7 Weird Myths About Using Cartoons in Presentations

We've reviewed 7 popular beliefs about using cartoons in presentations and explained why they aren't true.

7 Weird Myths About Using Cartoons in Presentations

Using cartoons in presentations is a very common practice that presenters follow. This means that this kind of art must be effective in presenting information and communicating ideas to an audience. And it also means that you will hear all kinds of statements about it, whether true or false.

Today, we’ve reviewed 7 popular myths related to using cartoons in presentations and explained why these statements are fully or partially false. Let’s begin!


Myth #1:

Cartoons in presentations are comical drawings with witty punch lines.

Weird Myths About Using Cartoons in Presentations: Myth 1 - Cartoons in presentations are comical drawings with witty punch lines

What do you believe cartoons in presentations look like? If the only image which pops in your head is a black-and-white drawing in a comics-style with a clever (or not so clever) punchline casually thrown in between two slides, you’ll be right. Аnd wrong.

In reality, cartoons in presentations are quite many types. Not necessarily comical. Not necessarily with a caption.

Moreover, each type of cartoon in presentations serves a different purpose. While some cartoons may indeed look like humorously illustrated concepts with a few lines of text, this doesn’t apply to all. Recognizing different types of cartoons and knowing how to use them in your presentation is a prerequisite for your success as a presenter. Here are the most common types of illustrations  and cartoons used in presentations:

  • Icons and design elements

Now may the moment you’ve realized you have been using cartoons all this time! Every design element which requires drawing can be classified as an illustration. And every illustration can be drawn in a cartoon style. Here is an example of such icons and elements made in a cartoon style.

cartoon icons in presentations

Icons in a cartoon style. Source: Vector Business Collection Outline 101

  • Cartoon characters

Probably the most popular type of cartoon in presentations. Cartoon characters are used for a variety of purposes. The most common roles they take up are – story protagonists to make the viewers relate, and story narrators to hold the viewer’s attention and lead their eyes.

Now, for those of you who still have doubts if a cartoon character can be a match to their presentation, the styles in which cartoon characters can be illustrated, are infinite. They can easily be adapted to your style of presentation. There are 3D, 2D, black and white, outline, realistic, etc. Not to mention that almost any object can be turned into a cartoon character. Check out a few examples of different cartoon character styles.

  • Conceptual illustrations

Convey a concept is a very common task that stands before each presenter. This is where conceptual cartoon illustrations come in very handy. Cartoons can help you depict and effectively convey almost every kind of concept. Here are a few examples. Once again, these cartoons can easily be made to match the style of your presentation.

cartoon presentation: teamwork tasks concept

Teamwork concept. Source: Stickman vector illustrations

cartoon presentation: attracting money concept

Attracting money concept. Source: Stickman vector illustrations

  • Cartoon puns

And finally, we come to the popular perception of cartoons in presentations – cartoon puns. Actually, cartoon puns and comical illustrations are not used so often in presentations compared to other types of cartoons.

Cartoon puns act as a breather, especially during a boring data-heavy presentation or complex subject. The cartoon puns create mind breaks and successfully bring the audience’s attention back to the screen and the topic.


Myth #2:

Cartoons in presentations distract the viewer from the subject.

Weird Myths About Using Cartoons in Presentations: myth 2 - Cartoons in presentations distract the viewer from the subject.

True. Cartoons that have absolutely no relation to the subject of your presentation will certainly be a distraction to your audience. The real question here is: Why would you put such cartoons in your presentation in the first place?

In reality, cartoons help you draw more attention to the subject when they are used correctly.

All visuals in your presentations, be it photos, graphics, icons, AND cartoons should have one and only purpose: to reinforce your message. Poorly picked cartoons that have nothing to do with the topic of your presentation distract the viewer from the essential stuff. They also speak of ignorance and lack of experience. And most definitely, they should not be in your presentation.

