Once again we turn to mother nature herself for color guidance in presentation palettes and as a way to avoid bad color choices.

Photo of Lewis River with color palette patches added below.

Susan says, “This is another of Lucia’s beautiful photos This is of one of her favorite places: the Lewis River in Washington state. Looks like springtime because the water is high and the surrounding bushes look newly leafed. The colorful results are various shades of light green and dark blue contrasted with the stark white of the splashes. As we have said before, picking your presentation palette can be daunting, but nature doesn’t make mistakes and can reliably produce dependable results for you. These colors compliment each other and will work side by side or layered.

Bad Design Can Harm the Success of Your Presentation

Like many elements of design, choosing a color palette may not be easy without some understanding of the color wheel and how colors relate and react.  None of that is needed if you follow our advice and use a photo to guide you. If you are training as a lawyer and are presenting to an audience of lawyers, you may think that selecting a color palette is unnecessary make-work. Not true. As the saying goes, “Good design can’t save a bad presentation, but bad design can hurt a good presentation.” If your presentation lacks balance, harmony, proportion or scale, even your audience of lawyers will feel it. They may not be able to put words to their sense of discomfort or unease, but they will trust your ideas less. Many audiences approach presentations with some degree of skepticism, so you don’t want to lose any of their trust with poor design decisions.

There isn’t a need to understand color theory. And you’ll do away with anxiety over your color choices if you can put your trust in the colors found in nature. Pick a photo with some contrast between light and dark: even a black and white photo will work for a classic presentation.

Lucia says, “‘Light and Dark’ is the main event in this photo. Notice the base of the waterfall in the background. The bright splashes of water are framed by darkness, creating a very stark contrast. But overall it’s pretty dark back there. It’s a nice background that enhances the light of the foreground. The quality of light is another strong feature. The angle of the late afternoon sunlight softens the foreground. The quality of light has even softened the slash of whitewater separating the green vegetation. I’m happy about this because I think under different circumstances the white could have ruined this scene by being too harsh.

One Photo – Many Choices

At first glance, you could think that this photo is pretty much a duotone of green and black. But on closer examination, you’ll find much more, just as Susan has done. Again, she has created a classy color palette using the different greens and bluish-grays from this photo. If you look closely at the bottom of the photo, you’ll see more colors in the rocks under the water. Susan could have added red for highlights in her palette, but she chose to keep a simple green/gray for her presentation design. Which goes to show, one photo can offer many options for your color scheme. All you have to do is look carefully and choose what will work best for you and your message.”