True colors

One of the important rules of corporate branding is always to stay loyal to your company’s visual identify. Of course – and probably on top of the list – you should keep the color palette you use consistent. I wrote a blog post about the importance of colors almost 8 years ago.

I’m currently at a public event (yesss! my first physical one after 18 months of online webinars and virtual conferences.) And one of the exhibitors is serving macarons at their booth. Mmm, yummy. My favorite trade show giveaways, only preceded by those unbeatable jelly beans and gummi bears… And, yes, the company also knows how to market its brand.

Can you guess which global telecoms player is serving the delicacies shown on the photo above?

De gustibus et coloribus

De gustibus et coloribus non est disputandum” is a Latin expression that translates as “it’s no use debating taste and colors.” A good presentation is like a tasty dish and it requires the right skills —as well as a cook with ample personality and passion— to prepare. I  know that not everybody is a three-star chef, but this doesn’t mean that you have to serve mediocre junk food to your audience. Anyone can acquire, adopt and apply some basic kitchen techniques. Read my words. Taste and colors DO matter. And so do the look and feel of your presentations.

Check out the visual below. Doesn’t it look a bit tedious, ugly and tasteless?

cheese_cake_bad

  • Fonts: do you really want to mix that many typefaces on one single slide?
  • Colors: are you sure that people in the back of the room can read the pink emphasized words?
  • Bullets: will you be able to present the slide without reading out the entire text?
  • Background: this looks like a stock PowerPoint template. Boring, isn’t it?
  • Images: are these the best or most original pictures you could get?
  • Multimedia: not visible on the static image above, but imagine the clip art animated and the bullets flying in from left and right… (ugh!)

So, you’d better fetch your pots and pans, light your oven, and sharpen your kitchen knives! Because, in my next 6  posts, I am going to dig into the art of creating compelling visuals and give you some easy-to-follow do’s and don’ts for making your slides look more professional and yummy

cheese_cake_good

For an entertaining hands-on on how not to use PowerPoint, watch this video of stand-up comedian Don McMillan:

Other articles about this topic that are worth reading:

Don’t feed the chameleons

Sometimes (I am sure that my colleagues at work would even say often) crafting a business presentation is considered a last-minute job. And when there’s little time left for being creative yourself, it’s tempting to rely upon material that others have created before you. Nothing as easy as making a slide deck by cutting and pasting slides from existing PowerPoints into yours.

Should it be a surprise that 99% of these cut‘n’paste slideshows look like chameleons, that change colors, fonts and layout with every slide transition?

chameleon

Read my words: look and feel do matter! If you want your audience to perceive you as a professional, then never compromise on the layout of your visuals.

  • Real estate: Don’t overdo. Beware of creating slideuments. Apply the same template to all slides. Use plenty of white space. Limit the amount of bulleted slides as well as bullets per page.
  • Colors should contrast with the background. Don’t put together too many colors on one screen. Avoid using red text on a white or black background. Use tools such as Shyam Pillai’s add-in to select and customize your PowerPoint color schemes.
  • Fonts must be readable from the back of the room. Be consistent in style throughout the whole deck. Don’t mix too many typefaces. Avoid script fonts. Bold and italic are good to emphasize text, underline isn’t.
  • Images are there to complement or emphasize your message. Don’t insert standard clip art that adds no extra value (we all know the man climbing a bar chart, don’t we?) Avoid mixing line art and photos.
  • Vocabulary: Consequently use the same terminology everywhere. Beware of acronyms and abbreviations. Don’t use jargon or slang.

So next time you need to build a business presentation, start well in advance and take your time to tune each slide. Don’t take existing material for granted. Be creative. Be consistent. Be professional.

And if you have some time left, take a look at the blog posts below: