The selective use of Colour compositions in designing a PPT


The selective use of Colour compositions in designing a PPT


We humans are slaves of our visions. We trust and feel what our eyes see and no beyond. As a visual creature that we are, we have a very limited knowledge of how colours impact our mind and emotion. Not only that, but colours are also the factor that makes us respond to different information and article differently. In a nutshell, the colors around us affect us more than we know. For instance, the colour ‘red’ catches our attention quickly because it is the universal sign of sensitive emotions, more like ‘bow down to me.’ Also, the colour ‘green’ soothes our mind and eyes because it is the colour of our mother nature.

And this whole colour theory works in the same way for the presentation procedure as well. Those PPTs which are not only great in content but which are also thoughtful when it comes to colours catches the attention of the audiences the most. The selective use of colour compositions is undoubtedly a better way to communicate the message you want to share. So, how to choose the perfect colour for your presentation slides? What to do or what not to while designing a PPT? Let us enlighten you with the basic colour theory.

What is a colour theory?

The popular colour theory is nothing but a set of principles regarding how colours should be arranged harmoniously that will please eyes. This theory narrates the rules of how colours can be used, arranged, blended or how they are related to each other. It helps us to learn how colours can be mixed and how the effects will work on the minds of the audience. It explains why two colours work together and why some colours don’t. The colour theory is made of the colour wheel, colour harmonies, and the context.

The colour wheel is the main part of the colour theory that helps to establish the rules of colour theory. The colour wheel is made of 12 colours. The first three colours are called the primary colours namely red, blue, and yellow. Next, here come the secondary colours which are a combination of two primary colours such as orange, green and violet. Lastly, the tertiary colours are created by combining primary colours with secondary colours such as red-orange, yellow-orange, etc.

It is interesting to notice that black and white are not included on the colour wheel. Although the topic is much controversial, in general terms white is regarded as the presence of all colours while black is considered to be the absence of all colours.

How to choose colours while designing a PPT?

I bet you already have been in different presentation seminars where you could hardly make any sense of the texts written on the slide because of a poor choice of background colours. And such incidents might have warned with the effect of using perfect colour in your presentation slides. The colour theory is the basis of all PPT colours, but it does not decide what colours to use where and why? So, while you are going to applying background or text colours in your presentation slides, always remember the following points.

  1. Contrast– In the world of colours, contrast is one of the most important things. Contrast is the only thing that can separate your background from the texts on your presentation slides. Not having the perfect amount of contrast is one of the common mistakes while presenting presentation slides. Thus, if you want your audience to see your texts or graphics properly, it is important that both the text and the background have a high contrast. The amount of contrast should be on such level that the texts on the slides should float on the background colour and not blend with it. A dark background with light texts and light background with dark texts is an example of contrast in slides.
  2. Colour combinations– But if you think only the knowledge of using contrast will make it out, you are wrong. While designing a PPT, the choice of right colour combinations is of utmost importance. There are colours that combine with each other perfectly such as black and white. And there are some colours that not only do not blend with each other but also creates a disturbing effect on the audience as well. For instance, it is not wise to combine two primary colours from the colour wheel. Again, tertiary colours go well with the primary colours of the colour wheel. However, there exist exceptions too.
  3. Patterns or graphics– While designing a PPT, you may use different background patterns or graphics to make your slides more appealing to the audience. In such cases, the background colours do not remain in a uniform shade. As you cannot use patterns in your text and your text colours remain in one uniform shade, the texts tend to blend in with the background which creates a disturbing effect. So, it is wise not to use any complicated background patterns. And if you must use, choose subtle graphics or patterns that do not fade away the texts on the slides.

The application and effect of different colours in a PPT

Based on the theory of colour wheel, here we will discuss mostly the primary and secondary colours, their applications and effects. Let us have a look.

  1. Blue– Perhaps blue is the most used colour in presentation slides. It is calming and conservative, and it is popular with the corporate organizations. Dark blue or light blue, both creates a relaxed environment which soothes the minds of the audience. A blue background with light texts is a great combination. However, try to avoid mixing red or orange with a blue background.
  2. Green– Green colour stimulates interactions, and it creates a friendly environment. As a colour of Mother Nature, it helps to people relax easily. Mostly, in slides of trainers or educators, green is used.
  3. Red– Red colour as a background should be used carefully. Red is a powerful colour that coveys the message to influence and dictate. Thus it also carries a certain negative vibe too. Red is great for conveying passion or talking about any competitions. It is wise not to use the red background in any financial matter slides.
  4. Yellow or Orange– Yellow and orange are two warm colours. Thus they can attract the attentions of the audience easily. It is cheerful colours as well as it creates anger and frustration. It has been seen that babies tend to cry in yellow coloured rooms. Thus, while using the colour yellow or orange, you have to be careful about the amount. It is better to use yellow or orange in texts than in the background.
  5. Black– Black commands a certain degree of finality. It has a psychological undertone too. It is a basic colour, but it goes well every kind of corporate presentation slides; especially financial presentations. And any light colours as text will suit a black background.
  6. White– White is the calm and neutral colour that can be used in a presentation slide. It conveys fresh start, purity, and innocence. White can be used in the basic presentation slides. However, it is better not to use white in a formal presentation as it will be regarded as a flat, boring presentation.
  7. Purple– The colour purple represents wisdom and royalty. Being a dark shade, this colour is used in many presentation slides. Being a dark shade, purple is used in different corporate slides; mostly as an alternative to blue. However, they are not suitable for financial presentations.

Some do’s and don’ts while using colour in designing PPT

Believe it or not, colour of your PPT slides is the first thing that strikes the minds of the audience, even before they can read your texts. Thus, you should put lots of thinking before choosing the perfect colour for your PPT. It is not easy to remember all the colour theories but you can surely remember the easy dos and don’ts, no? So, here we have enlisted some easy dos and don’ts for your advantage. Have a look.

 What not to do

  1. No use of vibrating or head aching colour– The combination of vibrating colours are an absolute no-no. Not only that it is a bad choice but it also gives your audience headache.
  2. No low contrast– Maybe low contrast colour combinations can work better for a printed paper, but it does not absolutely go for PPT slides.
  3. Not so black or white– Truth to be told, the use of pure white or pure black is just boring. Try to avoid them.

What to do

  1. Use the emotional power of colours– Before choosing out the colour; try to know about their emotional powers and how they react on the human minds. In this way it will be easier for you to apply colours.
  2. Stay trendy– Another point is to stay trendy. You can always use different colour software to choose colours for your presentation.


The article can go on and on about which colour to choose and which one not to. But in a nutshell, it solely depends on the circumstance, subject of the PPT and your mind to choose the perfect colour. So, choose wisely!