Graphic Design Tips for PowerPoints and Online Courses - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Graphic Design Tips for PowerPoints and Online Courses


for PowerPoints and Online Courses South Carolina State Firefighters Association Developed by Margi Stone Cooper Oklahoma State University Revised May 1, 2012 – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Graphic Design Tips for PowerPoints and Online Courses

Graphic Design Tipsfor PowerPoints and Online
  • South Carolina State Firefighters Association

Developed by Margi Stone Cooper Oklahoma State
University Revised May 1, 2012
Presentation Topics
  • This presentation discusses
  • Titles for opening screens
  • Text and typography
  • Colors and fonts
  • Charts, graphics, and special effects
  • Overall format

Title Slides and Opening Screens
  • Reveal the main idea of the presentation.
  • Be brief, but accurate.
  • Include the name of the presenter and/or the

Fire Hydrants
  • This title is vague and does not tell what the
    presentation is about.
  • What is going to be said about fire hydrants?

How to Flow Test a Fire Hydrant
  • This title is more specific.
  • The audience knows exactly what the presentation
    is about.

Text and Typography
  • Think about the
  • Amount of text on each slide
  • Placement of text
  • Font size
  • Font style
  • Letter and word arrangement
  • Wording and spelling

In a PowerPoint Presentation
  • Each screen should
  • Not distract from the message
  • Be easy to read
  • Be limited to about 6 lines of 6 to 8 words
  • Compare this PowerPoint screen with the
    multimedia course screen on the next page.

In an Online Course
  • Screens for online multimedia courses can, of
    course, be much more text-heavy than PowerPoint
    slides. When developing content for a multimedia
    course, limit the number of words to 150 per
    screen. Whether for multimedia courses or
    PowerPoints, each screen should focus on your
    message and be easy to read. Your audience should
    not have to use a dictionary to understand your
    messageuse simple language. Also, list your main
    ideas with bullets or numbers.
  • In most cases, text should be set flush left
    with a ragged right margin. Forced
    justification (where both outer margins of the
    text are straight) causes irregular word spacing,
    which makes text difficult to read. Adding more
    than one space after the punctuation at the end
    of a sentence also can cause spacing
    irregularities. In any media (including a printed
    document), limit line length to no more than
    about 125 characters, and keep headlines,
    subheads, and body fonts consistent throughout
    the course or presentation.

Placement of Bulleted Statements
  • Align bulleted statements on the left margin,
    like this.
  • Never center bullets it makes them hard to read.
  • Avoid setting text flush right, because this
    forces the reader to have to hunt for the
    beginning of the next line.

Avoid Awkward Line Breaks
  • Prepositional phrases should remain on one line.
  • Avoid breaking hyphenated words.
  • Avoid dangling words (or widows).
  • Keep thoughts and subjects together on one line.

Good Examples of Bad Line Breaks
  • Proofread your message before sending it.
  • Wait until late in the day to check e- mail.
  • Never forward rumors or old wives tales these
    cause harm and waste time.

Wording and Spelling
  • Avoid unintentional meaning
  • Spiders hide under leaves and bark.
  • Watch out for typos, especially those that are
    proper words
  • The Precedent spoke before Congress.
  • Use simple language
  • Try the word use instead of utilize.

Avoid Huge Fonts
  • Fonts that are too large make the line length too
    short and hurt legibility
  • A pitot tube measures flow pressure.

Choosing Font Styles
  • Limit the use of italics to individual words or
    short phrases.
  • Statements in all italics can be difficult to
  • Likewise, it is often hard to read artistic
    fonts use them sparingly.

Typeface Selection
  • Avoid mixing typefaces within a word, phrase,
    sentence, or paragraph.
  • Thin-stroke, serif letters often dont show up as
    well as thick-stroke gothic letters.
  • Use typefaces consistently.

Letter Case
  • DONT use capital letters for emphasis.
  • Use both upper- and lowercase letters.

