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Choosing the Right Ingredients for Stellar Visual Communication In Your Presentations

Posted on May 10, 2017

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My daughter got married last summer and when I go to her house, I watch her and her husband learning to do life together.  I was startled however when I saw her cooking dinner and she was reading a recipe, literally following it step by step.  I can’t even remember the last time I even opened a cookbook!  Oh sure, occasionally I will glance at a new recipe in a magazine as inspiration for future use, but mostly I do things by instinct and memory.

It turns out that presentation design is a lot like a recipe.  There are ingredients and there is the process to follow.

The ingredients are the visual components that form the basis of the communication.  And as with any good dish, these must be in harmony with each other and with the intent of the final product.

The ingredients list:

  • Images
  • Colors
  • Font
  • Data display

New cooks don’t have the experience yet to know what would go well together and that is why they get the exact ingredients ready as they start to make a new dish.   But as we gain more experience and understand how things taste together, we get more comfortable selecting more adventurous spices or substituting vegetables or proteins in our favorite dishes.

Here are a few things to help jump start your literacy in the ingredients for a scrumptious presentation design.


  • The category of “Images” is a huge array that includes symbols, icons, illustrations, art, and photos.
  • There are at least 4 buckets of how images can be used to increase comprehension and retention of our material (Four Categories of Visuals)
  • Images breathe life into your presentation.


  • Fonts are like the clothing you pick out to portray a certain persona; they visually communicate a specific personality as well: playful, serious, trendy, trustworthy, daring etc., and so you must ensure that the font you choose lines up with your message and vision.   A question to ask yourself when picking a font is “what do I want this font to say about me?” (Fonts have more influence than you think.)


3 Tips For Using Color In Your Presentations



  • Color is such an important element/component of the visual language because it communicates (ideas, concepts, feelings and emotions). Depending on the culture, color can make an audience feel a certain way. Know what idea or emotion you want to evoke within your audience so you can pick the appropriate colors that will help you do so.




Data Display

  • In this day and age, no presenter should be torturing their audience with slides of excel data sheets and endless statistics. Humanize your data by using graphs and infographics to visually present your data.

o   Histograms- are perfect for making comparisons

o   Lines/Timeline- anytime you want to show the evolution or growth of something overtime

o   Flowcharts/Concept Maps- can help you show how something happens


Choosing the Right Ingredients for Stellar Visual Communication In Your Presentations



















Watch for my next blogs where we go into the recipe  – starting with how to use images effectively.