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Custom Presentation

layout design in Adobe Illustrator

by JuliannaKunstler.com

Custom PowerPoint design is a cool skill to know. Unique presentation looks professional and fun.

You can create the entire design with PowerPoint drawing tools, but it is easier to use Adobe Illustrator for that.

We are going to create a custom template, based on your own color scheme (see color scheme tutorial).

The process of designing a custom template is as follows:

1. Use Adobe Illustrator to create 5-6 slide layouts (.PNG images)

2. Export designs into PowerPoint

3. Combine with PowerPoint editable elements


slide 2


You will need 6 slide layouts:

  • Title slide
  • Title + content
  • Content slide (content with caption)
  • 2 contents
  • Image with caption
  • Blank slide

You can get some ideas of slides types by checking existing templates and images.

new document

Open a new file.

Default presentation size is 10 x 7.5inches (or 720 x 540 px, that is 4:3 aspect ratio).

Color mode should be RGB (as the presentation is viewed on a screen).

show grid

To keep all design elements aligned, add a grid view:

View > Show Grid

Gris will not be a part of your design - it's a tool

grid preferences

I recommend the following grid settings:

Every 1 in

Subdivisions: 8


Paste the color swatches from previous assignment.

swatch group

In Swatches palette:

Create a new Color Group to keep your color scheme swatches.

(If you do not have swatches palette open, go to Window > Swatches).

eyedropper tool

Select Eyedropper tool and click on the first swatch.

add swatch

step 1: Select folder

step 2: Click on New swatch button.

add new swatch

Double-check the color settings.

Click OK

save color

Now you have your first color saved in the folder.

Always select the folder before clicking on New Swatch button

save color swatches

Save the rest of the colors.

selection tooldirect selection tool

Use Selection and Direct selection tools to move, resize, and modify the objects.


  • Background supports the content, not competing with it - make room for text and images in your design.
  • Use only colors from your color scheme, you do not have to use all of them. White and Black are acceptable add-ons.
  • Design should be consistent in all slides.

Use shape tools to add shapes and graphics.

rectangle tool rounded rectangle toolellipse toolpolygon toolstar tool
line tool

Use line tool for extra lines.

Hold SHIFT for horizontal, vertical, or 45 degrees lines.

pencil toolpen tool

Pencil tool is for free-hand path drawing.

Use Pen tool for custom shapes and lines.


Tools that you might use:

  • Selection and drawing tools
  • Fill / stroke color swatches
  • Align palette
  • Layers palette
  • Swatches palette

Questions you should ask yourself:

  1. Background: solid? gradient? photo? design/pattern? combination?
  2. Title: position in a slide? alignment to other elements? size? font? color?
  3. Subtitle: needed? font properties? alignment? position?
  4. Do you have enough space for the actual presentation?
  5. So you want to add your signature/hallmark to slides?
layer pane

Add a new layer for each slide graphics.


Use text fields for design reference purpose only to determine text placement, size, font, alignment, etc.

Remove from work area before saving the background as an image.


You can rename slides as you add them.

Close Layer visibility (eye icon) for all previous slides.

When working with lines or strokes settings - use Stroke palette and Make sure Stroke swatch is selected (On the top) in the Tools panel.stroke swatch

fill color

To apply colors to shapes - make sure the Fill swatch is selected (on the top).

gradient fill

You can apply a gradient as a fill to your shape.

gradient palette

To create a custom color gradient:

Open Swatches and Gradient palettes ( Window > Gradient)

Then drag your custom colors onto the gradient palette.

save png fileSave each layer as an individual file:

Close all other layers.

File > Save for Web

Choose PNG-24

Check Transparency

Click Save

Save all images in the same folder.