To avoid being one more reason people still believe the myth above, make sure the cartoons in your presentation:

  • are clearly related to your subject,
  • make your point stronger,
  • make your idea easier to understand,
  • engage the viewer and provoke thinking in the right direction,
  • evoke the right emotions.


Myth #3:

The cartoon’s role in presentations is to make the audience laugh.

Weird Myths About Using Cartoons in Presentations: Myth 3 - Cartoon's role in presentations is to make the audience laugh.

An often misconception about using cartoons in presentations is that their only role is to make the audience laugh. In fact, laughter is very important and it helps break the ice. On the one hand, the presenter gets relaxed and therefore, more effective in presenting their key message. On the other hand, the audience gets into a good mood and becomes more inclined to receive the message.

In reality, cartoons can be quite entertaining and definitely handy in achieving this effect. But this is not their only role.

Cartoons are supposed to make your presentation and your message easier to understand, and they achieve it in different ways. Laughter is just one of them.

One role of cartoons in presentations is to make the audience take a specific action. This is quite easy once you make your viewers relate.

Cartoons, especially cartoon characters presented in different situations can be extremely relatable. Therefore, they can easily provoke an array of emotions and reactions. The idea is that the presenter foresees and plans these audience reactions in order to achieve the desired effect and make the viewers take the desired action.

Another role of cartoons in presentations is to create mind breaks for your audience, especially if the subject is boring. This is easily achieved by making a joke after which the audience’s attention is back on the screen. The generalized belief that cartoons in presentations are actually cartoon puns (drawings with text) derives from this specific function of cartoons. The important thing you need to remember is to make sure the joke is related to the subject, inoffensive, and understandable to anyone in your audience, especially if there are non-natives among the viewers.


The third role of cartoons in presentations is to make a complex subject easier to understand.


Illustrations go a long way towards simplifying a complicated matter. Moreover, cartoons are very handy to help presenters depict metaphors and analogies. They help you explain a complex process in a comprehensive way.


Myth #4:

Cartoons are only suitable for children’s presentations and easy-going topics.

Weird Myths About Using Cartoons in Presentations: Myth 4 - Cartoons are only suitable for children's presentations and easy-going topics

It’s a popular point of view that cartoons are a type of art reserved for children. This is because they are usually associated with entertainment. While cartoons can be fun and humor is one of the reactions they provoke, they are also used for a variety of other purposes. For example, to help simplify a complex process in a technical presentation or explain a new business strategy in an easy-to-grasp way.

In reality, cartoon presentations are equally effective for both fun and serious topics.

If you believe that cartoon presentation design looks like the page design of a children’s book, then you’ve probably seen quite many bad examples. And quite many good ones. So good and cleverly crafted that you haven’t even realized they fall into the cartoon presentation category.

Cartoons can be quite successfully used when presenting a serious business topic. Especially when the subject matter is tough, complex, and mundane. When used correctly, cartoons help presenters draw the audience’s attention to the important key points and hold it throughout the presentation.

Even in serious and important presentation topics, cartoons can be used to throw a joke for a refreshment. Just make sure it’s not the subject you are making fun of.


Myth #5:

Cartoon presentations look unprofessional and may undermine your credibility.

Weird Myths About Using Cartoons in Presentations: Myth 5 - Cartoon presentations look unprofessional and may undermine your credibility.

Many people claim that using cartoons in your presentation is too risky for your reputation. These same people may advise you to play it safe and stick to a boring, technical presentation with graphs, charts, numbers, and bullet points only.

But let us ask you a few questions. How many times have you seen such presentations? How many of them did you remember? In fact… who remembers a presenter who plays it safe? Using cartoons in your presentation may put your credibility at risk. Skip them and you may put your audience to sleep.

In reality, a well-balanced presentation with cartoons and technical diagrams keeps your audience engaged while maintaining your reputation high.

