hcg
09
Mar

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by Dave Paradi

Have you ever been at a presentation where you could hardly make out what was on the screen because the presenter used colors that made it hard to tell what was text and what was background? Have you ever done this in one of your presentations?

The choice of colors for presentation slides is one of the important decisions that must be made at the start of the process of developing your slides. Some organizations today dictate a template with corporate colors that must be used for all presentations outside the organization as part of a branding initiative. In that case, you have no choice in the colors. But many internal presentations and in many other organizations you can choose your slide colors. So how do you choose? Here are some ideas to keep in mind when choosing colors for your next set of presentation slides.

Contrast
Webster’s defines contrast as “To set in opposition, or over against, in order to show the differences between”. One of the most common mistakes in selecting colors for presentation slides is to not have enough contrast between the colors chosen for the background and the text or graphics. If you want the audience to see the text or graphics on the screen, they must be in a color that has a high contrast with the background color. This makes the text or graphic appear to float above the background instead of blending into it. In general, this will lead to selecting one of two color schemes – a dark background with light text and graphics or a light background with dark text and graphics. The further apart the colors are the more contrast they will have and the easier it will be for audiences to see the text or graphic you are using.  To ensure that the colors you have selected have enough contrast, use the online Color Contrast Calculator to test the colors using the two international standard tests for color contrast.

Emotional Meaning of Colors
Studies have shown that different colors evoke different general feelings in many people. This can be important when selecting colors for your presentation slides since you will want to avoid colors that will negatively impact the message you are delivering. Here are some common interpretations for colors.
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