Master Your Message Blog

Why Important Screen Objects Should Be Lighter In Color

Screen layout is really important to getting your message across.

Our eyes go to the lightest part of the frameTake this screen. Where does your eye go? Most people would say … to the brightest part of the background.

For me, the brightest part of the frame is the back of that lady’s head. In other words, the lightest object on the screen grabs your attention.

My frame of reference for light and its affect on us is television, film, and theatre. I’ve spent decades working across those areas. What I’ve learned is that our eyes are attracted by light, so put more light on the most important elements to make them brighter. Put less light on the unimportant information.

You need to think like that when you design your slides. It’s why light backgrounds are so distracting. Our eyes are naturally attracted to the lightest area of the slide.  The lightest elements, then, should be the important information. So, make sure text is much lighter than the background. It’s the same with pictures.

Our eyes are naturally attracted to the lightest area of the slide. The lightest elements, then, should be the important information.

White backgrounds naturally distract your eyes from the text or pictures that are darker than it. White backgrounds actually makes it harder to read text. On top of that, if  you have a screen that is the brightest thing on the stage, the audience is distracted away from you, the presenter. You certainly don’t want that to happen! You’re the most important object there – you have all the information. You’re the one giving the presentation, after all.

We read from the top down, from left to right.Where you place things is also important. Take a look at the screen on the left. It’s just plain confusing. Where do you want me to look? It’s uncomfortable. Plus it’s downright cluttered. Organize it so that the viewer knows where to look. And keep text to a minimum. Less is more.

In the western world, we read left to right. We start at the top and work our way down.

If you’re building text or graphics, always build down or to the right. So, when you’re designing slides, you’re the director … paint with light … direct the eyes … and make your point in a simple, yet powerful manner.

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