Garr Reynolds wrote a beautiful post on what Zen arts can teach us about minimal use of color. Let's take things down to the very practical level: how to use these concepts when sitting behind your slideware edit screen.
  • Make sure your template has a decent color scheme that works well with your corporate colors. See one of my earlier post how to set one up.
  • Design your charts in black and white. Really, switch off the colors, and give it your best shot using only shades of grey. This is especially useful when working on busy data charts or complex IT architecture diagrams.
  • Now start adding additional background colors from the template to group items together that belong to each other. A cluster of servers, all pieces of a pie chart that relate to manufacturing businesses, etc. Within each background color, again use shadings as if you were working in black and white. A very light orange database server, with a slightly darker orange data pipe coming in, and label it "data base server" with an almost brown orange font.
  • Finally add very bright accent colors to highlight aspects of the chart. The server with breached security that is letting all kind of viruses into the network definitely deserves a dash of red.
The key lesson: the color goes in last (if at all).

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