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Color Scheming

As hi-res color displays begin to dominate not only the office but the lecture and conference circuit, graphics have gained new prominence, with misguided attempts by corporate sponsors of conferences to impose a standard “look-and-feel” for entire conferences through distributing “templates” for presentation packages like Persuasion or PowerPoint.

Part of the problem is that the templates are either developed by software types who have no sense of aesthetics and understand little or nothing about communicating information, or else by graphics arts types who may have a sense of aesthetics, but still know little or nothing about communicating information. The former produce the same garish garbage as can be found in many personalized desktop color schemes; the latter produce those lovely templates with lushly shaded backgrounds that have become the hallmark of the audio-visual upper class. The typical color scheme shades from rich purple through bright blue, with royal-blue headlines and mint-green “bullets.” Beautiful look and feel! Only trouble is, half the audience can't read half the slides. At one recent conference nearly everyone over forty admitted to me that they couldn't read the gorgeous rear-projection displays, but instead relied on the printed handouts, which were done in black-and-white, of course.


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