PowerPoint presentations are the first tool in every sales and marketing team's toolbox, and you've spent a lot of time and money building your brand.

Don't let an off-brand presentation ruin it.

Here's how a brand can break down: your marketing team rolls out a full brand refresh. Everyone loves it.

Time moves on, and your sales team needs to add a new slide to that beautiful sales deck you made–but they don't have time to wait for your team to design it. They need it real quick for a customer presentation this afternoon. So they decide to whip it up themselves.

And you know who is not a great designer?

Terry from Sales.

Terry prefers Comic Sans to Helvetica.

And Terry thinks that his fire-engine red pops more than the carefully selected Artisanal Crimson Angst your team chose as the key brand color.

Don't let Terry ruin your presentation.

With a Theme and a set of Master Slides, Terry can't go off the rails, and your presentations stay on brand.

Here's what you gain:

  • Standardized content layout, photo treatment, and chart display.
  • Toolkit to quickly get everyone on your team making great slides.
  • Consistent colors and typography.
  • Preserves brand value.

And, most important, all your presentations look like they come from the same company.

How to Get Started

Themes in PowerPoint define the default style for a presentation. They control fonts, colors, and layout, and usually come with a handful of variations that form the building blocks for your presentation.

Think of a PowerPoint theme as the vending machine where you order new slides. When you're creating a new slide, open your theme library and pick the layout closest to what you want. PowerPoint will add the template as a new, editable slide and voilà– you've got a well-designed, on-brand slide to start working with.

A template has two pieces–the theme and the slides themselves. Together they make the building blocks of your presentation.


When creating a custom theme, always begin by opening a new document to make sure you're working with the default settings–no leftover settings from previous projects.

Create your color palette using your brand colors. These colors can be applied to the slide master and will ensure the same color values are being used throughout the presentation.

Designate your fonts. Slide masters only utilize fonts assigned to the theme (other fonts may be used outside of the master slide editor). PowerPoint has built-in fonts that will work on any computer, but your brand font may not be one of them (and there might not be a close-enough match).

You can designate your brand font, but it may not load on another computer and could affect the way your presentation looks. Fair warning: PowerPoint can be problematic with cross-platform fonts (more about fonts in PowerPoint).


Master slides are created in a different area than the primary presentation view. There are specific editing tools that need to be placed on the slide master compared to the standard content tools found in the main presentation area. These placeholders allow the end-user to only apply content to the designated area.

It's this process that keeps Terry from messing up your slides.

Here are available placeholder tools:

  • Content & Vertical Content – includes all tools.
  • Text & Vertical Text.
  • Charts & Tables.
  • SmartArt Graphics (prebuilt graphics for lists, processes, cycles, hierarchy, pictures, etc.).
  • Media, clip art and pictures.

Common master slides

Every slide in your presentation does not have to be a master, but you'll want your library to be robust enough that most of your team's presentations can be built with them.

Here are common master slide types:


Cover slides typically include the presentation title, company names, dates, and, depending on your design, a hero photo.

Looking for a great cover slide? Try our free templates.

A cover page should have your plenty of space for the title, your company logo, and some details about the presentation.

Background Colors

Generic background colors for use with any content type.

A few blank slides with your brand colors will always come in handy.

Title slide, blank and photo.

Used to break up your presentation into sections. Like... "And now the good stuff." Add full-screen photo options for visual interest. Used for section breaks and title slides, quotes, and primary slides for imagery.

You can use free photo sites like pexels.com to find photos to add a little pop to your presentation

Note: with a master slide, you'll always need to place the photo above all other content on the slide and then arranged behind text

Text Layout Options

Provide options for the standard text layout: center, left, and right text, as well as photo left and right with text opposite.

Give your team plenty of options to break up the visual monotony of an 40-page presentation.

Multiple column text fields

Allows for evenly spaced text fields and can be designated for various text styling options and icon placement: bullets, dashes, alignment, etc.

Showing examples of multiple columns and charts standardizes how your team creates slides.

Closing Slide

Final slide, usually with a call to action and contact information.


Building a master template up front takes effort, and sticking to it takes discipline–but time and again we've seen it pay off for our clients as they build their sales teams. If you need help, we're happy to work with you on creating a great master template. Drop us a line.

And remember, there's only one Terry you'd trust with your PowerPoint.

Tips & Training:

Looking to take your master slides to the next level? Here are some handy tutorials from Microsoft.

  • PowerPoint Video Training from Microsoft: Link
  • Creating Masters: Link
  • Theme Creation: Link
  • Creating a presentation deck: Link