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Choosing the Right Colors for your PowerPoint Design

June 3, 2014 / Blog, Creative, PowerPoint Design, Rick Enrico Blog color combinations, color palettes, PowerPoint Design

Recently, the Pantone Color Institute chose Radiant Orchid for 2014’s color of the year. The color is described as a “captivating harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones”. It perfectly expresses confidence, creativity, and imagination.

Colors play an important role in visual communication. Our personal experiences and cultural associations affect how we perceive them. Imagine if stop signs were colored blue instead? Do you think it will convey the same kind of urgency we associate with the color of blood?

On their own, colors might seem like a rather inconsequential decision in the larger scheme of your deck. But it’s an important part of your slide, which could influence prospect decision-making and your business’ favorability in people’s eyes.

Note that some of the most prominent brands are already recognizable color alone. Just like Pantone’s color of the year, the color you use on your deck will have a larger impact on clients’ perception of you.

Communicating with Colors in PowerPoint Design

A study conducted by The Michael Allen Company found that customers responded more to businesses with colored receipts. Similarly, marketing researchers from Virginia Tech observed that colors have a considerable impact on consumer behaviors.

Because it’s become so integral to the business world, PowerPoint can also benefit from the psychological biases of color. Using meaningful and appropriate color combinations can help reinforce the message you want your audience to receive.

Things to keep in mind when choosing the perfect colors

1.) Your color palette must complement your topic.

Just like the images you use, your very color palette should be related to what you’re going to say. Don’t just choose colors on a whim. As we’ve seen from Pantone’s color choices every year, different colors represent different things, and can symbolize different things as well.

Let’s say you’re presenting a project on water conservation. You can reinforce your message by sticking to the different shades of blue.

2.) The colors of your PowerPoint presentation should also complement the occasion.

It’s not just your appearance or language that should be appropriate to the occasion at hand. Your colors should always exude the mood and aura of the event you’re presenting in.

For example, If your presentation is in a formal business setting, you might want to avoid using vibrant shades.

3.) Consider the personal preferences of your audience.

Similar to complementing the occasion, knowing your audience preferences is also necessary in picking the right color for the occasion. In basic color theory, brighter colors would call the attention of a tired audience, while cool colors would put an anxious audience at ease.

As a more concrete example, if you’re a teacher lecturing to a class of teenagers, you can choose to go with bright color accents.


Keep in mind how each color is positioned in the color wheel. This will help you decide which combinations work together.

Make sure that everything about your deck can be tied back to your pitch. If you want to convey strong points, use strong colors to express yourself. Your choices should also take into consideration both the location and your audience’s personal preferences.

Create a winning deck with a pitch to match!


Marketing Researchers Study Effect of Red on Consumer Behavior.” Virginia Tech. Accessed June 3, 2014.
PANTONE Color of the Year 2014 Radiant Orchid 18-3224.” PANTONE. Accessed June 3, 2014.