Designers have an excellent sense of color, but even they try out variations to see which looks best. Those of us who are not designers absolutely need to create variations of colors before making a final decision.
Color has a major impact on the effect of a presentation, but on a subtle level. By changing a presentation’s colors, you can make it more upbeat or more low key.
Colors are well known for their emotional effects, although different people react differently to the same color, and different cultures apply different implications to colors. So rather than go by a set list of effects, you can try out variations and see what you like most. You can also ask others how they feel about the variations. Finally, you may be able to get some feedback from your audience about the colors. Of course, this is not always possible.
Here are 3 slides that are identical except for the color of the text at the bottom of the slide.
How do these slides differ in their effect? Your feeling might differ, but my impression is the following:
- The blue seems conservative and calm
- The red seems instense, perhaps exciting
- The green seems smooth and enabling, perhaps evocative of money
No color is necessarily right or wrong, but one color might be more appropriate than another.
Here are 3 more colors:
Again, you might feel differently, but here are my observations:
- The yellow is lively and synchronizes with the word “golden” in the slide’s (and company’s) title. It would be more legible in bold and a bigger size.
- The white looks fresh and clean
- The brown looks muddy and is somewhat hard to read — not enough contrast with the background
In some cases, especially depending on the background, several colors may work well. In other situations, few colors will work well, and you’ll have to try many variations, including many shades of one color (should the red be bluish or orangey?), before you’ll find the right one.
Once you decide on the appropriate colors, you should create a color scheme (called theme colors in PowerPoint 2007 and 2010). You need to come up with title text color, body text color, major fill color, and supplemental fill colors. Follow these steps:
- Click Edit Color Schemes at the bottom of the Slide Design task pane. The Edit Color Scheme dialog box shows the colors of the current color scheme. (in 2007/2010, choose Design tab> Themes group> Colors> Create New Theme Colors.)
- To change a color, choose it and click Change Color. (In 2007/2010, choose a color, and choose from the current theme colors, or click More Colors.)
- Choose the Standard tab to choose a color, or the Custom tab to enter RGB (red-green-blue) specifications. Click OK.
- Click Apply to return to your presentation.
Creating a custom color scheme (theme colors) is an excellent first step when you create a new presentation from scratch.
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