The true worth of a man is not to be found in man himself, but in the colours and textures that come alive in others.Albert Schweitzer (1875–1965)
German-French philosopher and medical missionary
The use of colors helps to orientate your audience. Be consistent! It might be very confusing if in one place you use blue for comments and green for facts, and the next time they are used the other way round.
Colors are important
With colors you have to be sensitive. Depending on the cultural or group context, colors have different meaning — a message that you might inadvertently convey.
Furthermore, be aware that colors look different on each output device. In other words, the same exactly defined green looks different on your computer screen, your laptop, a data projector or a printout. Only if the whole system is ‘calibrated’ will it be the same. Therefore, you need standardised light of 5.500 K (Kelvin, measurement for color temperature) and color cards to adopt the settings in order to match the cards.
Pay attention to
Many people in the world have different forms of color blindness (and are not aware of it). So, avoid the use of green and red in important cases.
Additionally, think of the color contrast! The higher the contrast, the better the readability. Guess, why books are printed on white paper with black letters — the highest contrast possible and much less tiring for the reader than any other combination.
When it comes to colors, the old saying often applies: less is more! All in all, we suggest the following color system for use on boards and flip charts:
- Black: Main Text — good visibility, high contrast
- Blue: Sub-text — still good visibility
- Red: Underlining, highlighting, special signs — an alert color
- Green: all kind of structures you want to highlight
For presentations on PowerPoint and handouts this color scheme may differ, as it should then conform to your organisation’s corporate design. For example, as you can see on the previous page, TWL uses a dark blue for text and lines on a light beige as background. Special highlights are nonetheless done in bordeaux.