Consistency is the key design principle of good design.
When your materials are consistent, your audience can focus on what you have to say. Inconsistent materials, by comparison, tend to distract from your message and keep your customers or employees from absorbing what you’re trying to say.
How can you be sure you’re being consistent in a presentation?
Here are a few ways you can make your presentations not only uniform but are posed to make the most impact:
1. Use one graphical style.
When you choose images for your presentation you can foster stability by using one graphical style. If your shapes are in modern flat filling, use that over all slides. If you go for hand-drawn graphics, use those elements as decoration on more places.
Avoid mixing various styles. For example, use one graphical line of icons – outlines, scribble or flat filling:
The same goes for shapes effects and images. Using combinations of 2-D and 3-D illustrations can confuse your audience or obscure your message in addition to making your presentation displeasing to the eyes.
2. Use the same set of colors.
When you choose a good template for your presentation, it will feature some or all of your brand colors. It should contain a set of complementary colors that create a harmony together but are also functional. Badly set PowerPoint templates usually have only a set of one-color shades – and that’s not very handy. Usually, you need to have one more eye-catchy color (to highlight a warning information, express positive or negative values).
Generally, you should the limited set of colors. Colors that will keep your lecture pleasing to the eye, easy to read, and easy to follow.
Whatever color set you will finally use, remember to ensure high contrast of text and background. The safest is the black and white color combination but it’s also the most obvious one. You can create functional color combinations also using other colors.
For non-designers I suggest to learn some color theory – check the rules used for the Newton Color Wheel, for example.
3. Use the same one or two fonts throughout.
If you use a variety of fonts in your presentation you can make the information difficult to follow. If there are many types of fonts featured on posters or eBook covers, they look busy, disorganized, and cluttered. The way to make your content speak volumes is to use the same 1-2 fonts throughout the project so your text will flow logically and achieve the best results.
5-minute slide check for design consistency
Checking for those three consistency areas is not timely. I suggest that next time you do a presentation, spend 5 minutes to do a final check of fonts, colors and style.
What else have you tried to keep your lectures consistent? If you’re not certain if you’re making solid PowerPoints go along with your talks, I’d love to review it or help you review them (reach me using Contact page).
For more ideas about how you can create better or more effective presentations, check out these posts: