Ipshita Basu Guha (Ph. D.)
You Don't Want the Wrong Selection of Fonts to Trample Your Presentation - 7 Crazy Simple Tips
You may be a brilliant student, but if you have shitty handwriting, you might lose marks in your exams. Though teachers are supposed to grade based on content, handwriting quality creates a bias.
This is what happens in the case of a presentation using a slide deck.
The choice of font (s) creates a perceptual bias among the audience. My mind often switches off as the first slides come up simply because of boring or inappropriate fonts. I end up slouching in my seat instead of eagerly sitting up. You get what I mean, right?
This negative predisposition can be easily remedied by making a good choice of fonts.
Many presenters believe that the content is what matters.
Yes, that and the presenter’s oratory skills, the slide themes, the use of slide transition effects, the weather, room temperature, the location, and the type of seating arrangement. I can just go on and on.
Unbelievable, isn’t it?
Image Source: Photo by Karolina Grabowska
If the content was all that mattered, authors and publishing houses would not have bothered about the artwork and detailing of the book jacket or book covers.
So first things first.
Do not make the rookie mistake in a presentation by choosing just about any font.
Choosing a set of fonts is like preparing the flower bed to plant your precious chrysanthemums.
7 Crazy Simple Tips to Make Your Slide Deck Rock
Tip #1 - What is the purpose of the presentation?
Is it a group project presentation at the university or school?
Is it a project progress presentation to a client?
Is it a product presentation to prospects?
Is it an internal team presentation?
Is it a slide deck for investors?
Is it for classroom teaching?
Depending on the purpose, you should choose fonts that exude formality or playfulness.
A middle-grade school presentation would look engaging with a relaxed Comic Sans instead of a stoic Times New Roman. Do you agree?
Tip #2 - Length of the presentation
How long you will take to present the slide decks?
A longer presentation means more reading and viewing.
Choose fonts that are easy on the eye, and comfortable to read even from a distance.
Tip #3 - Do not use a single font
There are tons of fonts out there.
Why would you pick only one and use it for the entire slide deck?
It is not like you have to “create” a font to use for your presentation, isn’t it?
A single font throughout the slide deck will make it boring. It will have minimal visual stimulation.
Put in some effort. Get creative.
Tip #4 - Use a Serif and Sans Serif font
Now that I have suggested using more than one font, the question is the same type or different.
Pick a serif and sans serif font.
Use sans serif for your heading, and sub-heading.
The serif-type font goes in the body. This way you would segregate the two parts of the content.
Break the monotony and enable the audience to differentiate between parts.
Word of caution: If you have a corporate font then you MUST use it preferably in the body.
Tip #5 - Stay clear of script or decorative fonts
A presentation is not a love letter. It is serious business. Well, mostly.
Pick clean fonts and not flowery, decorative ones. Cursives are a big NO-NO.
A script font is difficult to read and from the last row in a room, it is a stiff challenge.
You would want to make it easy for your audience to hang on to your every word.
Tip #6 - Use a bold and light font for visual effects
I prefer using a bold and light font in combination. They automatically create a pleasant visual effect by differentiating between various parts of the presentation content.
The bold font would ideally go to the heading and the light font in the body.
Tip #7 - Give “lowercase only” fonts a hard pass
One - it looks plain unprofessional.
Two - the “lowercase only” limits the usage of the font.
Three - you might need a third font that makes your presentation look like patchwork.
Pro tip: You must give a hard pass on using any “lowercase only” fonts in your slide deck.
Do not be lazy in spending a few extra minutes working on the details of your font for the slide deck.
Image Source: Image created by Author using Canva
Use the image as a checklist.
If you still feel a little lost, lazy, or simply slammed with a ton of workload; hit me up.
Let’s talk and ease your burden of making a swashbuckling presentation. You can focus on delivering the content while I craft that sleek slide deck for you. Sounds good?
I write about small businesses, health, and life as I see it on Medium, LinkedIn, and my website.