This week we have a very pragmatic tip concerning your presentation aids. You regularly read between the lines in these tips about the importance of not throwing yourself headfirst into PowerPoint. This software can do many things, but it is not an optimized tool to organize thoughts, let alone build an effective storyline. But once your presentation is structured, this software is fully optimized to showcase your ideas and serve your speeches well.
When you open PowerPoint, there is an important choice to make that will be fundamental to the rest of your design work: the format! By default, your presentation will be displayed on a 4:3 format. The problem is that this format no longer makes sense today. And by continuing to use it, you will design documents that will neither be optimized for display nor for printing.
As the story goes, the 4:3 format was generalized back in the 50s to match both American and European television standards using the traditional format for silent films… In the 90s, the 16/9 became widespread on TV sets and from the 2000s computer screens have been massively adopted. While we are aware of the resistance that is triggered by any change, we regret to announce that it is high time to abandon the 4:3 format!
To display: a widescreen format is preferable to favor the immersion of the audience into the visual aid. Our eye is used to it now, through film and television. All recent computer screens are widescreen and increasingly, television screens are used in conference rooms to project presentation aids. From an ergonomic point of view, this format is much more suited to our vision. There are several standards, the most common being the 16/9 or 16/10. We recommend you prioritize the 16/10, which is a good compromise for displaying on a video projector, TV or computer screen.
To print: it is a much more efficient to set the presentation directly on an A4 format. There are two specific precautions to take for printing. On slides intended to be seen, it is common to have colored backgrounds to better reflect the design. A black background, for example, will make for a very interesting projection, but it will consume a lot of ink. And don’t forget that printers can rarely print over the entire surface of a page. If your slide contains a full-size image, you’ll end up with uneven white edges around your printed page. To obtain a clean copy, anticipate the problem by applying uniform margins in your page setting.