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How to Use Color Effectively in Your Presentations?

While color is very powerful and can affect our moods and emotions, many people have trouble reading it on screens. Some have difficulty distinguishing red from green or blue from brown. In fact, one in every 12 men and one in every 65 women are reported to be legally color blind. Consequently, you have to be very careful in how you use color. If it is used well, it can be extremely powerful, especially in influencing feelings and the affective domain. It can also help tie things together when you use it to repeat themes and emphasize particular items. Families of colors are colors that go well together, and when someone is dressed in colors that go well together, we say they are color-coordinated. This is fine for the artist or the person who is looking in the mirror and getting dressed in the morning, but the rule for color on screens is even simpler. While most people prefer color to black and white images (Stokes, 2001), learners do not necessarily learn more from the kinds of images they prefer. In fact, color really only influences the learning experience when it relates to the learning content. Try not to use more than two primary colors, period. Why? Cognitive load. Cognitive load for the learner also includes the colors in color photography. So if you are using full color graphics or photos in your presentation, you want to limit the other colors on the screen to one or two—and this includes the colors used in text, logos, branding etc. One way to do this is to keep your colors neutral.