Make your presentation more effective with icons and pictographs

Icons are one of the simplest ways to represent something visually. Icons can be used to accentuate main points, enhance otherwise bland slides, or to reinforce the content of a photograph.

The Noun Project’s mission is to simplify global communication through a shared visual language. They aggregate and catalog symbols (currently there are over 1 million icons available) that are created and uploaded by graphic designers around the world.

Picking the right icons

Here’s our how-to list for ensuring your icons enhance your message:

  1. Recognition is key
    The point of an icon is to simplify information in a meaningful way. In order to accomplish this, the icon must be easily recognizable and relate to your message. An icon may look cool and interesting, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best choice. Think through the lens of your audience and ask yourself this question: If I knew nothing about this information, would I be able to understand better based on this icon?
  2. Consistency is key
    When working to keep your presentation simple, every single detail works to either enhance or degrade the quality of the overall deck. Whether you go with line icons, material design icons, and whether they are fun or serious, don’t change halfway through your presentation deck. It’s best to asses different collections of icons for their range before deciding. For example, Symbolon offers many collections in similar styles—so before we picked our first icon, we could review our content, and then review the collections to make sure we’re going o have enough options to cover all of our bases.

But what if I’m not a designer?

No problem! Many people don’t know that you can download, import, and then edit the SVG file (instead of choosing the PNG file) right in PowerPoint without ever having to open another program. It couldn’t be easier.

This is not an affiliate post and we don’t receive any benefits if you check them out or use their icons. There are many great places to find free or low-cost icons on the web. We prefer the Noun Project because of it’s extensive collection, minimal interface, and pay-as-you-go pricing options.