It’s a simple tenant of great visual design: choose a great color palette and the rest will follow. If you’re just starting out in design or you aren’t sure where to begin with your presentation, here are a few quick rules to get you started:

Listen to the Wheel

There are a few different methods to approach the color wheel when selecting your palette. Here are three that we like:

The first is the Triadic Color Scheme, which is composed of three colors on separate ends of the color wheel (forming a triangle, surprise). This method ensures that the colors are equally vibrant.

The second is the Compound Color Scheme, in which two colors are chosen from opposite ends of the spectrum.

And finally, the third method is known as the Analogous Scheme, which selects three colors next to each other on the color spectrum.

High Contrast

When it comes to font, always go with maximum contrast for maximum effect. If viewers have to strain to read anything, you’ve made a poor choice. If you have a dark background, use the lightest font possible in your scheme. If you have a light background, don’t ever use a yellow font or anything lighter. Your color scheme may hurt you in this regard, especially if you are hoping to keep with complimentary colors that are too close. In that case, choose a different font color to ensure that everyone can read without pain.

3-4 Colors for a Palette

Unless you are baking a rainbow cake, all of the colors in the wheel don’t need to be represented. Keep it simple and stick with 3-4 colors throughout.

The Old 60-30-10 Rule

If you’ve selected three colors, a good way to balance them on a slide or throughout the presentation is the 60-30-10 rule. This means that the primary color takes up 60% of the space, the secondary takes up 30%, and the accent color accounts for the final 10%. This rule is all about creating balance, and is a great place to start if you’re staring down a blank slide.

Even though many of our designers are lawless rebels when it comes to choosing colors, sticking to some initial rules can keep you from being overwhelmed by options. Sometimes it’s cool to follow the rules.

Question: How can you apply these rules in your presentation design?


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