Do The Visuals In Your Presentation Really Make A Difference?

According to Dave Johnson they do!

With communicators including more and more visuals in their presentations (such as photos, SmartArt and WordArt, and other built-in PowerPoint graphics) visuals now play a bigger role in the overall success (or lack of success) of your message.

In his August 2011 article for CBS MoneyWatch, noted author Dave Johnson emphasizes the need to follow some basic design rules when developing visuals for your presentation. You need to keep two key areas in mind when planning your visuals: (1) “consistency (from slide to slide and across your text and graphics) and (2) readability (so it’s easy on the eyes no matter where in the room someone is sitting).”

When you begin preparing visuals for your next presentation, be sure that you follow Dave’s top ten design suggestions:

  1. Use thicker lines for visibility
  2. Use the same line width everywhere in presentation
  3. Use shapes instead of lines for readability and visual interest
  4. Line everything up on a grid
  5. Use size to convey importance; don’t vary box sizes just to accommodate larger text labels
  6. Don’t spam the slide with lots of different graphic styles (your visuals will take on an “amateurish” look)
  7. Don’t use more than three unique colors
  8. Use primary colors—red, green, blue
  9. Use bright backgrounds—don’t put text or graphics against grey or black
  10. Don’t use colors that are very similar—your projector probably can’t make an obvious distinction

Johnson also includes a link to a SlideShare presentation that does an excellent job of illustrating the dos and don’ts of visual design. These slides provide quick, simple examples and tips that can help you prepare a winning presentation!

Source: Dave Johnson, CBS MoneyWatch, “10 Rules for Smart-Looking Presentations”, August 3, 2011. <>

For more information on BOSS software offerings, the BOSS degree and certificates, and how the BOSS program can help you with your career, contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, 972-238-6215.