A lot of things have witnessed drastic changes during this pandemic, all but office presentations. PowerPoint presentations and slideshows can be makers or breakers of your, and it is therefore essential to the art of making presentations.

One of the most critical elements of any PowerPoint presentation is the color palette that it uses. The color scheme used in your presentation can be utilized to convey messages about your project subliminally.

On the other hand, if colors in a presentation are not aesthetically pleasing your audience will quickly lose interest. Well, this article will help you retain their interest, let’s talk about colour theory, but for presentations.

Basics of the Colour Theory

The colour theory is the study of complementary colors and the messages that they convey. It is most frequently visualised in the form of what is known as the colour wheel. The colors of a colour wheel are much akin to those found in a pastel colour box.

Primary colors

The primary colors of the colour wheel are those from which all other colors can be said to be derived. These colors are red, yellow, and blue. The basis of all the different colors of the colour wheel is formed by a combination of these colors.

Secondary colors

Secondary colors. are the combinations of primary colors. Red mixed with yellow forms orange, blue mixed with red forms violet, and yellow mixed with blue forms green. Hence, violet, orange and green is the secondary colors of the colour wheel.

Tertiary colors

Tertiary colors are combinations of a primary colour and secondary colors and do not have specialised names.

Red mixed with violet forms red-violet, blue combined with violet forms blue-violet, blue mixed with green forms blue-green, yellow mixed with green forms yellow-green, yellow mixed with orange forms yellow-orange and red combined with orange forms red-orange. Hence, blue-violet, red-violet, blue-green, yellow-green yellow-orange and red-orange are the six tertiary colors.

These are the twelve colors of the colour wheel. These colors can also be slightly modified by further mixing them with either black or white.

Brighter tones can be created by combining with white, while duller tones can be made by mixing with black or grey.

Complementary and Split Complementary colors

Complementary colors are a combination of colors which the eyes and brain react positively to. As a rule of thumb, colors on the opposite side of the colour wheel are complementary colors. This way, six complementary colour combinations can be formed out of the twelve colour wheel.

Split complementary colour combinations are combinations of three colors, much like complementary colour combinations. The main rule of making a split complementary combination is to choose one colour from a complementary combination and the two colors on either side of the other colour of the combinations. From a twelve colour wheel, twelve such split complementary colors can be found.

Other types of combinations are triad combinations and tetradic combinations. A triad combination is a colour combination formed by making an equilateral triangle in the colour wheel. Four such combinations are possible in the twelve colour wheel.

Tetradic colors are combined by creating a tetragon the colour wheel and six such combinations are found.

colors that are next to each other in the colour wheel are known as analogous colors. Analogous colors are generally limited to a combination of three.

Monochromatic colors are different shades of the same colour, with varying amounts of white, black and grey added in.

Using Colour Theory in the presentation

Specific rules are recommended while using colour palettes in your PowerPoint.

  • Keep your slide simple

It is crucial to keep your slide simple. Never try to cram in a lot of design elements into your slide. While creating the slide, it is essential to think about how the viewer of the slide is going to perceive it.

Add only as much content, including the design elements, as the eyes of the viewer will be able to take in during the time slide will be on-screen.

This means the shorter slideshow should have lesser colors in them. Also, if a specific slide does not have a lot of content, then the colors should be minimal too.

  • Follow the 60-30-10 rule

60-30-10 rule is a thumb rule for presentations. This rule says, 60, 30, 10 per cent of the total area of the presentation should be primary, secondary, and accent colors, respectively.

Our eyes are more accustomed to the primary colors, that’s why red, blue, and green should cover the most screen. If a lot of colors are added to the slides, then they should be added in lower quantities than the 10 percent reserved for the accent color.

  • Don’t cram the slides with visual elements

Your slides contain a lot of visual elements, from clip art to graphs.

However, keep in mind that the total content is never more than half the area of the slide. If the content that you need to present is large in quantity, always err on the side of adding an extra slide than choosing to cram all the content in a single slide.

Adding too much content to the slide blocks the color palette and undermines its effectiveness. When adding visual aids such as graphs, try to retain the color palette of the slide in the graph as well.

Combine these color theory tips with strong content and rehearsal to make your presentation a success.


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