Preparing a Knockout Design Presentation

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When you’re presenting ideas to clients, the design presentation is just as important as—if not more important than—the idea itself.

Confidently presenting your design ideas with a healthy dose of finesse is crucial to the success of your pitch. A great presentation not only shows off your expertise and enthusiasm for the project; it also ensures that your clients will return to you again and again.

Shari Schwartz can attest to the benefit of a strong presentation. Shari is the founder of 6712 Creative, a full-service, strategic graphic design shop that caters to the design needs of both large and small design businesses Based in Baltimore, its mission is to combine the highest quality design with outstanding client services.

Here’s her No. 1 tip for acing design presentations:

I have found that excitement is contagious. Stand up out of your chair. Run to a large monitor and point out a beautiful detail that may have otherwise been overlooked. Train your clients’ eyes to hone in on the beautiful details that separate your designs from everyone else’s.

Starting September 1, Shari will be teaching a new HOW Design University course, Presenting Design Ideas and Concepts to Clients. In this course, you’ll learn why the actual presentation of work to a client can impact and sway how well the designs are received. This course is intended for anyone who works in the industry and often finds themselves in the spotlight presenting designs to a client, hoping for a big win.

Because we’re so excited about Shari’s course, we’re offering 35% off tuition! Enter code Concepts35 at checkout to get the discount.

Register for Presenting Design Ideas and Concepts to Clients here.

Want to learn more? Check out the introduction to Shari’s course:


photo from Shutterstock

Harnessing Your Presentation Approach

Years ago, I worked for a mid-size advertising agency, in which the owner also moonlighted as the Creative Director. And while he was passionate about handwritten fonts, Pantone 151 U, and coffee stained background textures, his true gift was that of selling ice to an Inuit. He won almost every creative battle by dedicating as many late-night, overly caffeinated hours to client presentations as he did to the work itself. If you could get past the fact that he was a bit of a narcissistic bullshitter, you’d begin to realize that his presentations were well prepared, carefully orchestrated, and his success rate was undeniable. From that point on, I resigned myself to becoming the little grasshopper and soaked up as much presentation know-how as possible.

I quickly understood that a solid client presentation is equally important as the actual designs you’ve spent weeks finessing. You are telling a story or presenting a solution to a business challenge, and your client needs to feel as though you’ve done your homework, that you understand all objectives and issues, and are subsequently presenting the smartest possible solution. Your presentation can directly impact and sway how well the designs are received by the client.

So, there is the obvious: Show your designs, explain them, gather feedback, and avoid insults and embarrassment.


But, that is merely scratching the surface. There should be order. And reasoning. An “orgy of evidence” that we will get into later. And rabbits to pull out of your hat if need be. While good design can certainly stand alone, you should seize any opportunity to cushion your work with conviction and tangible preparation.

Learn how to prepare a killer design presentation in Shari’s new course, Presenting Design Ideas and Concepts to Clients.

Register with code Concepts35 to take 35% off tuition! Register here.