Colours and their meanings in presentations.

3 minute read

If you’re giving a public presentation on behalf of your company, you’ll want to make use of its corporate colours and brand style guide.

No idea what this means? Your organisation will likely have a set of guidelines that ensure its visuals are expressed consistently across communications – ask your internal design staff and they’ll tell you more.

However, if you’ve got free reign over the palette of your presentation, it can be difficult to know where to start. It’s no secret that colours have developed social and cultural connotations over time – in fact, a huge portion of our subconscious assessment is determined by colour alone. As such, colour choice can dramatically influence people’s perceptions of – and emotional responses to – your messaging.

We’ve touched on the importance of colour before when we looked at the importance of branding in corporate presentation design, but by gaining a deeper understanding of colour psychology and semantics, you’ll be able to choose a scheme that closely corresponds with and amplifies your messaging.

Colours and Their Meanings

Widely recognised as dynamic, passionate, and even aggressive, red can be a good way to go if your presentation is very energetic and animated. For example, you might want to harness the colour’s boldness to create excitement and enthusiasm around the launch of a new product, service, or initiative.

But beware – predominant use of red can be overpowering and can tire your audience’s eyes very quickly.

A colour that’s perceived as friendly and inviting, yellow is a good choice for inclusion when you’re aiming to deliver a positive message. Its warmth can support messaging that is customer-focused and outgoing.

By combining the fiery power of red and the inviting warmth of yellow, orange is seen as strong but also lively and warm. It is the colour of innovation and success, and can be used to inspire your audience and generate excitement.

It is often used in calls to action because of its association with positive attitudes, so if you want your audience to do something during or after your presentation, orange is here to help!

Blue is connected with ideas of calmness, responsibility and trust – making it a suitable choice for financial services, healthcare and technology companies.

Make use of blue when delivering a very metered and calculated message with your presentation, and it will help instil a sense of confidence and dependability in your content.

It’s a no-brainer that green is largely associated with nature and the environment. Think Starbucks – their verdant branding reflects their desire to be perceived as an ethical business and chimes with their involvement in Fairtrade, ethical sourcing, and community projects.

But you don’t have to be talking directly about this topic to make effective use of the colour. On a metaphorical level, green signifies new beginnings and growth – making it fitting for a presentation about new directions and future plans.

Purple signifies wealth, royalty and stability, and can help reinforce ideas of luxury when the subject of your presentation is a premium product, service or experience.

Purple also implies creativity and intelligence, which can help add depth and sophistication to the detail of your presentation.

Colour Contrast

When choosing colours, it’s important to check that they work well together – both in terms of aesthetic and readability. For example, using yellow text against a white background will create serious legibility issues – not a good choice if you want your audience to see what’s on your slides.

Many other colour combinations just clash terribly (see: blue text against a red background) but don’t worry – you can use this handy colour contrast checker to figure out what works well and what doesn’t.

Buffalo7 is a dedicated PowerPoint presentation agency offering a premium presentation design service. It’s our passion and why we exist, so stay tuned to our blog for professional presentation tips.


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