Avoid Stacking Letters and Words
Rotating text on-end is preferred.
  • Fire
  • Hydrants
  • Must
  • Be
  • Opened
  • Slowly
  • O H S
  • P Y L
  • E D O
  • N R W
  • A L
  • N Y
  • T
  • S

General Guidelines for Using Color
  • Use no more than 5 colors per slide.
  • Too many colors makes reading difficult and
    distracts the from your message.
  • Keep the color scheme consistent.
  • Do not vary colors within a word.
  • Background and foreground colors should contrast

Poor Color Choices
The audience will have a difficult time trying to
read the screen of your course or presentation.
This slide shows a very bad use of color.
Only use different colors to highlight key points
when necessary.
Alternating color combinations will make your
audience search for your main points.
Color in Sentences and Phrases
  • Some colors stand out against a background some
  • Dont alternate colors within a word.
  • Avoid alternating text colors within a phrase.
  • But, subtly changing the color of a keyword or
    phrase can help draw attention.

Background vs. Text Colors
  • Value is the relative lightness or darkness of
    a color.
  • Colors may be different, but they can have
    similar values.
  • Choose background and text colors that contrast
    in value.

Examples of Poor Contrast
Red and royal blue do not contrast well because
they are similar in value.
  • Red and green do not contrast well these colors
    tend to reverberate.

Dark colors such as black against dark blue also
do not produce good contrast.
Good Color Contrast
Red and White
Black and White
White and Blue
Yellow and Blue
Black and Yellow
Green and White
Periodically step back from the computer to
ensure you can read your screens without
straining. Remember, if youre creating slides
that will be projected, overhead lights are
usually dimmed, but meeting rooms are seldom very
dark, which makes good contrast especially
Dark on Light? Or Vice Versa?
  • There are no hard and fast rules for designing
    the overall look and feel of an online module or
    course. A couple of decades ago when multimedia
    courses were first developed, designers
    overwhelmingly chose light-colored fonts on dark
    backgrounds. Back then, it was thought was that
    light backgrounds and dark type would cause eye
    strain, much like trying to read the printing on
    a lit light bulb for hours on end. But years of
    experience has told us that is not the case.
  • Nowadays, many designers choose dark backgrounds
    to increase the energy efficiency of the computer
    display, since in requires more power to project
    a white screen and it produces more heat. While
    energy-conscious designers may advocate that
    black is the new green, the fact is that it
    depends on the device your using. For example,
    with new liquid-crystal displays, white screens
    tend to consume less energy than black screens.
  • The Bottom line? Make sure theres plenty of
    contrast between your background and text and
    youll be fine.

Avoid Busy Backgrounds
  • Heavily textured and geometric backgrounds can
    obscure the text.
  • Use minimal textures and background designs.
  • Photos may be used with care.
  • Use plain backgrounds when careful reading is

Some photo backgroundscan obscure text.
Consider placing text in a color box if you must
use a photograph as a background.
Using Charts and Graphics
  • Include enough information so your audience
    understands the chart.
  • Avoid overloading a chart with information.
  • Use graphics that are relevant to the topic being
  • Avoid using poor quality graphics or filler art.

Adequately Label Graphics
This graph is clean and simple. But is it
adequately labeled to convey the meaning? (No,
of course.)
Avoid Information Overload
  • The bars on this graph are impossible to
  • Again, this graph is not clearly labeled.

Use Relevant Graphics
Annual Report to the Executive Board January 2013
The above graphic does not tie in with the
Overall Format
  • Limit the use of special effects.
  • Format the presentation with the audience and the
    subject in mind.
  • Be consistent with the design.
  • Learn how to take advantage of the powerful
    graphic design capabilities of PowerPoint!

Limit the Use of Special Effects
  • Use special effects only when appropriate.
  • Special effects can be distracting.

Do not use a special effect that serves no
Keep the Design Consistent
  • Use a template with...
  • The same color palette.
  • The same typefaces.
  • Similar slide layouts.
  • Think of white space as a design element and
    use it to your advantage.

Check Your Text!
  • Type symbols correctly. Use a degree symbol
    instead of a superscript lowercase o.
    Double-check symbols after the multimedia
    developer finishes your project, because symbols
    have a habit of reverting when text is copied
    from one software program to another. Also, be
    sure check weblinks because URLs sometimes change.

Quick Summary
  • Use meaningful titles.
  • Make sure your text is legible.
  • Text color should contrast with the background.
  • Use appropriate images and label charts and
  • Limit the use of special effects.
  • Be consistent with the overall format.
  • Proofread!
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