Guidelines

Guidelines for preparing Slide presentation themes and templates for Government

Slide presentation themes and templates help you create content that looks attractive and consistent while avoiding lots of manual formatting. The purpose of creating these is to store, reuse and share with others.

A theme is a predefined set of colours, fonts, and visual effects that you apply to your slides for a unified, professional look.Using theme gives a presentation to have a harmonious and professional appearance with minimal effort.

template is a theme plus certain content for a specific purpose. A template has design elements such as colours, fonts, backgrounds, graphics and visual effects that work together to augment viewer experience.

This document is contextual to the themes and templates prepared for presentations in government, and the objective is to provide some basic guidelines to prepare such slide presentations. This document is a beta version and subject to changes with the addition of newer and additional features and tools.

Visual Harmony

Creating visual harmony in a presentation is important in bringing enriched viewer experience. It refers to the creative and skilful use of lines, shapes, images, fonts, colours, textures and patterns to create a non-chaotic, pleasing and satisfying experience. When the design elements are presented as though they belong together, it is said harmonious. A visually harmonious presentation will attract the eye and convey a sense that the presenter is sensitive to viewer experience.

Good presenters make use of several strategies to develop and deliver solid and visually appealing presentations.

Colour

Colour is often associated with specific emotional contexts. Selecting a dominant colour that matches the intended emotional message of the presentation is a good strategy, provided that secondary colours are harmonious and blend well. Avoid awkward, non-complementing and colour contrasts, including red text on black backgrounds. A harmonious colour palette can easily enhance the look of the entire presentation

Imagery

Certain shapes and images have a psychological meaning you can weave into your presentation. Use images selectively and avoid generic clip art or photos. Let each visual element convey a deeper meaning. Images help make a presentation more visual, but that does not mean too many of them can be used in a slide. Remember, it’s a presentation, not a photo album.

Charts and graphs are integral to government presentations. Graphs with too-small text or hard-to-see 3D effects prove a distraction. Keep it simple, clean and legible, to keep it powerful. It is important to ensure appropriate placement and well aligned.

Balanced Design

The aesthetics of a presentation can affect a user’s first impressions of credibility. For this reason, building a presentation that incorporates basic principles of harmonious design can improve the audience’s trust in the quality of the underlying work. Design presentations with adequate white space, clean fonts and balance across the four quadrants in the screen.

Animation and Moving images

Inclusion of  animation and moving images can enliven a presentation. But, do not  let animation and motion graphics become intrusive. Users lose patience quickly for conflicting, contrasting and extended wipes and fades between slides. There are plenty of clever transitions built into today’s presentation tools, but most quality presentations contains minimal transitions.

Visual Identity

Incorporating government identities such as national emblem, government logos and visuals symbolics appropriately and positioning correctly is important in government presentations.

It is important to note that the position of flag and national emblem is on top of the presentation screens upholding the dignity of these national identities. Usage of such elements is subject to certain restrictions and code of conduct. They cannot be used as texture, pattern, bullet or non important screens.

Typography

Typography encompasses everything from fonts, to readability, text positioning and functionality. In presentations, typography is used to convey ideas but also to create a mood and invoke an emotional response that makes audience more receptive. The use of typefaces in a presentation should remain consistent. Viewers prefer familiar patterns of slides with coordinated design, and using different font styles in each slide will make your presentation look unprofessional and disjointed. Most design advice recommends using one font for all headers and one complementary font for all the body text.

The basic rules of Typography in presentations :

  • Opt for minimal and optimal number of sentences per slide
  • If lists are used, 6 bullets / points per slide should cover it.
  • Make sure to leave enough space between lines of text.
  • Titles should be much bigger and distinguishable from the body copy content
  • Bulleted text or body copy should be kept in a size which are legible especially considering the elderly and visually challenged
  • Use upper case/ capital letters only for Titles, Headings or Acronyms
  • Embed the fonts in the presentations for safety reasons
  • Highlight key facts, numbers and percentages
  • Use bullets, not numbers for non sequential items
  • Use bullet points to cover component of each idea.
  • Avoid the ‘All Word’ Slide – use short bulleted statements
  • Font size of the Content text ranging from 16 to 32 points
  • Font size of Title text ranging from 36 to 72 points

Alignment

Alignment is the process of laying out various screen elements and text of a presentation in a structured order based on hierarchy and grouping. Good text alignments enable better readability and enhances the look and feel of the screens. Presentation tools have efficient interfaces for carrying out alignments quickly.

Top two categories of Presentations in Government

In government, the kind of presentations, the number of slides, detailing etc. varies. Top/ Senior level presentations are generally not lengthy or content heavy. Hence these are made with minimum number of slides with minimalistic text content in each slides. Here are some tips for preparing presentations at the top two levels:

1. Presentations for Senior Level Officers:
The appraisal presentations for the higher authorities made by the Secretary level officers, the slides would have to be containing minimal textual content and more of infographics / visualizations on impressive screens. The 5/5 rule which may be followed is:

  • Not to have more than FIVE words per text line
  • Not to have more than FIVE lines of text per slide

2. Presentation for National Project Reviews / Appraisals:
The appraisal presentations for the higher authorities made by the Joint Secretary level officers appraising on the status and progress of projects of national importance the slides, would have Achievement screens, Status dashboard displays, Timelines, Infographics etc. Here, the 7/7 rule which may be followed is:

  • Not to have more than SEVEN words per text line
  • Not to have more than SEVEN lines of text per slide

Take advantage of the Smart Art

Smart Art is a diagramming feature in a Presentation building tool that allows you to create visual representations of information. Smart Art graphics can be designed to match the look and feel of a presentation and can be used to create process flows, cycle diagrams, pyramids and organisational charts. Smart Art is a way to turn ordinary text into something more visually appealing. It helps draw attention to important information or make information easier to interpret and understand.

The advantages of using SmartArt are:

  • SmartArt lets you visually represent a variety of concepts and ideas that might not work too well with just text.
  • SmartArt looks coordinated with your presentation, and you can match it with the look of your presentation.
  • Smart Art lets you easily manage and edit the content within its graphics.

Copyrights and Usage privileges

1. It is to be ensured that the photographs used in the templates are free to use and not copyrighted

2. It is to be ensured that the visual elements, infographics, icons, etc. are free to use and not copyrighted

3. It is to be ensured that the open Fonts and Types are mainly to be used. Other fonts need to be free to use and not copyrighted.

Checklist

1. Presentation title is apt with the name of the Presenter, and the date of the presentation

2. Introductory or ‘overview’ slide, setting out what will be covered in the presentation

3. Factual check: Statistics and data provided in the content are updated as on the date

4. Overuse of acronyms and where I have used them, I have also given the full name so that audience know what they mean

5. Left justified all text. This keeps things neat and easy to read.

6. Usage of Sans serif font (e.g. Arial, Calibri, Verdana) that is easy to read, and the text is big enough for people at the back of the room to read

7. Consistency in the use of colours, fonts and transitions throughout the presentation

8. Follow KIS (Keep It Simple) rule

9. No bullet if it is a single item

10. Check for consistency in positioning Content text and elements

11. Footer on all slides except Title screen

12. Use content sensitive title on each slide

13. Use contrasting colors for slide background and text; dark background with light text or light background with dark text, without being distracting

14. Format slide titles by capitalizing first letter of significant words (This is Title Case)

15. Format text in body of slides with left justified; capitalize only first letter of first word in each line and proper nouns (This is sentence case)

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