In order to understand how to create a compelling visual design, you have to start by understanding how the human brain works in something called Cognitive Load Theory, which is broken down into 3 different types. Intrinsic load refers to how difficult the information is to comprehend; extraneous load refers to how information is presented; germane load refers to how we connect the dots.

With each presentation you create, you must consider these three categories – the harder the information is to comprehend, the more visual you must make your content; the easier the information to comprehend, the less you need to place on a slide in total.

There is a science behind every presentation, and armed with the psychology of the mind, we believe there are a few things every presenter can do to design like a pro.

Be Careful with Charts and Graphs
Infographics are a great tool to help communicate what could come across as boring statistics in a fun and visual way. They are the perfect marriage of information and graphics and should be used whenever possible in place of a chart or diagram. Infographics should have a clear purpose, make sense, be compelling, and be accurate. These four rules should be followed any time an infographic is in play so as not to detract from the overall message of the visual.

Quick Tip: Infographics should be simple and easy to read; if needed, split them up over several slides.

Keep your Color Scheme Consistent
There are endless opportunities when it comes to color selection. While it may be tempting to use different colors on different slides, we warn against that. Consistent colors help your audience follow along with your story line and keep your presentation feeling like one cohesive thought. An easy way to ensure you keep your colors consistent is by choosing a color palate and sticking to it.

Quick Tip: When selecting colors, choose contrasting colors for use in background versus text, as this will help your audience distinguish and read your slides easily.

Choose Sans-Serif over Serif Fonts
Sans-serif fonts are ideal for any presentation deck that will be displayed digitally. This style of font is most prevalent on digital displays, as lower resolution can sometimes make the small details of a serif font difficult to read. By selecting a sans-serif font, you will help your audience stay connected rather than create a distraction of tired eyes as they try to make out the small details of your font.

Quick Tip: If you will be giving your deck out in printed form, consider using a serif font as these are easier to read in print.

Replace Bullet Points with Icons
Bullet points can quickly turn a clean design into a cluttered mess. Replacing bullet points with icons is a great way to take boring information and make it visual. Icons are a simple yet memorable image that depict the meat of whatever information you are sharing. Icons should be consistent and colorful, allowing you to create a consistent visual brand identity for your presentation.

Quick Tip: When selecting an icon, keep in mind that easy recognition is key. Be sure to think through the eyes of your audience rather than just what seems right to you.

Using visuals is a powerful way to leverage the mind’s natural learning process and use it to increase your audience’s information retention. It’s time to stop settling for words on a screen and replace them with impactful visuals that not only leave your audience impressed but inspire them to engage with you long after your presentation is done.

Don’t have time to create your own design? Contact the team at Ethos3 today to find out how we can help.

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