Adulting 101: how to build a presentation people will pay attention to and remember

If all you’ve been using is Times New Roman and tend to shy away from using colour, it’s clearly time to step up your design game. Here are a few tips to help you get started

Joshua Lee |

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There will be many situations in your adulthood where you may be asked to make a presentation, submit a report, or design a poster. Having a good sense of design is important for putting together eye-catching documents that present information clearly to your audience.

Font matters

There are thousands of different fonts to choose from, but in most cases, you should avoid overly decorative and fancy typefaces that are hard to read.

There are two main types of fonts that you should be aware of: serif fonts, like Times New Roman, have small ticks and features at the end of the letters; San-serif fonts, such as Helvetica, have clean, rounded ends.

Both are good for different things: Sans-serif fonts have a modern look and could be used for headings and titles, while serif fonts make large bodies of text easier to read.

Colour schemes

Depending on your project, you may not need to use any colours, since a simple black and white report can appear clean and professional. But sometimes adding colour to a presentation or poster can liven up the design and make it more appealing and noticeable.

Pick a colour scheme that you can use throughout your document and make sure none of the colours clash. Some programs, such as Microsoft Office, have some attractive, preselected colours you can choose from.

You can also use free websites, such as Adobe Color CC (formerly known as Adobe Kuler), to easily customise your own colour schemes. Colour CC allows you to explore colours and find those that go well together, or try out colour schemes created by other people.

Less is more

When designing something, you can easily overdo it and add too many elements and information into a small space. If this happens, the information becomes lost in the clutter and

it can be difficult for a reader to process the content quickly.

In general, minimal designs work best as they help to make the information stand out. You can highlight the most important information using colours, headings, or other elements.

You should not scatter items randomly around a page: place the different elements in an orderly way so that they line up with each other. Turning on the guidelines and snap-to-grid functions in whatever program you’re using can help to make everything fit evenly together.

It is also a good idea to remove unnecessary clutter like photos, clip art, or large bodies of text as these can be distracting.

Create style themes

A consistent design means the audience will concentrate more on the message you are trying to get across.

It is a lot easier to maintain the same style and design throughout if you plan ahead and decide on things like font, colour schemes and layout before you start working. With certain programs, you can create style themes and templates so

you can easily keep the same design throughout the project.

Think about your audience

Although there are many different ways of designing a project, it is vital to think about your target audience and their requirements.

You should always consider what information is most important to them and the best way to present it to that particular audience. The font, colour and design of an educational poster for children will be very different from a business presentation for adults. Consider what works best in each case and look up some examples online to find inspiration.

Edited by Nicole Moraleda