Power Point 7 Design Principles


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Seven basic design principles for designing better PowerPoint Presentations.

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Power Point 7 Design Principles

  1. 1. 7 Ideas for Designing a PowerPoint Presentation PowerPoint is a powerful tool that can enhance any presentation, but it can easily become a distraction if not de- signed well. The first and most basic principle of designing a strong presentation is “Keep it Simple”. It is also important to remember that just because it’s there doesn’t mean you have to use it. PowerPoint offers a lot of additional “fun” effects, but they aren’t always good design choices. 1. Your content should be simple and concise. You don’t want your audience to read your presentation word for word. So use PowerPoint to emphasize the main points of your presentation and display supplementary graphics and visuals. 2. Choose an appropriate color scheme and/ or template design. Let your content “reign”, don’t choose a flashy template, graphics or animation that will smother your message. The background or template is where you’ll layout your text and im- ages, choose a simple background and if you use a generic template use one that is relative to your content and fits your audience. For example, if you are presenting to the National Association of Law Students don’t choose the crayons template, choose a profes- sional looking template. When you choose a template or color scheme consider the environment that the presentation will be presented in. If you are giving a presentation in a bright room then dark text on a light background works well. If you are projecting the pre- sentation on a screen in a large room with dim lights choose a dark background and light text. With the exception of photos and graphics limit your color scheme to 3-4 colors. A standard approach would be a solid background color, a text color for the title and a text color for the bullet points. Possibly a secondary color for the sub-points. 3. Keep the slide layout simple and allow plenty of space. When laying out your slides think about heirarchy and what’s most import, emphasize the most important elements with bold, underline and/ or larger text. Don’t crowd the slide, space is good!! When using bullet points, don’t center the bullets, it makes them hard to read. Limit the lines of text to about 6 - 8 lines per slide with a minimum of about 20pt type. Always keep about a 1/4 to a 1/2 inch border of empty or “safe” space around the edge of your slide. Different projectors and media present images differently, you don’t want to have some of your text cut off. 4. Choose the right Font, Font, Font for your presentation. It is most important to be consistent. Don’t use more than one or two fonts in a presenta- tion. Your variety and emphasis comes in choosing bold, normal, italics and underline. You can choose either a Sans-serif or a Serif font. A Sans-serif font is a basic font that is unified in size and does not have “feet” or decorations, like Arial, Gill Sans and Verdana. A Serif font is more decorative, the width or size of the stroke of the letter may vary and it has “feet” or “hooks” on the corners, like Times New Roman and Garamond. Sans-serif font is easiest to read when there is a lot of text. Consider using a Sans-serif, for the whole presentation or try a serif font for all of the titles and a sans-serif font for all of the text or bullet points. Instructional Innovation & Faculty Development Teaching & Learning Centers East Peoria Campus - 240A, Peoria Campus - 204, Thomas K. Thomas Bldg. 1
  2. 2. 7 Ideas for Designing a PowerPoint Presentation 5. Type size and other attributes have a great impact on legibility. The text size is dependant on your presenation mode, if you are posting the presentation on the web your text can be slightly smaller. In general don’t make your type any smaller than 22pt. I’ve found that 36 - 44pt headers/ titles and 24 - 36pt bullet points/ text are a decent and legible size for presenting on a large screen. Choose Colors that work well with your background color. In general never use more than 3 colors of text per slide. A good approach is to choose one color for your headers/ title and another color for your bullet points/ text and possibly a third color for secondary points. 6. Graphics and Photos can make or break your presentation. Use graphics or photos that directly relate to your presentation. Limit the amount of graphics or photos in your presentation so that they are not a distraction. Do not use more than one or two images on a slide. Be careful of clip art; choose clip art that serves a purpose in your presentation and that fits your audience. Consider the style of clip art and how it works with your presentation style. Lots of clip art in various styles may be a distraction. Keep your clipart and photos in proportion. If you scale the image, make sure you click the picture then hold down the shift key while dragging the image to the size you want. Remember also that the more photos and clip art you use in a presentation the larger your file size will be. Compress your images to help with file size, but be sure to check the images on the large screen to make sure you haven’t lost the quality of the image. Try to avoid running text over a graphic or image. This is usally hard to read and creates a distraction. 7. Animation can enhance a presentation if used in moderation. PowerPoint gives you a couple of animation options; you can apply a transition or anima- tion to all slides and/ or you can add custom animation to any object in the presentation. Be consistent throughout your presentation. Pick one transition to apply to all slides or don’t use a transition. If you choose to use custom animation, pick a simple animation scheme and be consistent. For example, if you decide that all images will fade in on mouse click then use that throughout the whole presentation. Random animation can make your presentation look unprofessional and distract your audience. In addition you can insert animated images onto a slide. Animated clip art and images are often a distraction and draw attention away from the main points of your prentation. Only use animation if it serves a direct purpose in your presentation, such as, teaching or explaining a concept. These seven ideas can guide you towards designing a professional presentation. There are exceptions to the do’s and don’ts suggested here, but if you begin with these basic guidelines you’ll master the ability to determine when it’s apropriate to go against them. Instructional Innovation & Faculty Development Teaching & Learning Centers East Peoria Campus - 240A, Peoria Campus - 204, Thomas K. Thomas Bldg. 2