Your pitch deck is often the first impression investors have of your company. In an increasingly competitive landscape, an amateurish or confusing pitch deck can swiftly terminate further conversations before you even open your mouth. This renders choosing an experienced pitch deck design firm essential.
As someone who has reviewed over 10,000 decks across various industries, I have seen firsthand how a thoughtfully crafted presentation can capture attention and convey key messages persuasively. Conversely, a disorganized or text-heavy deck often loses audience interest within seconds.
In this article, I will share research-backed best practices on how specialized pitch deck designers can help startups craft decks that get funded.
The Value of Visual Storytelling
Data shows that visual content is more impactful than text alone. Our brains process images 60,000 times faster, with 90% of information transmitted to the brain visually. An MIT study found that presentations combining visuals and narration can increase audience retention by a staggering 6.5x compared to text alone.
Skilled designers understand this psychology and can translate complex ideas into intuitive graphics. They wield illustrations, info-graphics, and diagrams to simplify and clarify key points. Rather than assault investors with walls of text, visuals allow startups to inform and persuade more effectively.
For example, a pitch deck designer may showcase a startup’s IoT solution using an illustrated cross-section diagram of how sensors embedded within products can transmit data to the cloud. This crystallizes the concept instantly rather than needing paragraphs of descriptions.
Research-Backed Best Practices
Seasoned designers are also up-to-date on the latest pitch deck research to incorporate proven tactics that captivate audiences. For instance, today’s best practices indicate that less is more—slides with minimalist designs and a clear focal point better hold investor attention compared to cluttered slides crammed with disparate elements fighting for prominence.
Utilizing these and other research-backed strategies, an experienced pitch deck agency can create aesthetically pleasing and highly functional presentations tailored to investor priorities. This prevents critical rookie mistakes that diminish the credibility behind amateurish slides.
Emphasizing Competitive Differentiation
Investors see hundreds of startup pitches annually. To stand out, you must communicate what sets your solution apart from competitors. Highlighting your proprietary technology, defensible data assets, or unique business model is paramount.
However, emphasizing differentiation requires knowing what resonates with investors versus what founders think sounds innovative. Designers can help startups benchmark against successful peers to identify their vital competitive advantages and convey those persuasively.
For example, a previous client of mine discovered through initial investor conversations that their medical AI software’s explainability was its key differentiator. So we emphasized visuals of how the tech provides transparency behind diagnostic recommendations. This led to a vastly clearer value proposition and helped secure funding.
Founders often overload slides with walls of text and numbers. However complex quantitative data visualized through graphs, charts, or illustrations becomes exponentially more understandable.
Specialists can translate crucial metrics like market size, growth rates, and financial projections into sleek graphs. Infusing hard numbers with visual context helps investors instantly grasp scale and potential.
Additionally, designers may showcase abstract concepts like total addressable market using illustrated metaphors. This could involve stacking coins or objects to denote market size progression across years. Making numbers and data tangible allows audiences to internalize figures intuitively.
Conveying Credibility & Professionalism
An amateurish pitch deck immediately raises concerns about whether founders can build enterprise-grade solutions if they cannot even design decent slides. But a polished deck aligns with investor expectations, instilling confidence in your capabilities.
Thoughtful designs also demonstrate a willingness to invest in quality. Using stock art excessively signals a bootstrap mentality rather than supporting custom illustrations that personalize content. Seemingly small choices carry enormous subliminal weight.
That first impression also sets the tone for the presentation itself. Audiences make snap judgments on speakers based on superficial factors like dress code, body language, and slide quality. The design establishes expectations that you will deliver substantive content, not just sizzle.
The Deck Design Process
When engaging a specialist, expect an iterative, collaborative creation process. Designers initially interview founders to understand your company’s purpose, product, business model, and funding needs. This grounds the presentation in strategic objectives for both content and visual directions.
The agency then researches your industry, and competition and targets investors to incorporate relevant messaging and benchmarks. Next, they craft an outline aligned to proven pitch deck frameworks before visualizing key sections through wireframes. This allows a logical flow of ideas.
With feedback cycles built in, designers translate wireframes into complete slides with graphics, color schemes, and typography treatments matching your brand identity. Be prepared to provide ample comments and course-correct until you feel the deck powerfully captures your startup’s mission.
The Final Pitch
While seemingly a basic step, don’t neglect to rehearse your actual verbal pitch. Even stellar slides cannot substitute for clear, concise explanations of what problems you solve, how your solution works, and why now is the right time for your company. Memorize only key data to avoid losing eye contact while reading slides verbatim.
Record practice runs to refine your narrative, stage presence, and ability to handle tough questions. This combination of polished slides and presentation sharpens effectiveness in conveying your ideas, building rapport, and persuading investors.
When facing a room of VCs scanning to separate contenders from pretenders, every element matters. An amateurish pitch deck only handicaps your odds and primetime with investors. But working with specialists demonstrates commitment and aligns perfectly with the old maxim: If you look good, you feel good. And when you feel good, you present your best. Why leave this crucial capability to chance when expert help now becomes readily accessible?