In this movie, learn why it is important to create a focal point on the slide. Learn how to choose what element should be the focal point, and how to build a hierarchy around that element.
- [Instructor] When looking at this slide, where do you look first? What do you see next? What about now? The design elements on the page haven't changed, yet your eyes now focus and notice different parts of the design now that they are sized and composed differently. What about now? Yeah, now you just don't know where to look. This is uncomfortable, isn't it? Designers, through size, shape, color, saturation and texture, can manipulate how an onlooker will approach their design.
If everything is too big, the design will stream, and the audience will not know what words are the most important. If everything is too colorful, no one color stands out. When one element differs greatly from other elements, the viewer has no choice but to pay attention. It dominates. Here we have an example of dominance through color. Take these gray circles for example. By themselves, they are overwhelming to look at, almost dizzying.
But, if we add color to one circle, our eyes immediately know where to look. Or if we remove the color and then change the location of one circle. Or maybe the size. The saturation of several circles. We have a clear, distinct place on our slide for our viewers to notice, to know where to look first, next, and last, and can then attempt to interpret some meaning from simple, ordinary circles. We can even literally communicate with them through design this way.
All of these are examples of something called dominance. Dominance is closely related to contrast, which we'll be talking about later. But dominance is when one element is visually more important than all the other elements on the slide, through contrast, visual weight, or direction. These two squares are equal. No one square dominates the other. But now, this is a far more engaging design. It tells a different story. Our eyes go to the larger square first because it dominates the slide.
And if you grew up with a big, mean, hyper active older brother like I did, who dominated your childhood, you might now feel really sorry for that tiny square off in the corner all by itself. Poor little square. Now this next example, we've got a bit more going on. The most dominant element on the slide is this big, bright orange square on the upper left hand corner of the slide, for, well, a few reasons. Number one, its color. Number two, its size. And three, its position on the slide.
People typically read from top to bottom, and left to right in this region, usually in one of two distinct patterns depending on the type of content, either in an F shape or a Z shape. In addition to our dominant shape, we have other areas of the slide that our eyes are naturally drawn to. Why? Through the color. They're shades of the same or similar color that is, creating what is known as focal points on the slide. A focal point is an element or area of emphasis within the design that draw similarities from that dominant element.
So, why am I tell you all this in a movie about the need for hierarchy in PowerPoint design? Well, the way you create visual hierarchy is by creating levels of dominance or focal points within the design, and throughout your presentation, either per slide or across all slides. But most importantly, and if you take anything away from this video it should be this: your slides' visual hierarchy should be tied to your content's hierarchy.
So, if you are accustomed to drafting an outline for your presentation, you should be cross-referencing it for your slide designs, not importing that outline as your design. Because, I've got news for you. The traditional PowerPoint layout with the title plus bullet point layout that just looks like an outline, that doesn't work for most audiences and environments, and isn't the best way to visualize most messages. So remember, when designing your slides, your slides' visual hierarchy should mirror your content structure.
- Designing as non-designers
- Key design components
- The need for hierarchy
- Hierarchy in bulleted slides
- When bullets are cognitively necessary
- Using space effectively
- Creating similarity and contrast strategically