Space is an important design element—one that should be planned for and not neglected. In this movie, learn why it is important to a design.
- [Narrator] If you were to do a casual search on the internet for the top five, top eight, or top 10 tips to make your PowerPoint slides look great, no doubt you'd find a lot of the same generic advice in some of those top type lists. That may or may not, be helpful to your exact situation. Take this advice, keep it simple. Look at this slide, itself. You can't get any simpler than a white background with dark text, with three simple words centered on it.
It's a simple design, a simple font, delivering a simple piece of advice. I found this exact piece of advice across many, many different websites, promising help for better, more effective and more beautiful slides. Heck, I've probably given this advice myself, to people in the past. But recently, I started to not like this advice. This advice, like the message, is simple, and can help people who overburden their slides with just too much stuff, but unfortunately the advice is oversimplified, in my opinion, for it begs the question, keep what simple? And it implies, but neglects to directly address, an element often overlooked in slide design, my favorite element to design with, space.
Consider this, let's go back to that last slide, but this time, we're going to change one thing about that message. Our message itself, hasn't changed, nor have the colors, the fonts, just the size of the text, or rather, the space around the text has changed, and as a result, the text is shouting. The slide looks cramped and uncomfortable. The slide is no longer simple and now the overall design contradicts the simplicity of the message.
That's bad. Space is an important part of any design. Looking at the slide, the audience may only notice the words, even when they don't make much sense. But that is made possible because of the space that surrounds the words. That space, in and of itself, is a powerful element, that assists the other design elements. It's that space, that creates separation between objects, and can help guide viewers eyes to specific points, within the design.
When reading paragraphs of text, like these, space helps us determine what's a word, a sentence, and of course the end of a paragraph, not to mention the confines of a page or slide. Without those spaces the readability would be gone and the text would be very difficult to read. But beyond passive uses of space like this, to improve readability or legibility, space can also be active and used purposefully within a slide.
Active space, I like to think of as careful considered emptiness. I have no idea who came up with that phrase, I heard it somewhere a long time ago, and committed it memory, but then promptly forgot who said it. But space can help bring harmony and balance to a design, and even help convey a particular tone to a work. As such, space is a much needed and necessary element, to consider when planning and designing your slides.
In the next few videos, join me as we dive into learning how to utilize space and incorporate space effectively in our presentations.
- 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