When you look at the photo below, what do you see first. The orange poppy petal, of course.
It’s pretty easy to say, why. It’s red. It’s not a rock. Yup. All correct.. But another reason the petal jumps out is because it doesn’t follow the pattern. Rocks, rocks, rocks,… flower? Our primitive brains are built to scan and find what doesn’t belong. Lion in the bushes, for example. Today lions are not waiting to eat us, but our brains still function as if they were. So how do lions relate to presenting? Because your audience is looking for patterns and when you break the pattern they’ve become accustomed to, they will notice. If you use several similar fonts interchangeably, your audience will notice. Really? And it all come down to issues of design.
Dare to Make Some Simple Design Improvements
If you are unsure that you can make sweeping design decisions, make simple adjustments. Checking to be sure your fonts, from slide to slide, are matching in size, weight and family can make a difference. For example, if you do decide to use Arial, then don’t carelessly throw in Helvetica, Futura or Univers. While these fonts are all sans serif, the subtle differences between them will make line spacing, widths and kerning look off. And look at the commas – Just like a lion in the bushes…
And if you decide to go for a black and white look, don’t forget what contrast can do for you. Where does your eye go first in the photo above? The orange poppy petal that breaks the pattern screams for attention against the drab browns of the stones. Imagine what judicious use of orange would do to jazz up a black and white presentation and draw your audiences attention to the key points.
No matter the level of your design expertise, attention to some of the basic building blocks will help you achieve a more successful look and feel. It’ll work much better for your audience, too. Remember they are looking for lions in the bushes!
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