Wednesday, October 25, 2006

What presenters can learn from election signs

It is getting close to election time in many areas and the lawns and streets are rapidly becoming decorated with signs for candidates for various offices. One thing presenters should notice when they are driving by these signs is which ones are easiest to read. Why should you care about the readability of election signs? Because it is a great learning lesson for what is readable for a text slide. In both cases, the message needs to be understood quickly so it can be acted upon. Look at what is most effective on election signs and you will see what is effective on text slides - text and background colors with high contrast, simple backgrounds and sans-serif fonts in big point sizes. All good lessons to keep in mind when designing our slides. Two election signs that I saw recently that didn't follow these rules: 1) a sign that had two background colors and two different text colors that clashed and 2) a sign that had a squiggle of red in the background with black text on it making some of the letters unreadable. Watch the election signs on your next drive around the neighborhood and see what you observe.


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