The Cure for Color Madness
Besides mismatched fonts in presentations, my other biggest bugaboo is seeing mismatched colors. I often show people how the newer versions of powerpoint actually help with picking the right accent colors through the use of pre-defined Color Themes under the Design Menu. Still people end up with hideous color combinations. What I have found is many people have not had the opportunity or invested the time to understand how basic color theory works. In this post I thought I’d share some bare essentials and point people to a couple of helpful resources that I use.
Most people are generally aware of the color wheel. Beyond that what I find is that people do not understand the way the colors on a color wheel are related to each other. Understanding these relationships or color harmonies is the key to eliminating Color Madness. Check out this link for a crisp introduction to some of the key color harmonies e.g. Monochromatic, Analogous, Complementary, Split Complementary, Triadic, Tetradic, Square etc.
Once you understand the basic relationships between colors, you are then ready to create and apply your own color pallets comprised of color that are harmonious. One of my favorite tools to help with this is – Kuler. Kuler is a web-based color tool provided by Adobe. In addition to providing you the ability to define your own color themes, the Kuler web site hosts a whole range of themes created and used by a community of designers. You may register on Kuler to save and share your own themes but are free to use it without registering. There are three ways in which you can use Kuler.
Once you have defined your color pallets, you can then use the color definitions i.e. RGB values, to define the colors in PowerPoint using Create New Theme Colors under Colors in the Design Menu.
BTW, if you are truly looking to design to accommodate Color Blindness, take a look at vischeck.com. You can upload any image – such as an image of your presentation, and see how it appears to someone who is color truly blind.
(image credit: http://www.freeimageslive.co.uk/free_stock_image/multipexlesjpg )