Semitransparent fields to create design effects
A very fast and simple way to add interest to a bulleted slide is to configure a few rectangles and apply just a little formatting. The example below has a vertically oriented rectangle on the left (no transparency). Partially overlaid onto this rectangle are four horizontally oriented rectangles with two gradient colors. Apply a vertical gradient direction and then apply colors and transparencies. The gradient color that is visible is a lighter hue of the left-hand rectangle at 70% transparency. The second gradient color is white and 100% transparent.
This is a quick way to add interest to a page, especially if you use the snap-to-grid feature. The top and bottom subordinate fields can be "snapped" into place on the left-hand rectangle. Then use the vertical distribution tool to make sure that all the horizontally oriented rectangles are vertically distributed.
You can also use this type of layout with lots of other right-hand shapes, not just rectangles. Experiment and see what you like and then use it consistently in your presentation. Let it show up a few times as a mini-theme within the overall theme of your presentation.
The above idea is used in ba012, although we cut a portion of the horizontal fields so they didn't intrude on the interior of the circle (which cannot be done easily within PowerPoint). You don't have to cut the horizontal rectangles, though, for this type of layout to be effective.
It's simple. Do this and you can say, "Yes, it is pretty. I designed it myself, you know."