Although the means of delivering business presentations and support material has changed in recent years, the basic rules for utilizing color have not. And today, with improved technology for delivering accurate and unlimited color choices, it is even more critical to apply them. Used correctly, color can reduce error of interpretation, identify salient features, trigger associations and highlight trends. Studies show that visual color images help the presenter convince an audience, encourage involvement, peak and maintain interest levels while improving understanding and memory retention.
To assist you, we've assembled some of the basic guidelines to follow when creating successful presentations.
Tips for Applying Color
- Use color purposefully by applying the same colors to recurring elements.
- Organize the flow of information by grouping related information by color.
- Know your audience and choose a scheme that may appeal to their professional and cultural expectations. Pay attention to corporate or national colors, as well as those with sociological connotations.
- As text charts comprise at least 70% of a presentation, the colors you choose will set the tone for the entire presentation. Use them consistently.
- Use only a few lines of text written in phrases instead of sentences. Keep uncluttered and maximize use of "white space."
- Decide on a basic text color, allowing one or two accent colors for emphasis, Maintain contrast with pale text colors on dark backgrounds or dark text on pale backgrounds.
- Restrain yourself to two easily readable fonts one for title and one for body text and maintain a readable font size.
- Take a cue from or match any printed collateral you distribute to reinforce consistency. PANTONE OFFICECOLOR ASSISTANT for Windows or ColorWeb Pro for Mac OS X can help match the colors.
- Avoid a circus effect by overuse of color. Three colors are usually sufficient, five often too many. Use of several vivid, highly saturated colors can be annoying.
- Use color to focus on one concept per image. For example, highlight one phrase in a text chart by changing its color.
- Emphasize key data with bright accents to draw attention to significant data and possibly make bolder as well.
- Prioritize data with color. Add boldness and clarification to your most important data by contrasting light and dark luminances. Conversely, use dull, low saturation colors to play down unfavorable or less important information.
- Use color to show change, differentiate or group data.
The Golden Rule is "Keep it Simple"
Make only one simple statement per graphic. Keep font styles, line weights, patterns, colors and special effects to a minimum.