Put three photos on your title slide

Placing text over a full-size photo is a standard way to create a title slide. But by being everyone’s go-to method, it’s forgettable. Instead, use a photographic triptych: three tall photos spanning the slide.

Here’s a real-life example, the title slide from my most recent presentation:

Open Source Sans, a free font, is used in three different weights: semi-bold, light, and normal

I have attended hundreds of scientific talks. Of these, two had particularly memorable title slides. One was memorable for the wrong reasons. The other used the three-panel format above. Immediately upon seeing this design, I knew I would be using it every time I gave a talk. It is simple, elegant, and in my case a chance to display the glamorous side of Arctic oceanography.

Pick three related photos

The three photos in a triptych need to be somehow related. In the example above, I use three seascapes with the horizons aligned. Here are other possibilities (with hypothetical titles for good measure):

Three photos of the same thing
A single panorama cut into three
Photos at three subsequent times or distances

Pay attention to the details

Let the photos bleed: Do not leave a margin between the photos and the edge of the slide.

Make the photos big: Let the photos take up two-thirds of the slide. This still leaves ample space for a title and details.

Pick a complementary text colour: In all examples, the text matches a predominant or feature colour taken from the photos.

Use narrow gaps: The examples above use the following dimensions:

Dimensions measured in pixels

Author: Ken Hughes

Post-doctoral research scientist in physical oceanography

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