.

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