If your focus is on creating a meaningful and compelling presentation, it’s easy to miss the cover page. However, giving a little extra love to that first page of your deck can go a long way in getting your audience’s attention early on and setting the tone for the rest of your presentation.
A stunning presentation cover sheet can get your audience to know more and be more engaging with the information you are presenting. On the flip side, a lackluster slide, or even the missing slide, can dampen the audience’s enthusiasm for your presentation and perhaps even your own.
You’ve put so much work into your presentation – why should you waste this precious real estate on the first slide of your deck?
This post covers the basics of creating a presentation cover sheet that is informative and attention grabbing. Let’s dive in.
What is in a presentation cover sheet?
A good presentation cover sheet does three simple things:
- It introduces the subject with a simple title.
- It introduces you (and your organization, if applicable).
- It sets the tone of your presentation.
We probably don’t need to tell you this, but your presentation cover page should be about a title. And ideally a title that is simple, descriptive, and simple. If you’re having trouble keeping your title short, add a subtitle (in smaller print) to make it clear what you’re talking about.
Next, identify the person (or group) who will be giving the presentation. In some cases, it’s as easy as adding your own name. In other cases, you may want to include your company name, logo, department, or other identifying information. As a general guideline, you will need less identifying information when giving an internal presentation.
If your target audience is mostly people outside of your company (or there are plans to distribute your deck externally), you’ll usually want to add more information to uniquely identify your company.
A successful cover sheet sets the “tone” of your deck – but what does that really mean? The colors, images, fonts, and placements of various elements on your cover sheet create a certain visual style that the rest of your deck should follow.
A well-designed page conveys a sense of professionalism and willingness that a simple monochrome text slide simply cannot. Even if you’re not a design expert, you need to pay attention to the aesthetics of your cover sheet. Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to find free, professional-looking presentation templates without needing a graphic design degree. Regardless of your choice, it is important to stay relevant to your presentation (and your company branding, if applicable).
Below are some examples of cover sheets so you can see how different elements come together to set the tone for a variety of different presentations.
Examples of presentation cover sheets
Below we have compiled a number of presentation cover sheets that are successful in different areas. Remember: there is no perfect format for a presentation cover page, but hopefully this list will inspire you.
Set an emotional tone
The right presentation page can set both an emotional and a visual tone. This presentation cover sheet for a non-profit organization conveys a task-oriented approach to protecting nature with a selected, relevant image and a call to action right in the subtitle. (Photo by Andy Køgl on Unsplash)
A photo in focus
You don’t have to overcomplicate the format of your cover page, especially when you can use a great photo as a full background image. A simple stock photo here provides a clean background for this remote work presentation. Just make sure your title text is legible over any background photo you plan to use. (Photo by Corinne Kutz on Unsplash)
Lead with your brand
Even if you are the key speaker for a presentation, it may make more sense to highlight your team or brand on your cover sheet rather than providing your own personal information (you can always include your own contact information at the end of your deck for follow-up questions). Context (if you’re speaking at a specific event or annual meeting) can be important to make it stand out on your cover page as well.
There’s a big difference between a slide that you haven’t thought about much and one that makes good use of spaces and relies on a strong copy. Sometimes the best way to get an audience into your presentation is to make room for a little puzzle.
If you’re giving a more casual presentation or a pitch that doesn’t need to follow a specific format, go the minimal route and open it with a simple cover sheet slide that asks your audience a question (one you plan to answer, of course).
Establish a purpose
Many presentations include an agenda slide right after your cover slide. However, that doesn’t mean you can use your cover slide to set a clear purpose in advance. Use your subtitle to explain a more robust (but still simple!) Description of what you will be covering.
Presentation cover sheet templates
Rather than creating your presentation cover page from scratch, using a template can take a lot of the work out of the process. You can find templates on these websites that you can use for your presentation or as inspiration for creating your own designs.
A time-honored favorite of many marketing teams, Canva offers a wide variety of modern drag and drop presentation templates with truly unique cover sheets. If you’re looking for a cover page that looks like you hired a graphic designer to make it just for you, Canva is a good place to start. Canva offers both free and paid options.
Beautiful.ai has an intuitive, highly customizable presentation builder that allows you to import your own visuals directly from your computer or a Dropbox folder. Like Canva, they offer a range of free and paid template options (with great cover sheets). The biggest differentiator is the (honestly very cool) adaptive AI technology, which describes exactly how you’re trying to design a slide and automatically makes changes based on the direction of your project.
For a completely free option with a starter template for cover sheets for a variety of different projects in a variety of formats, see EDIT. Their online tool is specially designed to create cover pages in a simple, easy-to-use interface.
Another highly customizable template source is Visme, which allows users to choose a starting template from their (extensive) library and customize elements in a simple web editor.
VectorStock® has a wide variety of PowerPoint presentation cover sheet templates for purchase if you’re looking for something that can be plugged in without any adjustments (without adding your own name and title, of course).
First impressions are important
Good or bad, the audience judges a presentation based on the cover sheet. Because of this, it is important that you give your cover sheet the care and attention it deserves. Ultimately, a cover page is not just a placeholder, but an important component that can generate interest in your presentation. Best of all, with the tools available online, you don’t have to be an artist to create a stunning presentation cover page.
The image shown in this post was created using a Canva Template.