Picking a color palette for your presentation is an important step in slide design. Colors can help evoke emotions in your audience, and heighten your message’s impact, too.
It’s important to use a consistent color scheme throughout the presentation. The trick is deciding on what that scheme should be! Presenters who don’t have a background in design may find this challenging. Fortunately, there are a number of excellent and easily accessible tools to guide your choices.
Adobe’s Color Wheel
Adobe’s color wheel is a web-based tool that lets you choose a pre-set palette, based on any of the six standard color rules. The details of these rules are rather involved and technical, but fortunately the color wheel lets you follow them even if you don’t know them! Simply choose a rule you want to follow (they’re shown on the wheel), then drag the color selector in the color wheel until you’ve found the theme that looks like your best fit.
Color Scheme Libraries
There are a number of websites that offer huge collections of color combinations. Browse through their libraries and pick one that fits your presentation topic. Start your exploration with these links:
Website-Based Color Scheme
If you want to pick colors based on your own (or any) website, WebColourData is the right tool for you. Simply enter a website’s URL in the WebColourData tool, and you’ll be presented with a breakdown of the site’s colors, along with their color codes.
Photo-Based Color Palette
It’s possible to create a color theme based on a photo you’ve found online, or stored in your computer. Check these resources:
- DeGraeve – Generates a palette based on the photo URL you enter in their text box.
- PaletteGenerator – Generates a color palette based on the predominant colors in any image you upload.
- Design Seeds – Collects image-based pallettes based on images selected by the curator.
If you happen to be using Shutterstock.com to find photos, vector images or illustrations for your deck, you can use either of the following tools:
- Shutterstock Palette – Generates images based on the colors you picked.
- Shutterstock Spectrum – Generates images based on your placement of the tool’s slider, in the color spectrum.
Once you’ve settled on a color theme, how will you use it? Well, there are many schools of thought about proper color use, but one frequently-used and helpful guideline is called the 60-30-10 Rule. For presentations, the rule suggests that you select three colors from your preferred palette for each slide.
- The primary color, which should be made 60% dominant in the slide, is your background color.
- The secondary color, which should comprise about 30% of your slide, can be used to create visual interest and contrast.
- Finally, the accent color, which should occupy about 10% of your slide space, can be used for buttons, icons or other elements you want to emphasize.
Share Your Experience
Among the tools we’ve listed in this blog post, which ones have you used? We’d love to hear about your experiences, best practices and any tips you’re willing to share, down in the comments section.