No matter how exciting our ideas are, they are often only seen to be as good as the medium we use to communicate them. Especially while delivering a presentation, using written points is one of the proven ways to reinforce your core message. While a good choice of font often goes unnoticed, using a bad font in a presentation sticks out like a sore thumb. This is where typography plays a pivotal role.
If you have ever wondered what typography is or been unsure about font colors and combinations more than once, learning more about this area of design can help improve how you present your ideas.
So what is typography?
Typography can be described as the art of arranging text in a way that’s legible and easy to understand. It deals with the type of font, size of text, color choices, and other such aspects that help evoke certain emotions from the viewer. Using typography tips when creating your presentation enriches the visual aspect of your slideshow and helps your audience follow along better. Modern presentations tend to use minimal text on slides, which makes it all the more important to pay attention to typography.
The important aspects of typography
In order to get familiar with typography, some of the common elements associated with typography have been listed below:
Typefaces vs. Fonts
These two terms have often been interchangeably many times, but they actually mean two different things. Typeface can be described as the collective name given to a family of fonts. Garamond or Times New Roman are examples of serif typefaces. Font refers to widths, weights, and styles specified within a typeface. Times New Roman Italic or Garamond 12pt are examples of fonts.
Adjusting space between lines of text, called “leading,” makes your content more legible.
White space, as the name suggests, refers to the blank space around portions of text on a slide. More often than not, white space is often overlooked while creating slides. The right use of white space can ensure that the text in your presentation is legible and stands out instead of blending in with the slide background.
As you can see in the example above, adjusting your leading to add more space between lines of text will give your content more “breathing room” and make it easier to read.
In this example, the title and the text body have been aligned to differentiate them more clearly and make the title more eye-catching.
Alignment is the process of laying out different elements of text in a presentation. While aligning the text in your slides, keep in mind those who will be viewing the presentation and follow the appropriate industry standards.
The use of typefaces in a presentation should remain consistent. Viewers prefer familiar patterns of slides with coordinated design, and using different font styles in each slide will make your presentation look unprofessional and disjointed. Most design advice recommends using one font for all headers and one complementary font for all the body text.
The purpose of hierarchy is to help create a clear distinction between different pieces of text that should be noticed first by the user. This next section dives into the details of how hierarchy can be implemented through typography.
Implementing hierarchy through typography
Since it is one of the first things noticed by a viewer, size is the obvious differentiator to establish a hierarchy between the typography. There is a clear rule that bigger texts in a slide have the highest importance while the small texts carry lesser importance.
In the example above, using music to influence is the important aspect you would want people to focus on. This has been highlighted with a bigger size text so that the viewer sees it first and gets an idea of the presentation immediately. While there are other ways to establish hierarchy, size can be the crux to differentiate between text in a presentation.
Font weight can be defined as the thickness of the font in reference to the height of the font. Making part of the text bolder or lighter is an easy way to maintain hierarchy in typography. Font weights range from ultra-light to extra-bold.
For instance, in this slide above, the words “Stephen King” are emphasized by using a different font weight. Using fonts with the same weight throughout the slide doesn’t highlight the importance of the keywords or phrases.
With almost all information now communicated visually, color plays a more vital role in presentations than ever before. Using color theory to choose the appropriate color can prove to be the key to a successful presentation. Color is a great way to play with the hierarchy of the content since there is a lot of psychology involved.
A lighter yellow shade has been used here to highlight the statistic.
Using a lighter and darker shade can be a simple way to create a hierarchy. Use contrasting colors for your background and fonts to make your text visible. A good rule to keep in mind while picking colors is that warm colors pop and cool colors recede.
The positioning of your text and its alignment can help highlight headings and subheadings in a presentation.
Center alignment, along with heavier font weight and bright text color, here adds more emphasis to the presentation topic.
The way your content is placed can change the way it is perceived. For instance, center alignment adds a sense of importance and more emphasis. This is the reason title slides generally align to the center.
Using all capital letters can help make your titles stand out.
Use different case styles to differentiate different types of content. Use uppercase or title case styles sparingly to add extra emphasis. While it is not recommended to use all-caps for your main text, this is an effective way to differentiate between different headings and subheadings and establish a reading hierarchy.
Use regular sentence case for long headings and text passages in your presentation. Uppercase and title case styles can be used for the slide title and other short headings.
Typography is a part of presentation design that is often overlooked or not given the importance it deserves. Skillful use of typography can help visually guide the user through your slides in an intuitive manner and maximize the understanding of the information communicated in the presentation.
While it may seem like a daunting task at first, deciding on the best typography for your presentation can be easier when you keep some of the points above in mind. Think about your design from the perspective of the audience: will they get the message viewing the presentation? When you design your presentation with your message intentions and your audience needs in mind, typography choices can help make sure your ideas are heard.
Want to learn more about effective presentation design? With all this information about typography, keep that momentum going and check out our color theory blog. Combine typography and color theory basics to create beautiful slides for your next presentation!