I enjoyed this post by Garr Reynolds on learning slide design from an IKEA billboard (that's Garr's photo of a Japanese IKEA billboard to the left).
Here are Garr's "8 lessons from standing outside an IKEA store:"
(1) Make it visual
(2) One slide, one point
(3) Make type big
(4) Contrast rules
(5) Don't be afraid to bleed
(6) Rule of Thirds
(7) Empty space
(8) Have a visual theme
IKEA billboards are simple yet bold. They grab your attention but don't need to keep it for long, because there's not much to read. Your brain is free to move on to the next billboard. They make their point in a second. Can you say the same for your slides?
Next time you're driving around town, look at the billboards and signs around you and notice what catches your eye and what inspires you. Which signs make you want to know more? Which signs make you want to stop? Which signs do you remember later? Which signs do you not bother spending time on? You can analyze ads in magazines or newspapers this way, too.
Lessons are all around us; we just have to be open to finding them!