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What are Designers’ Go-To Fonts for PowerPoint Presentations?

Your performance as a speaker, with the effective integration of powerful visuals, make a good presentation. If you want to get the branding right, you should balance these two in every pitch.

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If you’re going to use a PowerPoint presentation for your pitch, you have to remember that the content of your deck should reflect your overall message.

One way to emphasize the content is through using the right fonts. This aspect of visual design is one of the most important choices you have to make. Arranging the text strategically in your presentation can help you send a powerful message.

Getting a customized PowerPoint presentation? Here are a few things you should know about font styles?

Serif vs Sans Serif

These are font styles that you should familiarize yourself with. You can use these for various parts of the presentation, differentiating one part from another, or putting emphasis to retain information.

If you see small elements extending from the letters, these are called “serifs” and fonts with these are commonly used in magazines, books, or anything related to print. Sans serif lacks the projecting elements jutting from the edges. You can see this style dominating most web-based experiences.

To give you a visual representation of the two styles, take Garamond and Arial for example. Garamond is characterized by the small lines at the ends of its characters while Arial has none of these.

While on the topic of various font styles, fonts are categorized in five different ways: Geometric, Humanist, Old Style, Transitional, Modern, and Slab Serif.

Font Alternatives

Times New Roman had been the default font for Word Documents for decades, only to be replaced by Calibri in Office 2007. If you would like to veer from the norm, here are some fonts you can use as alternatives:

  • Libertad
  • Carrig
  • Helvetica
  • Raleway
  • Open Sans
  • Alégre Sans
  • Roboto
  • Futura
  • Lato
  • Centabel Book

Before you choose your font, however, here are factors you need to consider before:

Theme

The font you choose should go well with the theme of your presentation—it should match the message you’re trying to convey—because if it doesn’t complement the look and feel of your deck, it will be noticeable.

Demographics

Know who your audience is—their age range, their interests. It’s important that you engage them through things they understand and like. For example, if you’re presenting to a group of young people, make sure that you’re using a typeface that can be easily understood.

Legibility

To make sure you hold the readers’ attention, make sure the text is readable. Save the fancy-looking fonts for headlines and more prominent usages.

Mood

This is what you get when you combine the aesthetics of the typeface to the readability of the text. The font you choose evokes an emotion, but its readability can take communication to a whole new level.

There are plenty of fonts to choose from, which is why you should stick to just one. Two to three types should suffice—no point in combining two fonts that look the same. Improve your design by combining the ones that complement each other and let your presentation stand out.

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References:

Saltz, Ina. “Serif vs. Sans Serif.” LinkedIn Learning. February 1, 2013. linkedin.com/learning/graphic-design-foundations-typography/serif-vs-sans-serif

Mann, Meredith. “Where Did Times New Roman Come From?” New York Public Library. December 9, 2014. www.nypl.org/blog/2014/12/09/times-new-roman

Friend, Joe. “Why Did Microsoft Change the Default Font to Calibri?” Forbes. December 18, 2013. www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2013/12/18/why-did-microsoft-change-the-default-font-to-calibri/#11a89f613e06

Bonneville, Douglas. “How to Choose a Font—A Step-by-Step Guide.” Smashing Magazine. March 24, 2011. www.smashingmagazine.com/2011/03/how-to-choose-a-typeface/

Decide on Classic Presentation Fonts in 5 Minutes

Much of the fonts we use come from centuries-old developments in print technology. We’re even using the same fonts from when paper dominated how we read. Classic presentation fonts have long been used to deliver a certain atmosphere and look.

While custom fonts may evoke originality and exclusivity, compatibility issues are a great concern. PowerPoint can embed fonts into a presentation, but this feature doesn’t work in Mac OSX. Avoid having a custom font automatically replaced when it can’t be found on another computer.

So give your deck a timeless look by using these fonts.

The Modern Classic

We’ve previously talked about serif and sans serif fonts. The earliest experimentation with sans serif was in the 17th century. But its usage only became commonplace in the next century.

These typefaces are popular for looking modern, simple and clean. Sans serif fonts are easy to read on the web, and is perfect for use in big bodies of text.

Gill Sans

gill sans

This is available both in Mac and Windows systems. 

Where to find: Gill Sans in Mac and Gill Sans MT in Windows. Gill Sans, named after its creator, was based on the Johnston typeface by Edward Johnston.

It’s a versatile font that is effective on the title or the body of the text in a deck. Pair it up with a serif font in your slide. For example, use Gill Sans in the body of the text, then use a serif typeface in the title and vice versa.

The Old Classics

Serif fonts are as old as printing itself. This also means that they predate sans serif typefaces. These designs are large and formal compared to the newer typefaces. It’s the official style used in legal documents and books in print.

Give your deck a serious mood by using these readily available font styles.

Baskerville

baskerville

This is available both in Mac and Windows systems.

Where to find: Baskerville in Mac and Baskerville Old Face in Windows This was designed by John Baskerville in the late 18th century. He used his background in calligraphy and stonecutting to give this font its quality of strength.

A presentation in a formal setting will benefit from the use of Baskerville. Deliver a serious and strong first impression by using Baskerville in the title of your slide. Or give a respectable tone to the body of text in your pitch using this font.

Bodoni

bodoni

This is available both in Mac and Windows systems.

Where to find: Bodoni 72 Oldstyle, Bodoni 72 smallcaps in Mac, Bodoni MT in Windows This bold and beautiful font was purposefully created for large prints by Giambattista Bodoni in the late 18th century. Use Bodoni to bring elegance at the front and center of your slide.

A slide will look sophisticated with Bodoni as a main header, preferably with as little text to accompany it. The effect of this font minimizes as it shrinks down, so it’s best suited in the header.

Other considerations

When compatibility isn’t a great concern, there are many more typefaces to choose from. But do think twice about the compatibility of fonts across machines over customization. Despite the great freedom it brings, the choice to use any font can still feel overwhelming.

We suggest that you use these sans serif fonts. They’re considered cult classics and look excellent in presentations:

Helvetica

helvetica

Helvetica comes pre-installed in a Mac.

The font that even has its own movie.

Futura

futura

Futura comes pre-installed in a Mac.

It’s so popular it reached the moon.

In Conclusion

It’s true that more and more people are reading from screens rather than pages of paper. But the timeless fonts printed media left us will endure. There’s no need to look far to find them. Your computer already comes pre-installed with these font types.

These classics never go out of style. Use them for effective and engaging PowerPoint presentations!

 

References

Farley, Jennifer. “The Sans Serif Typeface.” SitePoint. October 16, 2009. Accessed October 6, 2015. www.sitepoint.com/the-sans-serif-typeface
McDermott, Megan. “Complete Guide to Pre-Installed Fonts in Linux, Mac, and Windows.” APaddedCell. March 19, 2012. Accessed October 6, 2015. www.apaddedcell.com/sites/www.apaddedcell.com/files/fonts-article/final/index.html
Soh, Tony. “Top 30 Best Serif Fonts.” Vector Diary. December 9, 2013. Accessed October 6, 2015. www.vectordiary.com/fonts/top-30-best-serif-fonts

 

Featured Image: “Typewriter” by ceasedesist from flickr.com