Presentation design
Because words are better with pictures.
A deck has many uses: you can sit on one, skate on one and even wow audiences with one. Let’s talk about the latter. The presentation team at Zendesk exists because presentations are very important. Presentation is the most approachable way to tell a story within your company. Not everyone has the resources to make a compelling video or website for their idea, but nearly everyone has access to slide software. For that reason, presentations happen every day, all across the company. A great presentation helps a great idea spread far and wide.

A deck should be seen as a resource, which is why it’s important to keep the brand basics in mind when creating one. You could be giving someone their first Zendesk experience — and if you’re the person relaying our message, it’s your job to champion it.

The stories we tell and the visuals we show are critical to good communications. Your presentation should be clear, digestible, and humblident. You should know your audience and you should keep your slide content concise. Whether you need to convince or inspire, this section will help you craft the best presentation deck possible—skateboard optional.
Crafting your story
The Zendesk Brand is built on stories about relationships between people. We work hard to humanize stories about software and business. Anchoring your story on people will help keep your presentation focused as well as making it more powerful to the listener.
Have a purpose
It might seem obvious, but you have to first understand why you’re giving this presentation. If you’re clear on your purpose, you’ll have no trouble distinguishing what goes in and what should be cut.
Know the room and relate your story to the audience
Before you plan your presentation, consider who you're speaking to, how familiar they are with what you're presenting, and how new they are to Zendesk.

If you want to sell people on a new product idea and you need both Product Design and Engineering to buy into it, consider adapting your deck. A non-engineering crowd probably isn’t going to love your binary code samples.
Show off your personality, then connect your anecdotes to something bigger
Don’t hide behind your deck. People want to understand how who you are informs your belief in what you’re presenting.

An easy way to begin is by explaining why you're championing your idea or how it ended up with you. Perhaps you understand how to make a great product because you used to be a nuclear submarine captain. Maybe you have a strong perspective on budgeting because you're trying to teach your kids financial responsibility.

If you have a complicated topic to share, an analogy related to something you care about (i.e., the plight of sea turtles) can help simplify and empower your message.
Stick to one major idea
Keep it clean. People may only remember one data point from your presentation — make sure it's the right one.
Follow a story arc
Always bring your presentation back to the main point, and don’t lose the thread. Good stories have a beginning, middle, and end — but the middle is what distinguishes it. Keep track of the main beats of your findings and let that be your outline.
Wrap it up
You should know how you want your audience to feel at the end of your presentation. Be clear on any next steps they need to take and make sure they're actually inspired to do so.
Showing versus telling
Presentations rely on something that neurologists call "dual internalization": looking and listening. Think about why we use emojis — they add emotional and visual cues to digital communication, so your friend can interpret exactly how you're saying "help!".

At Zendesk, a presentation has a little something for your eyes, your ears, and hopefully, your spirit.  On the Presentation Design Team, we build the slides and talk track at the same time to make sure both are in harmony.  
Visuals help set the context or mood: choose wisely. Steer away from clichés and stock photos with bad actors expressing fake emotion.
Great Zendesk presentations avoid the "Reading Rainbow" effect. If you find yourself simply reading your slides aloud to your audience, you most likely need to axe your bullet points and add a visual.
Zlides templates
Zlides is slides with a Z because we work at Zendesk and couldn’t come up with a better name. If you work here you can access the latest version of our presentation templates below, for easy to use, on-brand slides. Follow #zlides for updates, answers and assistance from the design team. If you don’t work here, it's impressive you've made it this far. You should check out our careers page.
Technical guidelines
These rules are the guardrails that keep Zendesk presentations on track.
Talk like Zendesk
Our brand voice is special, so try to use it. For tips on writing in the brand voice, see the copywriting section.
Look and feel
We've provided templates, but it's your job to make sure that your presentation is on brand. Be extra sure by going over the design section.
Use as a guide
When in doubt, look at our own website. It's Brand Team approved.
Present like a pro
Stand up
If you feel comfortable with it, stand up. It helps your audience see you, and helps you see your audience.
Give credit
Try to use the word ‘we’ to acknowledge that the efforts of others made your presentation possible.
Practice, practice. Memorize your main points, and let the rest flow naturally. Rehearse answers to potential questions.
When all else fails...
Picture everyone naked.

Make sure to use the newest Zendesk templates.

Use corresponding colors to complement and emphasize our products.

Don’t use outdated slide templates.

Avoid colors that might not show up on a projector.


Use icons sparingly, and make sure they are from the Zendesk icon library.

Don’t use random icons you find on the internet.


Use only brand approved images and photos.

Seems obvious, but we’ll say it anyway: Avoid crappy images and stock photography.

Organization and visual hierarchy

Be concise.

Use bullet points to highlight what you’re talking about.

Don't write your entire presentation on a slide. And definitely don't read it word for word.

Audience and messaging

Think about the narrative. Have an introduction, body, and conclusion.

Focus on what you want your audience to walk away with.

Never assume your audience knows all about your subject.


Use Sharp Sans for titles and Proxima Nova for body copy.

Use visual contrast to prove your point, varying size, color, and weights.

Use sentence case for titles and headlines.

Stay away from other fonts—especially the silly ones.

Don’t use Sharp Sans for body copy. Seriously.


Use colors to tell your story, show hierarchy, and convey emotions.

Use corresponding colors to complement and emphasize our products.

Don't use high-contrast colors or colors outside of the Zendesk Brand.

One more time: Avoid colors that might not show up on a projector.