GIFs & emojis in a pitch deck? The creative dos and don'ts to draw attention

Creating and presenting a pitch deck is always a daunting prospect. Especially when you’re new to the process. Just knowing what information to include can be a minefield, let alone how to present it. And while tech advancements have opened the way to multimedia presentations, the question remains whether the likes of GIFs, emojis, and animations are appropriate in a business setting. Can they be used to make your business stand out in the right way?

For decades, pitch decks have worked to a more or less fixed format, but things are changing. So, which trends are worth taking note of?

Why is design important for a pitch deck?

The purpose of a pitch deck is to present your business in the most favourable light. It’s your chance to put your key statistics in front of potential investors and prospects, while showing them what makes you tick and why they should trust you with their money.

While, of course, you could do that on a densely typed piece of plain A4, that will never create the desired impact, no matter how impressive your figures. Pitch deck design can help you attract attention, and engage that attention once you have it. It also gives you the confidence to pitch knowing that you have prepared your best version of the presentation, setting you up for success.

What are investors looking for in your pitch deck?

There are key pieces of information that all pitch decks should include: Your business summary. Your product details and the problem it is solving for your potential customers. The marketing strategy you intend to deploy. Your financials and projections. And who you are – the people behind the business. But on top of that, they are looking for signs of creativity, and your ability to engage your audience. And that’s where your design comes into play.

How can you make your pitch deck stand out?

There are various strategies for making your pitch deck stand out to investors.

Create a narrative

Your presentation shouldn’t be a collection of facts and figures or even just your company story so far, it should take viewers on a compelling journey. First, you need to set the scene - what is the existing context in your market, what are the current problems and why should people care about it - this draws the viewer in. Now, the viewers are invested in what’s next - the solution which of course is your platform, product or business. Back this up with success stories and results and you’ll have your audience fully engaged.

Be creative

Creativity sells. Partly because it is engaging. So, choose a style, a tone, and a voice. Choose a colour palette and design scheme. And try out more than one of each until you find the right fit for your business. Then use it consistently.

Employ some of the latest design trends

We all know someone who loves GIFs and emojis a little bit too much. While the first one or two are funny, when you get to the 17th GIF in a text conversation, it can’t help but grate a little. The same applies to pitch decks. GIFs, emojis, and animations are finding their way into pitch decks. In fact, some businesses have created completely beautiful animated play decks that have knocked investors’ socks off even the likes of Google use GIFs to bring their points to life.

But moderation is the key. Considered use of any of these features can work incredibly well, particularly at breaking up text-heavy slides. But too many can quickly become irritating, and easily look like a lack of inspiration. 

Choose your images and illustrations wisely

The human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text. So, in a pitch deck, images should never just be used as a filler. They need to count. Take your time and find images that really represent your business or product, and speak to your audience. If you have a complex product, consider using graphics and illustrations to break down the pillars and visualise it with simplicity.

Your pitch deck is your shortcut to showing investors what your business is all about. Creativity is essential. Newer media forms more typically found in informal settings do have a place. But use them sparingly, and use them well.