Every [good] presentation consultant you come across will tell you to begin your presentation development process on paper, never start creating slides as you think up ideas. This same methodology should apply to developing a style for your presentation.
I begin with color, because color is the first component of design you need to think about before starting work. Color sets the mood, reinforces messages and adds an aesthetic appeal to any design project.
I’ve seen too many presentations that have poorly thought out color schemes. With the right tools and practice anyone can develop a nice color palette. We are trained to make decisions on color every day when dressing or decorating our homes. Why stop when it comes to presentations?
I’ll blog more in depth about actually developing a palette next time but today I want to talk about some tools you should save as a resource.
Copying an existing palette from an image
If the presentation is a marketing piece you can pull colors directly from the logo or other marketing materials and refine it for your needs.
There are several ways to grab a color from an image. If you’re working on a Mac, there is a Utility called Digital Color Meter, which displays RGB values of any pixel your pointer is pointing to. Either use Spotlight to launch it, or you can access it via Finder (Places) Applications->Utilities (Mac also offers an Eyedropper when a color selection window is open within PowerPoint or Keynote which means you can have the apps open to create the theme).
If you have photo editing software such as Photoshop, there is an Eye Dropper tool that will identify the color values, as well as provide, RGB, CMYK or HEX values.
If you’re on a PC and don’t have photo editing software you can either download a Firefox plug in http://www.colorzilla.com/firefox/ or an app that will help you identify the colors from the desktop http://instant-eyedropper.com/
Color Palette Utilities
Color Scheme Designer is a web based utility that offers the most comprehensive features for creating a color scheme. Please note that even if the scheme is created using this utility it doesn’t necessarily make it a good scheme for a presentation. (I’ll discuss this next time)
Color Palette Communities
Kuler is an online community where you can create , browse and share color themes. and you can import the themes directly into Adobe Creative Suite (2, 3, 4 &5)
ColourLovers is an online community where you can browse color palettes created by it’s users. Each palette always provides the RGB values of the colors so you can use them in saving out those colors in a presentation.
Pantone.com also offers a range of information on color.
worqx.com offers a quite good overview on color theory.
If you have any questions about these resources feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be happy to help you out.
Or if you have additional resources you use, please leave a comment.