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Colour

You can't argue about taste...

You can't argue about taste...

You can't argue about taste. One of the very first philosophical realisations I had as a child is that there is no way to figure out whether 2 humans perceive color in the same way.

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Some thoughts about colour

Some thoughts about colour

If you use colours correctly, there is actually no need to put your corporate logo very prominently on each page to remind the audience what company they are listening to. Colours will give the page the recognisable look & feel instantly.

Make sure you use the correct colours instead of PowerPoint's default colour scheme. Your marketing department should have the brand guidelines with RGB codes, and if not, you can "steal" them from a logo image using a colour picker. Try saving them as a template in PowerPoint so you don't have to go through this exercise for every presentation you start.

You actually do not need many colours for a page to look great. (My presentation design app SlideMagic only allows you to use one). It is important to think about the relative importance of colours. Which colours can you use often, or for large surfaces, and which ones are meant as accent colour only. 

Throughout the presentation, try to use the same colour for the same concept. Everything to do with competitor A is always green. The results for the drug are blue, the control group is orange.

Colour can be a powerful tool to group things together on a slide. Especially if objects are far away from each other, using colour is a much better tool than trying to draw connecting lines.

Watch out with the colour red in financial results. Even a huge profit will look like a massive loss when set in bright red.

A light colour is a much better way to give a box contrast than drawing a dark line around it. I hardly ever use lines around shapes.

If you have dark colours at your disposal, try using them to colour text, especially in diagrams, it will look nice.

Test colours not just on your own screen. Printers and poor quality VGA projectors can wash out subtle colour shadings, making a whole page look unbalanced. Sometimes you might have to design your page specifically for the VGA projector, making them look bad on your usual monitor.


Image from WikiPedia

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Colour schemes that work in PowerPoint

Colour schemes that work in PowerPoint

I am still breaking my head on this, but some colour schemes look great when you see them presented in a brand guideline, but look dull/boring in PowerPoint. More and more I think that this is because what PowerPoint is: basic slide compositions and boring/neutral Arial/Calibri fonts (especially to keep things readable on mobile devices).

  • Colours that come out poorly: earthy tones: brown, olive, curry, faded red, faded blue
  • Colours that come out great: bright and fresh purple/red, pink/blue, mint green, used as accent colours in compositions that are dominated by grey shades and big black contrasting typography.

One of the nice things about design is that you cannot always explain/rationalise why something "just is not right".


Art: Peter Paul Rubens, Rainbow Landscape, 1636

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