Use contrasts, then it also works with the clarity!

When you begin to design your PowerPoint slides, you want to make each piece of content as clear and understandable as possible. A good way to highlight individual elements on a slide is to use contrasts. In the following, I’ll tell you what types of contrast there are and what effect you can achieve with them.

Presentation tools, such as PowerPoint, offer a wide range of design elements. The technical possibilities are far advanced and sometimes hold spectacular effects ready for use in presentations. This can impress your audience, but it can also quickly distract from the content.

The famous “aha” effect in the presentation is a great thing, but it should be well mastered technically and creatively. Most of the time, less is more.  Images, graphics and animations are the icing on the cake if you have mastered the “basics” in design. There are design options that may not seem so exciting at first glance, but can still direct and influence the audience’s attention. Work with contrasts first to make your content more recognizable.

Contrast types and their functions

Using contrast is one of the most effective ways to add visual interest to a slide. By means of contrasts you can make your  presentation clearer. Information can be designed in such a way that the viewer is guided from the most important to the least important element of a slide in the correct order. Contrasts can also be used to structure the presentation. Depending on the chapter, for example, the slide background or the font color can be changed.

Contrasts can create tension and control attention. Here are a few examples of contrasts:

1. warm-cold contrast – the use of warm and cold colors.
2. monochrome-color contrast – the use of colorful and monochrome images.
3. light-dark contrast – the use of intense and lightened tones.
4. quantity contrast – the use of large and small color elements.

Contrasts and their effect

The effect of contrasts is on the one hand striking, on the other hand convincing. Our brain is better able to memorize slide messages with strong contrasting elements than a continuous text. Contrasts attract the attention of our senses. This way, your whole presentation will be more forceful and convincing.

One of the easiest uses for contrast is to use a legible font. Especially if you are showing your presentation to a larger audience in a hall, the slides should be easy to read even in the last row. Large black letters on a white background can certainly be seen better here than small letters in pale colors. If you now notice that your content no longer fits on the slide when you enlarge the font to “readable”, you have already discovered the next error. Avoid too much text, because it is exhausting to read and listen at the same time.

Using colors is another way to create contrast. It is important that there is always a clear contrast between the foil background and the font color. A strong background color does not tolerate a puny and indifferent colored font.

Size contrast is another stylistic device that you can use to good effect in your presentation. By enlarging or reducing elements of your slide and relating them to each other, you can emphasize the importance of important aspects.

You can also use colored and monochrome images to highlight qualitative differences, for example. If you want to illustrate the positive development of your product, you could contrast the image of an older version in black and white with a color image of the current version.

Playing with contrasts is a way to make information more vivid and compelling without a lot of technical sophistication. Even beginners can create very convincing presentations this way.

Dipl.-Wirtsch.-Informatiker Matthias Garten as the expert for multimedia presentations and professional PowerPoint presentations knows about the art of professional slide design. He is an entrepreneur, speaker (TOP 100 Speaker), trainer (TOP 100 Excellence Trainer), multiple book author, presentation coach (presentation training), member of the GSA and Club 55, organizer of the presentation conference, of the Presentation Bootcamps and Presentation Rocket Days. In addition to PowerPoint and presentation training, he inspires and advises companies to present themselves even more effectively and thus stand out from competitors. He is the business owner of the presentation and PowerPoint agency smavicon Best Business Presentations and with his team has created over 15,000 professional PowerPoint presentations for over 150 industries since 1993.