Episode 5: How To Make a Presentation Part 2- Choose the Best Color For Your Slides (part 2/3)

Hi this is Payman, and I’m here to teach you how to make a presentation even if you have no prior experience in design. In my last episode, I have walked you through the 6 things you need to do before you start creating a presentation. Today I will dive into the design of presentation slides, and share my top tips with you on how to choose the right color.

We will review the basics of color theory while helps us developing a theme. We will considering the emotional and psychological aspect of different colors, and learn how to combine them. By the end of the video, you will have the know-hows to choose the ideal color scheme that effectively communicates the message you want to convey.

Be sure to subscribe to our video series, we will more expert tips coming soon on how to make a presentation. Stay tuned!

Length: 8:18 Level: Beginner

Video Transcript

Hey guys, Payman here. Part 2 of the 3 part series of How to Create Compelling Presentations. In the last episode, I talked about what you need to do before you create your presentations. That was referring to brainstorming, defining your audience, the medium and also how to create an outline. In this episode, we’re going to talk about how to choose the right color for your presentation. And to understand colors and also how to apply them to your presentations. And we’ll talk talk very briefly about how to develop your theme. Okay? So let’s get started.

1. Color theory basis

When I talk about colors, I’ll very briefly talk about the color wheel. Because that’s going to allow me to show you the basics of color. Now, when I form the color wheel, we have red and we have blue and we have yellow. And by combining equal parts of these, you’re able to form your secondary colors. These are your primary colors because all colors need to be combined in order to create additional colors. So these are necessary colors that you need.

Your secondary colors, what you do is you take equal parts, you combine them and you end up with your secondary colors. Such as your red and your blue and then you end up with violet. And then we have a little bit of a gap left. And to fill that gap, we want to combine a primary and a secondary color. So we take the red and we take the violet and we combine it together, we’ll end up with a red-violet and so forth. So that’s actually filling up our color wheel.

2. Develop your theme

Now, in terms of colors, I’ll go a little bit deeper into that but first I’m going to talk to you a little bit about developing your theme. Because themes are very important, an integral part of where colors come into play. So what you don’t end up with is the type of presentation I wanna show you in a second, that is commonly used as your typical powerpoint template where people just combine different colors and text together and then end up with something like this.

What you really want to do is to create presentations from my color, my theme aspect and even the content that actually emotionally connect with your audience. Something such as this. So it’s subtle, it’s warm and it’s clean and that’s where we going to talk about in the next episode how to create slides such as this one.

Now, let’s go back a little bit to the colors. How to choose a right color scheme. Now, colors trigger different emotions. And so selection of the colors actually is something that you want to give a little bit of thought of. Who is your target audience? What is the purpose of their presentation? And so forth. So let’s do just a very quick experiment here.

These are a bunch of different color buckets. And so we have the beige. The beige color exudes a calming effect and it’s pretty much very often used in modern technology designs. Now, additionally the blues. So we have a couple different types of blues. You look at the light blue, that’s kind of like Twitter, your social network. And then we have the darker one, your Facebook, is very common on social media. Additionally, blue basically exudes a kind of a loyalty and a calming effect. Now additionally, we’re talking about orange, Orange actually is seen as an energetic, playful and exudes an emotional response from a high energy perspective. This slide here is using a couple of different colors and so you have your orange, you have the blue in the background and then the slide here also has a nice balance of the colors. These are the type of things you want to do.
3. How to combine colors

Now, how to combine colors, let’s talk about that. There are 3 different ways that you can do that. And I’ll go from the easiest to the medium and the little bit more difficult. What I recommend for the beginners is to stick with monochrome color schemes and perhaps the second option I’ll show you. So, with the monochrome, what you have is one color and you add a little bit of black, a little bit of white, you end up with a range of colors. In this case, we have 5 different colors of the same. So there are different hues of the blue. And by doing that, it’s very difficult to make mistakes because the colors just kind of they’re warm and subtle when it actually go with each other.

So if you look at this example here, we’re using the same colors and we even have enough contrast.

We had a darker blue and we have a lighter blue and so we end up with a text on a very light blue or even white and going over darker. So you have nice contrast and also you have a subtle and warm feeling of the color perspective. The other one you can do is complimentary colors. The complimentary colors goes back to the color wheel. With the color wheel, you basically can draw a line and basically, select opposite colors.

So by selecting opposite colors, they actually compliment each other. And so going with, in this case, the violet and also the yellow, you end up with a slide such as this. So the violet is serving as the background, as the main color and their secondary color here is the yellow. So it gives you a nice design.

The other option which I don’t really recommend if you’re a beginner and immediate is to use triad or tetradic colors. So, with the triad colors, what you’re doing is you’re forming a triangle. 3 different points and you can actually rotate that, that allows you to select from 3 different complimentary colors.

With the tetradic, it’s the same thing. it’s 1, 2, 3, 4, and actually rotate around and that allows you to select 4 different colors. But again, I really recommend you stick the first 2 options unless you’re more advanced, so have a better understanding of the color schemes. So here’s an example of what we have. The blue, the yellow and the red. They were typical thing that don’t go together but it’s actually using the complimentary color as a triad principle.

4. How to choose the ideal color scheme

Now, let’s talk a little bit about how to choose the ideal color scheme. It kind of goes back to contrast. One of the recommendations that I make. And I did this on the first episode on the Make Information Beautiful Series about contrast. Contrast is very important and many non-designers avoid that. And what you want to do in this case is we have an orange which is serving as an accent color and has a high contrast over the grays. So that kind of works nicely. Additionally, another design principle is, keep it simple. Simplicity is key in terms of colors, keep it simple, choose only 2, 3, maybe 4 colors maximum. Again the monochrome was only one color but different tints of it, we try to stick to only a few colors overall. And additionally, you wanna to use the 60-30-10 rule.

So with the 60-30-10 rule, what you do is you take 60% of the area of your design, so let’s say your slide where your image and so on, where you can put a tint over it and you apply 60% of your color approximately to that. That would be your primary color. And 30% to the secondary and the 10% would be your accent color. [00:06:43] you have a nice balance on the design you’re going to create. So there you have it.

As far as the colors, let’s talk about content very briefly. Now, one of the biggest mistakes we’re going to talk about in the prior episodes was about having too much content in your slides. It’s very common and I see it all the time. So in this slide, there are 8 different points and they’ve been just compacted into 1 slide. There’s very little empty space, very little white space and what that does is it prevents the user from understanding what’s being communicated to them. There’s no limit of how many slides you should have in a presentation and totally it has to be 10 slides or 5 slides. So there’s nothing wrong with breaking content into snackable, easy to digest pieces. So for example, that same slide of 8 points has been divided into this and to this one. So 2 slides four each.

And we’re using basically the endpoints of using visual cues with short text and forming the design here. You could’ve even gone and actually add additional slides, it doesn’t have to be a 2-slide presentation, it could have been 4 to 6 slides. Each point could have its own slide and essence.

So there you have it. This is the episode 2: How to Choose the Right Color For Your Presentation. And I hope that you put into use the color principles. It’s very important and I highly recommend it before you actually create the content and put the design. You decide on the color selection that you’re going to have. In the next episode, we’ll be talking about how to put all the different items that we’ve learned the last couple episodes together to create a compelling presentation. I’m going to actually show an example of that. Thank you, guys.

Here’s the slide deck used in the video lesson





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