Tips for Presentation Visuals

1. Good Presentations start with... Planning
  • Good Ideas - Clear, sound and logical. Without good ideas - the audience is unable to 'connect' and 'understand' what the presenter tries to communicate. It would be just visuals without meaning.
  • Creative Writing - Leave a deep impression - the audience is able to recall, at least, the key points or messages the presenter wants to communicate. The audience may forget the details, but there are a couple of key words or images that he/she could remember.
  • Then Presentation - How to organise it in an attractive manner that enhances the way your intended message is communicated. Key words are highlighted or enlarged to capture the attention? Too many different kinds of animations/ slide transitions will confuse/ distract the audience - Do you want the audience to remember the intended messages or you want them to know what the presentation software (e.g. KeyNote) can do?
Therefore, it is worth spending time to plan your presentation so that your audience received the intended message.

2. Keep in Mind... when Designing 
  • Keep it Simple
  • Be Consistent with the feel-and-look (e.g. colours, fonts, sizes)
  • Don't crowd your slide with too many elements (to reduce distraction)
  • Use bullet points to keep your message concise
  • Choice of colours - look out for the constrast between colours and the meaning that each colour comes with (Watch this animation: Colour in Motion)
  • Choice of Fonts - different fonts create different 'atmospheres' for the presentation
3. Into Action... 

(I) Colour Concepts

(a) Simplicity
Choose 2 main colours for the presentation - consistency is important

(b) Contrast
General guide: Use dark letters against light solid backgrounds or light letters against dark solid backgrounds.
  • Black text on white background creates high contrast and makes the text very easy to read
  • Bright yesllow and white against a solid blue background work very well.
  • Good background colours are dark blues and greens.
  • Good text colours are white and pale yellow.
(c) Be "Colour Sensitive"
Many colours have 'meanings' attached to them.
  • E.g. Pink/ light red suggests "feminine". Some colours are neutral and 'calming' while others like red or orange tend to be 'hot' and vibrant.
(II) Using Fonts
  • Limit the number of different fonts to less than 4.
  • Be consistent: Select a font for body text and another for headers.
  • Choose styles and fonts that are easy to read.
  • Italics, bold and variations of font size should be used for emphasis.
  • Reserve "underline" for hyperlinks.
  • Avoid using full UPPERCASE lettering: Sentence case text is easier to read than full-uppercase text.
  • Simplify slides and graphics: Do not squeeze all information into the slide. It is hard to read.
  • Avoid too much text per slide: 6-10 words per line.
  • Avoid long sentences. Express the points using several sentences: Keep information clear and concise.
  • Use bullets whenever possible.
  • Limit the number of bulleted points on one page to 5 or 6.
  • Set bullet alignment to be uniform throughout the presentation. Misaligned bullets make a presentation look unprofessional.
  • Check for consistency of text. This includes checking for consistency in abbreviations and tense.
  • Keep text from running too close to margins and graphics.
  • Provide a space between elements. This will make reading easier for audience.
4. Last Check... before presentation 
  • [     ] Is the font size big enough for the audience in the back row to see?
  • [     ] Is the choice of the font type appropriate to the purpose and audience?
  • [     ] Are the slides too crowded with words?
  • [     ] Is the information in point form?
  • [     ] How do we ensure that important words or points are noticed?
  • [     ] Are the background colour(s) and font colour(s) well-matched?
  • [     ] Are the slides too colourful?
  • [     ] Is it alright for the slides to be colourful?
  • [     ] Are the sound effects (if any) appropriate?
  • [     ] Are the animations (if any) appropriate?
1. Chan, Jonathan. (2007). Computer Applications Secondary 1. Singapore. Pearson Longman.
2. Harrington, Richard. (2009). Apple Training Series: iWork '09. Berkeley: Peachpit Press.
3. Cortes, C. (n.d.) Colour in Motion. Retrieved from
4. CPDD. (1999). Interdisciplinary Project Work Resource Package for Secondary Schools. Singapore: MOE.