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Design Principles for Effective Business Presentations



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On Campus (Sydney)


6 wks


Avg 10 hrs/wk

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Communicating ideas and persuading others through business presentations is THE crucial currency for today’s businesses. However, the majority of business presentations are dull and ineffectual. Through the lens of his global career as a newspaper, magazine and strategic design leader, James de Vries introduces the storytelling and design secrets of the world’s best magazines and newspapers, to revolutionise how you communicate in your presentations.

About this microcredential

This practical microcredential enables participants to transform how they approach their business presentations, through harnessing classic design principles and techniques. It introduces participants to the fundamentals of good design and gives them practical tools and tips to create more meaningful and persuasive storytelling, in a business context.

Through lectures, exercises and critiques, this microcredential will accelerate participants in their persuasive storytelling ability. It will demonstrate how good editorial design is not accidental and contains all the elements that can be used to increase the humanity, connection and influence of daily business communications.

The microcredential traverses core storytelling and design principles to build context, knowledge and conceptual thinking capacity.

Key benefits of this microcredential

By completing this microcredential, you will gain the fundamental frameworks, understanding and skills required to be more effective and persuasive in your communications at work.

This microcredential aligns with the 3 credit point subject, The Power of Design: to Improve Your Business Communications (89037) in the Master of Design (C04243). This microcredential may qualify for recognition of prior learning at this and other institutions.

Who should do this microcredential?

This microcredential is designed for anyone who needs to communicate ideas and build persuasive arguments in business, but feels frustrated by their current tools and ways of communicating. It is suitable for anybody who has to use common tools, such as PowerPoint or Keynote to communicate and persuade and would like their slides and presentations to be more impactful and effective.

This microcredential will particularly benefit those in the fields of:

  • Business
  • Management
  • Communication
  • Marketing
  • Health
  • Science
  • Startup.


Full price: $2,195 (GST-free)*

*Price subject to change. Please check price at time of purchase. 

Discounts are available for this course. For further details and to verify if you qualify, please check the Discounts section under Additional course information

Enrolment conditions

Course purchase is subject to UTS Open Terms and Conditions. 

COVID-19 response 

UTS complies with latest Government health advice. Delivery of all courses complies with the UTS response to COVID-19.

Additional course information

Course outline

This microcredential runs over two days in person on the UTS Campus and two evenings follow up sessions online via Zoom. Online resources and self-paced tasks are provided using the UTS Canvas learning portal. Course content includes:

Day 1: 

Introduction to editorial design and business communication

  • What is editorial design?
  • What is the strategic role of design?: orders of design; design rhetoric
  • The role of design thinking.

The disappointment and frustration of PowerPoint

  • Types, purposes and experiences of presentations
  • How PowerPoint constrains how we think
  • Sharing stories of horror and delight: critiquing, analysing and improving
  • Exercises
  • Group presentation and critique.

The power of editorial design (part one - the essentials)

  • Creativity: great editorial design as a proxy for all design
  • How do designers go about the task? Videos and chats with editorial designers
  • Discussion

What’s under the hood? Introducing essentials of effective design.

  • Audience
  • The task
  • Desired outcome
  • Culture
  • Hierarchy
  • Typography
  • Colour
  • Imagery
  • Layout
  • Narrative.

Homework briefing

  • Stop & think.

Day 2:

Homework reveal and discussion

  • Recap
  • Q&A
  • Exercise: how do designers go about it?

The power of editorial design (part two – visual rhetoric)

  • Editorial’s ability to connect and persuade
  • The power of culture, concept, and metaphor to create meaning
  • Emotion
  • Cognitive load
  • Guided discussion
  • Exercise: build a visual argument.

Exercise reveal and discussion

  • Editorial design essentials
  • Talk: the power of the visual
  • Q&A
  • Exercise: communication in business.

Your challenge: Business editorial design exercise

Day 3: 

Online - showcase

  • Showcase your challenge homework
  • Group critique and feedback.

Day 4: 


  • Recap
  • Q&A
  • Resources for better communication design.

Day 5: 


  • Final presentations.

Course delivery

This course will be taught primarily through face-to-face learning and hands-on workshops. Pre-learning and follow up feedback sessions will take place remotely, over Zoom. Supplementary material will be available through UTS Canvas.

Course learning objectives

After completing this microcredential, you’ll have a better understanding of:

  • Compelling storytelling with words and images
  • How to connect with your audience
  • How to plan and deliver a powerful visual argument
  • Pitfalls to avoid
  • Why better typography and layout is worth it
  • How to use images to create compelling messaging.


Assessment will be pass/fail.



  • To complete this course, you will need a personal computer with an operating system and web browser compatible with Canvas.
  • You will also be required to bring a pen, paper and laptop computer to on-site sessions.


Discounts are available for this course as follows:

  • 10% discount for UTS alumni, students and staff
  • 10% discount for 3 or more enrolments from the same organisation.

Discounts cannot be combined and only one discount can be applied per person per course session. Discounts can only be applied to the full price. Discounts cannot be applied to any offered special price. 

How to obtain your discount voucher code

Please contact the team at with your student number or details of group enrolments, to obtain your discount voucher code. Note that group enrolments will not be validated until the minimum number of criteria enrolments have been received.

How to apply your discount voucher 

If you are eligible for a UTS alumni discount, please ensure you have provided your UTS student number during checkout. If you have forgotten your UTS student number, email with your full name, UTS degree and year of commencement.  

  • Add this course to your cart 
  • Click on "View Cart" (blue shopping trolley at top right of screen). You will need to sign in or sign up to UTS Open 
  • Enter your eligible code beneath the “Have a code?” prompt and click on the blue "Apply" button 
  • Verify your voucher code has been successfully applied before clicking on the blue "Checkout" button. 

Acknowledgement of Country

UTS acknowledges the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, the Boorooberongal people of the Dharug Nation, the Bidiagal people and the Gamaygal people, upon whose ancestral lands our university stands. We would also like to pay respect to the Elders both past and present, acknowledging them as the traditional custodians of knowledge for these lands.