The opening line of this article made me smile.

‘People have been picking on PowerPoint for a long time. But the remedy proposed is … better PowerPoint.’

The article goes on to discuss research that was carried out recently at the University of Stanford on three visual storytelling approaches:

1. Hand drawings on whiteboard
2. Traditional PowerPoint (stock photography and bullet points)
3. ‘Zen’ PowerPoint (key phrase and accompanying metaphorical image)

Image courtesy of

Researchers were testing for:

  • engagement
  • enjoyment
  • credibility
  • recall
  • persuasive impact

So what were the results?

Essentially, the hand drawn whiteboard presentation outperformed both PowerPoint presentations in a number of areas:

Engagement: Participants paid more attention and thought more deeply about the content of the whiteboard presentation.

Credibility: Participants reported that they found the whiteboard presentation to be more credible (i.e. based on scientific evidence). They also found their presenter to be more experienced and trustworthy.

This is particularly fantastic to hear! So many people I speak with are concerned about not being taken seriously if they use hand drawings in their work. And as you can see from the picture, we’re not talking about a super sophisticated drawing. This is simple stuff accessible to us all.

Presentation Quality: Participants rated the whiteboard presentation more enjoyable, clearer and easier to understand than both PowerPoint options. 

Recall: Participants were able to accurately remember significantly more message content than the PowerPoint options – in fact a 16% improvement in memory for message content. 

Amazing! Read the full article here. [Update August 2020: Unfortunately the article has since been removed from the CMO website.]

So the next time you find yourself painstakingly looking for stock images for your PowerPoint presentation remember, there is another way. Don’t just take my word for it!

Feeling inspired? Join me for Secrets of Simple Graphics Online starting September 29th and I’ll show you exactly how to create a hand drawn presentation. Book now >>