Why Use Outline Style Graphics in a Presentation?

Is the Outline Style a Rising Trend?

Have you seen graphics with outlines? See the picture below – where we compare the same icons in simple flat style and as outlined symbols.

Outline style Business Icons infographics

We notice the outline style is getting pretty popular. Of course, it has it’s pros and cons. However, outline-only images are definitely among rising design trends. Flat style graphics once replaced gradient style images as the go-to design styles. It seems like outline graphics are the next big thing.

Source note: All slide examples here are based on infoDiagram’s Outline PPT Icons Collection. You can see the full set and get additional details by clicking any of the images.

Outline Icons versus Simple Flat Filled Iconography

Those two styles look similar but each has it’s strong and weak sides.

I recommend using outline style for:

  • light subtle illustration, that will not steal attention from other presentation slide elements
  • presentations, where you want to emphasize modern look
  • as a light watermark element in the background

Situations when simple flat icons are good to use:

  • when you need to use really small icons (simple flat filled icons are still pretty recognizable)
  • when you have a long list of items you want to illustrate by symbols.

Both types, outlined or filled flat symbols are style neutral. Thanks to this, they can be added to almost any presentation.

3 Reasons to Like Outline Icons:

What are the benefits of outline styles? They’re more modern-looking and elegant than ordinary, flat styles. Unlike their gradient or flat style counterparts, outline-only images like these are light and subtle. Thanks to these attributes, the outline symbols are handy visuals to use without making your slides too heavy.

Ways to Use Outline Style Icons

Here are seven examples where you can add an outline icon inside your presentation:

  • In title slides as the theme setting picture. [See the below example of introduction slide with one white outline icon over a full slide photograph]

Outline style Business Icons usage example

  • In the table of contents or agenda slides, placing icons next to each main section to represent each chapter.

Outline style infographics content table ppt

  • In transition slides, you can use the same icons used in the agenda/main slides.

  • In data charts, you can represent data categories visually.

Outline Business Icons diagram ppt

  • In diagrams and flowcharts – you can add an outline symbol for each major section or block. If there isn’t room inside each section you can put icons outside the blocks.

Data Privacy GDPR Training Template

Outline style Business Icons infographics

  • On your closing contact information slide, you can add address icons. (e.g. a mobile phone or envelope symbol.)

  • In call-to-action slides, insert action buttons. Add simple shapes with actionable text – like a mouse click icon.

When you customize the color scheme you can use outline graphics with any layout you’d like.

Practical design hint: You can customize the color of these icons with the PowerPoint Shape Outline tool. You can also change the outline weight so it stays proportional when you resize the icon. Another handy tool is the PowerPoint Format Painter which allows you to copy icon styles from one another.

Outline style Business icons infographics

The outline style is also very neat and tidy and allows the user to translate complex ideas to easily digestible pieces. Notice how it can be applied to present various industry sectors in this Slideshare presentation.

What’s Special About Outline Icons?

What do outline styles evoke? The outline graphic styles are modern and sleek. Their neat, minimalist design is perfect for any industry, and any context. Because of their adaptability and the ease with which they can be customized makes you and your message feel more trustworthy.

Outline style graphics are appropriate for a virtually limitless number of industries and contexts. If you aren’t sure of how you could improve your next presentation or resource with outline graphics, reach out to us. We would love to help you and see what you’ve been working on.

Your preference?

I’m curious to hear about your icon style preference. Do you prefer using an Outline or Flat icon style on your slides? Cast your vote in the comments.

Outline Icon Resources

We created a consistent set of editable outline symbols for you to use in your presentations. This PowerPoint vector icons collection includes 300 symbols from an assortment of business sectors.

You can see the full collection here:

See Outline PPT Icons Set

Need more infographics? You can create additional infographic slides with PPT diagrams graphics Bundle with over 200 slides of visual hierarchies, lists and flowcharts.

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Published by

Peter Z

Chief Diagram Designer, infoDiagram co-founder

3 thoughts on “Why Use Outline Style Graphics in a Presentation?”

  1. I haven’t paid much attention to outline ones, but I’ve started looking at them recently and quite like them. The flat ones are quite good too.

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