Choosing the Right Font for Your Presentation


Choosing the Right Font for Your Presentation

You’ve got a big presentation coming up for your company’s next meeting.  You know your topic like the back of your hand and you’ve contacted your Tech Travel Agent to secure a projector rental for your meeting, but now it’s time to put together the actual presentation.  You want it to be appealing and attention-grabbing, but you don’t want to overdo it, right? 
 
One of the biggest things that often prevents people from even working on their presentations in a timely manner is the font.  There are so many different options when it comes to fonts these days, that picking the right one can be an overwhelming task for someone who does not usually work with programs like Microsoft’s PowerPoint.   Sure, you can use the old-fashioned standbys like Times New Roman and Arial, but that can get boring and surprisingly, it’s not always the best option. 
 
First of all, you’ll want to ask yourself a few questions: 
1.  What type of audience are you presenting to?  
– Do you work in an informal office, where your presentation will be made to your co-workers?  In this case, you can probably spice things up a little bit and have a little more fun with your fonts. 
– Do you work for a larger company and plan to make a presentation to several executives from your corporate office?    Obviously, in this situation, you’d want to keep things formal.  
2.  How serious is your topic?  
– Are you discussing something important or sensitive such as accident prevention or budget cuts?  You may want to avoid using anything you would consider cute or fun in this situation.  
– On the other hand, are you discussing something fun, like the budget for this year’s holiday parties or the upcoming community project your office is involved with.  These types of presentations will allow for a little more room to get creative.   
3.  Is your presentation mainly in what you say or in what you type?  
– If you plan to let your mouth make the point and use your slides as simply a back-up tool for people to refer to or to emphasize a few key-points, then you can afford to be a little creative with your fonts. 
– If you plan to rely heavily on your slides and pack them full of information, you’ll want to stick to fonts that are easier to read and less distracting.  
 
Once you’ve answered these questions, you should have at least a general idea about what types of slides you want to make and what sort of image you want to convey. 
Here are a few general tips about choosing fonts:
 
1.  Don’t use too many.  The more you use, the more jumbled up your presentation will look.  If it’s too busy, it will be unappealing to your audience and hard to follow.  Many consultants suggest using three or four maximum. 
2.  Use one main font for your main content.  Whether you have two points or ten points per slide, make sure they’re all in the same, consistent font.  You’ll also want to be sure your main font is the most plain. This would be a good time to use Times New Roman or something similar that is easy for everyone to read.
3.  For titles, captions, and other non-main text, you can use something a little more fun, but make sure it’s still readable.  Trebuchet, Tahoma, and Comic Sans are a few examples. 
4.  Be careful about using anything too “out there.”   Not just because it might drive your audience crazy to look at it, but also because some of the more unique fonts don’t always transfer well from one system to another.  
5.  When choosing font size, never go below 16- or 18-point.  Also, keep in mind that different fonts can be the same size but they don’t appear the same on screen. 
6.  If you really want to grab someone’s attention, use even bigger fonts on words like “new,” that are meant to grab attention.   32-point or higher is great. 
7.  Use bold font, italics, and underlined font sparingly.  Just like having too many fonts, having too many extra characteristics can ruin you presentation.  
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