10 Effective Decks

Design is all about connection. Making an effective presentation deck starts with understanding the audience, and telling them a story.

Design is About the Audience

The first rule of design is that the designer doesn’t matter. The company doesn’t matter. The product doesn’t matter.

At least not nearly as much as the audience.

The needs of the audience, the user, the market – that is the foundation of good design. Good design is an expression of them and their wants, needs, hopes and dreams. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a building, a blender, an app, or a pitch deck.

When we lose sight of that reality every piece of communication, regardless of whether it’s a sales deck or pitch deck or annual report, can fail.

Here at Humanizer there are some rules that we follow to make great decks.

  • Simple – A slide has only a few seconds to make it’s point. Be direct, concise, and legible.
  • Engaging – You, the presenter, can fill in details. Focus on creating interest.
  • Obvious – The meaning of each slide should be evident immediately.
  • Story – The deck should tell a story of transformation to the audience, and make them a part of it.
  • Open – Leave room for the audience to ask questions.

With that in mind, here are some examples of winning decks and a bit of analysis on what makes them work.

WeWork – Pitch Deck

WeWork was the peak of the Unicorn hunting, zero interest lending era. They grew fast. And one of the keys was their ability to tell a story.

This is the deck they used to raise $355,000,000 

Moz – Pitch Deck

Moz is a big name in search marketing. Founded by Rand Fishkin, Moz became a big player in marketing SaaS.

Here is the deck they used to raise $18,000,000

SEOmoz Pitch Deck July 2011 from Rand Fishkin

Mattermark – Pitch Deck

Mattermark organizes business information drawn from sources all over the Internet to deliver structured business intelligence to subscribers.

You can go through the deck they used to raise $6,500,000

LeadCrunch – Sales Deck

LeadCrunch is an AI tool that helps B2B companies generate leads. Simple and straightforward, this deck uses graphics to quickly get ideas across.

SnapChat – Sales Deck

SnapChat’s ad sales deck hits all the right notes. As a tool to connect with potential ad customers it’s strong on visuals and on content, starting with a bold claim – SnapChat is the best way to reach 13-34 year-olds. 

Peloton – Pitch Deck

Peloton raised $500,000,000 with this pitch deck in 2018. Peloton knows who they are and who their customer is. This deck is both for presentation and for email – it’s more wordy than a presentation would be, but it still keeps things simple and straightforward. 

Buffer – Pitch Deck

Buffer stood out quickly as a simple tool for scheduling social media posts. This deck cuts to the chase showing strong adoption despite operating in an already crowded space. Buffer also highlights the room for growth in the market, as social media is only getting bigger.

Front – Pitch Deck

Easy on the eyes and chart heavy, Front’s deck helped them raise $10M in series A. The trend-lines are obvious for Front. More people are using it more often. 

AirBnB – Pitch Deck

AirBnB’s pitch deck has become semi-famous in pitch deck world for a reason – it really does everything right. Simple, easy to read, essential information, and a story of growth and opportunity. The design may feel dated, and the branding is non-existent, but the idea and the vision come through loud and clear.

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