The secret is in the balance. The wrongful belief that cartoon makes you look silly restricts many presenters from going creative with their presentations. And this is quite a shame considering all the benefits that accrue from using cartoons in presentations.

The idea is to make cartoons work for you. If by using cartoons, you undermine the importance of a serious subject, then yes, you may undermine your credibility as a professional. But you are using cartoons right – to strengthen your message, then your audience will remember the real point of your presentation long after they’ve seen it.


Myth #6:

Using cartoons in presentations is trite and boring.

Weird Myths About Using Cartoons in Presentations: Myth 6 - Using cartoons in presentations is trite and boring.

Do you know what’s even more boring? A presentation with no cartoons.

Indeed, when it comes to using cartoons in presentations, there are many trite approaches and overused cartoon puns that people are sick of seeing. However, nicely picked fresh cartoons cleverly blended into your slides will have the positive effect you are looking for.

In reality, good cartoons which are compliant with the subject and story flow of your presentation can only boost your audience’s engagement.

As a presenter, it is essential to learn the types of cartoons, as well as when and how to use them in your presentation. Good presenters know that visual content (photos and cartoons) combined with narrative and technical data, which nicely goes with the flow of your presentation and creates overall harmony, ultimately increases the impact of your message on the audience.

Besides, can the cartoon themselves really be boring? The message they support may be boring. The joke they depict may be boring. The concept or process they explain may be boring. In other words, if you see your audience starting to yawn, don’t blame it on the cartoons.


Myth #7:

Good cartoons are expensive.

Weird Myths About Using Cartoons in Presentations: Myth 7 - Good cartoons are expensive

Considering that there are literally so many web platforms full of free and low-cost illustrations, as well as tons of rising artists providing affordable illustration services, the statement above doesn’t really hold true. Especially when it comes to non-merchandise and non-commercial use of cartoons which is the case here.

In reality, good cartoons are more affordable than ever because the competition is high.

Here are the options standing before you:

  • Free cartoons

Free cartoons are always a good choice if you are low on a budget. There are many web sources of free cartoons, vectors, and raster, which you can use in your presentations. Free cartoon resources usually have certain limitations about how you can use them. Generally, you should be fine putting them in your presentation since this is considered non-commercial use. However, it is still very important to read the terms of use first since most websites require you to provide attribution.

16 Great Sources for Free Vector Cartoon Characters
Vector and Raster: What’s the difference?

  • Stock cartoons

Buying stock graphic resources gives you a lot more diversity and the opportunity to make your presentation design consistent and professional. For example, you can purchase a big bundle of cartoon elements designed in the same style: vector characters, conceptual scenes, icons, items, silhouettes, backgrounds, etc.

Stock cartoons are usually available with different licenses and their pricing varies according to the license you are purchasing. Make sure to get familiar with the different licenses before you buy. Usually, and unless you aren’t planning to mass sell the presentation design as a template, a non-commercial license should be suitable for you.

  • Custom cartoons

If you need something more specific in order to achieve your presentation goals, let’s say, a cartoon character design that looks like a specific person and is made in specific poses, then you will have to use illustration services. Whether you decide to hire a freelance illustrator or an established illustration studio, make some good research first. Portfolios and recommendations always help a lot. Also, always look for full transparency in the pricing and the process.

Explore: Top 30 Illustration Companies: Studios & Agencies for Visual Solutions


Final words

Good presenters don’t believe weird myths about using cartoons in presentations. Instead, they know how to use cartoons to their advantage.

A well-balanced combination between visuals and technical data works wonders for learning and communication. And cartoons are one powerful tool to achieve this. Pull off your cartoon presentation right and watch it to amaze your audience.

Any thoughts you’d like to share with us?


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Iveta Pavlova

Iveta is a passionate writer at GraphicMama who has been writing for the brand ever since the blog was launched. She keeps her focus on inspiring people and giving insight on topics like graphic design, illustrations, education, business, marketing, and more.

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