Thursday, June 08, 2006

Why are colors such a tough issue for many PowerPoint presenters?

It amazes me the color choices I see presenters make for their slides. Let me give you a couple of recent examples. The first is a presenter who chose a blue background for their slides. Not a bad choice at all, in fact it is one of the colors that works well and is quite popular. Where this presenter made the mistake is in selecting a text emphasis color. The regular text was in white (good choice), but the most important text, the words he wanted the audience to pay most attention to were in red (aaaaahhhhhh!). When projected, I doubt even half the audience could see, let alone read, the text in red, which left them with the only readable text being the less important words out of context. The second example was a presenter who used solid black as the background, but made poor color choices elsewhere. The first mistake was in using a graphic in the top left corner that had bright blue, red and yellow squares in it. Even with white text, your eyes were only drawn to this bright splash of color and away from anything else on the slide. The second mistake was the choice of text color on the diagrams - the presenter chose medium grey. Almost impossible to see when projected. When selecting colors, make sure that people will be able to distinguish between them. Select colors that have enough contrast so that the text stands on top of the background.


Blogger Paul G. said...

One reason I think colors are an issue is because presenters forget (or don't realize) that what you see on your state of the art monitor or laptop screen is rarely what you will see projected. The difference in contrast ratios between a good monitor and a projector is significant. Consequently, something that stands out very clearly on your monitor may be barely legible when projected.

Additionally, when working on your presentation, you're sitting roughly 18" from your screen. Remember to "test" your slides by scooting back a couple of feet to get a more accurate sense of how they will look to someone sitting 10-15 feet away viewing them on a projection screen.

9:14 AM  

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