Obviously, any PowerPoint presentation should contain compelling content delivered in a logical order. But what about design?
A PowerPoint theme is a package of background colors, accent colors, header and text fonts, and other design elements that work together to create a visual impression. Each theme also offers a particular layout of slide elements—the placement of headers, images, and text boxes. With all of the PowerPoint 2010 themes available, how can you tell which one will provide the best visual framework for your presentation?
First of all, be aware that you can make small changes to PowerPoint presentation themes in order to make them more appropriate to your content. Check out this Microsoft help page for instructions on changing elements of PowerPoint 2010 themes.
Second, you can use three principles of design to help you quickly decide which themes are best for your presentation. These design principles will also help you if you want to start with a blank template and design your own theme.
Color: Why It Matters
Color is a vital component of effective PowerPoint design, and here’s why:
▪ For corporate presentations, you’ll want the colors of your presentation to align with your company’s branding and logo. Color is a subtle way to reinforce branding without needing to include a corporate watermark on every slide, which can ruin the overall design impact.
▪ Color has an emotional impact on your audience. How do you want them to feel? In general, cool colors such as blue or green are calming, while warm colors such as red or orange can induce excitement or tension.
▪ Color plays an important part in the perceived trustworthiness of your presentation. When you limit your presentation to 3 or 4 colors that work well together, it lends a sense of unity and consistency that supports your message.
Composition: Placing Elements Effectively
Give some thought to the placement of individual elements on the master slide. Remember that we read from top to bottom and from right to left; in addition, our eye is typically drawn first to a large image, then to text. You can also increase the size of text to improve your audience’s focus on the information. It’s better to have less text in a larger size. That way, you’ll end up with a larger number of slides that move quickly—which is ideal for keeping your audience engaged.
Contrast: The Key to Legibility and Clarity
Above all, an effective PowerPoint presentation must be easy to see and understand. The contrast between the background color and the font color is an essential component to consider. Whether you decide to go with a light background and dark font, or a black background and light-colored font, what matters most is that the font and background starkly contrast each other for easy reading.
Hopefully, this overview of the principles of design for PowerPoint 2010 themes will help you deliver key information in the most visually effective way possible. You may also want to take a look at this YouTube tutorial with tips on using 2010 PowerPoint presentation themes.