The question I get asked most in my professional career, by far, is why I chose to be a presentation designer. I understand the curiosity- to most it seems like such a random, specific niche! Well, that’s basically my answer. The advice you get the most when you start freelancing is to stop being a generalist and find a niche. If you can find one that has high demand and low supply, even better. And that’s exactly the case for presentation design. You may have noticed that many designers turn up their nose at making presentations. But that’s where the low supply comes in. Designers don’t consider it true design, as working in Microsoft programs can feel slightly beneath them. I get it, I used to too! But to me, making a presentation is like creating a work of art on every page! It’s a skill that requires understanding of color, typography, user design, layout, and on and on.
The piece of wisdom I heard that really pushed me over the edge was something like this- “If you are Googling how to do something every day, you are doing it wrong.”
That doesn’t mean you have to be an expert in everything and shouldn’t have to search how to do things in different programs- it means you should be an expert in ONE thing, and that will eliminate your need for Googling/YouTubing all the time. The quote hit me hard because that’s exactly what I was doing- spending precious time learning how to do things that clients wanted, and then feeling bad for billing them for that time or even not billing them for it at all. With presentation design, I’ve learned the ins and outs of PowerPoint, Keynote, and Google Slides, to the point where it’s second nature to me now. Of course I still utilize Illustrator and Photoshop when needed, but that’s just for basic photo cutting or vector designs.
Another common piece of wisdom from successful entrepreneurs is that the more you position yourself as an expert, the less competition you have. When I apply for a presentation designer role, and I am the only presentation designer in a pile of graphic designers, I naturally stand out. I’ve positioned my branding, website, resume, and LinkedIn around presentation design, so it’s clear that I have refined and honed my presentation skills more than the rest of the applicants right off the bat.
The other answer to the why question is simple- it pays so much better than general graphic design! If you are in design, you know that not all design jobs are created equal. It’s clear that certain designers, like UX and UI designers, get paid much more than graphic designers. From my observation, presentation design is right there in that tier underneath user design. However, I have been offered a full-time salary for presentation design that was right up there with user design salaries (6 figures). Ultimately though, freelancing won out for me, as the flexibility is too good to pass up and the earning potential is basically unlimited, since I set my own prices! I’ve seen design firms charge $10,000 for a presentation that turned out horribly and the client came to me to fix.
I hope this post has answered all your questions about why I chose to become a presentation designer. If it has piqued your interest, next up I will share about the HOW of becoming a presentation designer, in case you are curious to explore it for yourself.