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The Cons of Using Stock Elements in Your Presentation

The Cons of Using Stock Elements in Your Presentation | #powerpointdesigners

On Thursday, we posed this important question: Should you use stock elements in your presentation, or not? It’s a legitimate question, with valid points on both sides of the issue. In our last blog, we focused on the pros. Things like saving time, saving money, getting to chose from lots of options, and taking advantage of professional-quality elements. We even provided some of our favorite stock element banks for music, images, and templates. If you missed our thoughts on the pros of using stock elements, you can check that out here.

Today, we’ll explore the other side of the issue. The cons. The reasons you may not want to use stock elements in your presentations. Specifically, we’ll look at the lack of customization, the open access format which can lead to overuse, and the cost. Then, we’ll share some tips for how to use them if you choose to.

Lack of customization.

One of the main drawbacks for using stock elements is that they aren’t customized to meet your needs. They don’t know your audience, your brand colors, or your presentation goals. So none of that is taken into account when these elements are created. Stock elements are created to appeal to as many people as possible. They are one-size-fits-all. So you’ll never get that specifically tailored look or feel when using open source elements that you can get when something is designed or created just for you.

Open access can lead to overuse.

When images are created for anyone to use, you will start to see them repeated. For example, once you are familiar with some of the soundtracks in the more popular open-source music banks, you’ll start hearing those tracks as background music everywhere. When you use stock elements, you run of the risk of hearing the same background music or seeing the same image in your competitor’s video or presentation. Not cool.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use stock elements at all. It just means there may be times when you decide to pay a little bit to get a semi-exclusive or exclusive license for that element. Check out this blog from Photutorial for more information on how both payment and licensing work for stock elements.

The cost.

Contracting someone to create unique, customized photos, graphics, soundtracks, or templates for your presentation can be pricey. But as we’ve said before in our blog, there are times when it makes sense to pay the professionals to handle it. We do it for things like plumbing or electricity or car mechanics and the list goes on and on. We want to add presentation designers to that list. If you’ve got a lot riding on a big presentation, don’t hesitate to reach out to a presentation design agency like Ethos3. Sure, there will be less crucial presentations that don’t require a big investment, and for those cases, stock elements can definitely save you some money.

Tips for Using Stock Elements (If You Choose To)

We encourage you to take into account the pros we covered on Thursday and the cons we covered today. Then, think about the context of the presentation you are creating and make the decision that is smartest for you. If you decide to use some stock elements, keep these tips in mind.

1. You can transform them. Because they are open access and royalty-free, stock images can be modified. Consider using color washes, cropping out one part of the image, using transparency to overlay multiple images, or more. You can use your favorite smartphone apps or check out Canva’s free online photo editor.

2. Don’t use them to sell a lie. For example, don’t grab a stock photo of a professional woman on iStock and then tell clients she is your head of sales. It’s one thing to use stock elements to help create a narrative. It’s another to use them to create a false narrative. Respect your listeners and build trust with them. Simply put, don’t pass off stock images as something they aren’t.

3. Don’t use them for logos or major branding materials. If you have a major element that will be used over and over again (like a logo or jingle or a company presentation template), it’s best to hire someone to create those important, customized pieces.

Even when you take into account the lack of customization, the potential for overuse, and the cost of stock elements, they can still add a lot to your presentation design if you know how and when to use them. Check out our list of places to find good stock elements.

And reach out to us about how we can help you take your presentation to the next level.

The post The Cons of Using Stock Elements in Your Presentation appeared first on Ethos3 – A Presentation Training and Design Agency.

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