PowerPoint is a powerful presentation software program that allows users to be creative during the design process. How well a presentation is designed plays a large part in how well the presentation is received by the audience. Poor design and color selection can result in poor audience acceptance. A key part of the design process is understanding the impact of colors and how they influence feelings and attitudes. Linked with a well-thought-out presentation, color selection plays a vital role in getting your message across to the audience.
The audience and their expectations should be your primary consideration when determining color selections. Depending on the type of presentation, find the right balance between a colorful, attractive design and a professional one. Colors should capture and hold the audience’s attention throughout the presentation. Test the colors you choose with your projector well in advance of your presentation in the environment where it will be shown. Do not rely on how the colors look on your computer screen. Some colors may not project well, especially if there is ambient lighting in the room. It is better to find this out in advance in a practice session.
Stay with solid color text instead of gradients. Solid colors are easier to read and help the text stand out from the background. Keep a high contract between the background and text. If the text is a dark color, choose a light color or white background. Conversely, if the background is a dark color or black, select a light color or white for the text. Contrast adds add a level of professionalism to your slides and presentation. Keep away from red as a text color. It is a tough color for many people to see clearly and it has a tendency to appear washed out on screens that have ambient lighting directly hitting the screen.
Deciding on individual colors, gradients of colors and combinations of colors can be frustrating. A simple way to approach this issue is to divide your most recognizable colors into two groups: warm and cool. In the warm group are reds, oranges, yellows and browns. In the cool group are blues, greens, purples and gray. When combining colors, stay within one group and don't mix the colors in the two groups. The predefined color schemes in your software program display many of the same color group combinations. White, black and beige are neutral colors that work well with both color groups.
Older audiences who view your presentation may have difficulty seeing the contrasts in color if the colors are not distinct. Selecting the wrong color combinations or contrasts may also cause unnecessary eyestrain for any age audience. Review your presentation to see where the colors are used and whether changing them might make more sense. Some people are colorblind and have difficulty seeing red and green so keep this in mind, too. Test reactions to your slides and do not be afraid to change colors based on the feedback of others.
- Microsoft Office Online: Basic Tasks for Creating a PowerPoint Presentation
- Microsoft Office Online: Combining Colors in PowerPoint
- Microsoft Office Online: Creating Accessible PowerPoint Presentations
- Microsoft Office Online: Choose the RIght Colors for Your PowerPoint Presentation
- Think Outside the Slide: Choosing Colors for Your Presentation Slides
- Photo Credit Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images
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