AMY NEWMAN: We are back again with Greg Bodenlos to talk about module three, creating an attractive appropriate design your PowerPoint. And we'll cover these topics-- customizing templates, choosing attractive colors, using minimal backgrounds, and choosing simple clear fonts. So first, Greg, you chose some bad PowerPoint. Why don't we take a look at those.
GREG BODENLOS: There are a couple of interesting slides. This first one here-- let's pull this up-- and right off the bat, you see it's a little bit of a distracting font. There's a lot going on. [DRUMROLL] And then we have this interesting picture here. And we have our sound effects and another picture and more animation, [MAGIC SOUND] and another sound effect.
So we have a lot going on here. And there's just a lack of consistency, what I'm seeing. With the very kid-like font, it looks like maybe it was designed by a five-year-old. And then we have the other font on the bottom, which is easily read, but there's a lot of text going on here as well. So I just-- I'm very distracted by this slide. And there's not much consistency.
AMY NEWMAN: It raises some good points about PowerPoint sign, especially around fonts. One is that we should stick with one font primarily for out PowerPoint slides, maybe add a second one, but certainly not this type of font, which is very difficult to read. There's also some research that tells us sans-serif fonts without the little legs, for example, an Arial font, is easy to see on a PowerPoint side.
And that contrasts with serif fonts, like Times New Roman, which could be easier read in print. And yeah, not appropriate. And I like the point here that you would not use graphics like this for an executive budget meeting.
GREG BODENLOS: With so many fonts available at your disposal, it's tough to just stick with one. But it's best to be simple with this type of slide, especially at a business meeting.
AMY NEWMAN: Agreed. What else?
GREG BODENLOS: Well, unlike the previous slide, this slide just has lots of different problems going on. Even though there's not all the bells and whistles and not kiddie kind of theme, there's still lots of issues, especially with the contrast here. You can't even read the font that's on page, because of the template that was chosen.
AMY NEWMAN: Exactly. You really want to have maximum contrast, so a light background with dark text or dark background with light text, depending on the room, actually. The lighting in the room will dictate which is better, but you need to be able to read it.
GREG BODENLOS: And especially here, I mean, from looking at the-- there's just too much text on the page, particularly with the title, is actually not too big. And you can't really read it with just its size. And then the text underneath it is also very small. And again, this slide is just unreadable.
AMY NEWMAN: True. As a general guideline, we look for six words maximum across six words down. Sometimes, you'll hear seven across, seven down. This is far too many for us to really read.
GREG BODENLOS: I think we have 14 on this page. It's a little too much.
AMY NEWMAN: And for all backgrounds, they should be almost entirely solid. Sometimes, you can get away with a gradient. And certainly, if I were to use a company logo, I might put that in the background, but small and in a corner.
We typically don't want to put text over photographs or clip art, because it's hard to read. Let's look at some good examples. These are too ugly for us.
This one, I chose. And I know this is a matter of taste. But I really like this design. I think it's beautifully colored, although there aren't too many colors going on, because that can, of course, be a problem as well. And it has, of course, a design feel-- it's a design presentation-- but very appropriate and very attractive.
GREG BODENLOS: Well, even though there's a good amount of images going on here, the colors are bold enough that you're not distracted. With the previous slides, I mean, we both agreed that the slides were very distracting because the backgrounds weren't contrasting well with the fonts used. There were many different fonts being used. And while this font isn't a traditional one, and you may not use this in certain settings, it's a very entertaining font. And definitely, the audience would be captured by this image and think, oh, wow, this is pretty cool.
AMY NEWMAN: I agree. You're right, for a financial services company, maybe not so much, but certainly appropriate for the purpose.
GREG BODENLOS: Sure.
AMY NEWMAN: Let's look at your own examples.
GREG BODENLOS: Sure. Well, I designed this slide for one of my presentations in class. And like we were talking about earlier, I think a simpler background with a clear font works best. And we just have the one picture on the screen. There's not too much going on, but enough so that the audience will definitely maybe see this picture and kind of feel an emotional appeal to it.
Not only that, but it matches with the content. If we're talking about a pure environment, the slides are very pure and clean. So I think you're content should match your presentation. So that's what I tried to do here.
AMY NEWMAN: Great. And I think I recognize the template as Capsules. But you did a great job in modifying it. So some of the templates in a program like PowerPoint are better than others. But doing something simple like changing the font type or certainly the colors will customize it. And you've done that nicely.
GREG BODENLOS: When I was doing this presentation, one of my professors actually pointed out that he noticed I used one template and then adapted it. And it's very easy to do that. And most people don't.
They will see one template and then just go with it. And then you end up seeing the same templates used over and over. And it becomes unexciting. But just a couple of different color changes make a big difference.
AMY NEWMAN: Great. Let's look at the next one.
GREG BODENLOS: Sure. So this next slide is actually a little different than the previous one, because more information is on it. But again, I decided to take the same approach by trying to keep it simple, while having a lot of information and with a light background and the contrast and the colors and the simpler font in making the consistency.
AMY NEWMAN: Yeah, it's a really nice choice. Beautiful photos, again, that really support your presentation. And as you say, there are some statistics, but not too much information, because you'll explain it.
I think some suggestions I might have for this is to be 100% accurate with the punctuation. So I would add a hyphen for 10-Year and also spell out ten, because it's the first word in the sentence. I understand why you don't have the hyphen on Allergen Free. It seems like the convention does not use the hyphen there. So that makes a lot of sense to me.
I might also remove the shadow in the font. The simpler and clearer, the better. And just as we want to avoid 3-D graphics in our slides, I think that might just add some distraction we don't need. And you might also a citation on the slide somewhere-- source or a reference.
But your tracker is excellent. It's very simple, very clear. It's also a good example of where capital text could work, because it's so simple. And I'm glad you didn't use all caps anywhere else, because I think they're just hard to read. That and underlined text, too much for PowerPoint.
That's the end of module three for us about choosing an attractive design that complements your presentation but doesn't detract from it.
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We work and live in a visually mediated environment. Understanding the value of visual information is one of the keys to effective communication.
In this CyberTower Study Room, you'll learn how to use visuals in your presentations to support your message. Because PowerPoint has become the most prevalent software tool for business presentations and academic lectures, Amy Newman will focus on this application as she discusses and demonstrates the uses of visual communication, warns you of some of the common pitfalls, and then guides you through seven key principles for improving your presentations:
making the main point clear,
making the presentation easy to follow,
choosing an attractive and appropriate design,
replacing text with graphics,
replacing numbers with charts,
writing simply and clearly, and
making sure that PowerPoint remains a tool that supports the presentation, rather than becoming the focus of the presentation.
Whether you use PowerPoint or other presentation software, this CyberTower room will provide you with a wealth of useful tips.
This video is part 4 of 7 in the Using Visuals to Support a Presentation: PowerPoint series.