Find the Perfect PowerPoint Font in 5 Steps

You want the perfect font to complement your perfect picture. For instance, this uncreative slide has the default Calibri font. Ugh! Which font would work better? Here’s five steps to find the perfect font.

1. Determine the shape/lines in the picture. Use the drawing tools in PowerPoint (or just eyeball it) to find the shape and character of the major lines in the image. Are they more straight or curved? Thick or thin? Pointed or flat? In this picture, the major shape is straight lines with a lot of irregularities like knobs and sharp spikes.

2. Brainstorm possible fonts. Now brainstorm a list of fonts that match the major shapes. In this case, I’m looking for fonts that are straight but with irregularities or sharp serifs. Any of these fonts might work.

3. Consider the personality of each font. Is it serious or playful? Loud or soft? Shabby or elegant? What personality best matches the image and the mood you’re trying to establish? In this case, I’ve sorted the list with the more serious fonts at the top and the more playful fonts at the bottom. We’re going for a more serious mood so will try the fonts at the top first (left), rather than the playful fonts (right).

4.  Don’t create an invisible frame. Be careful not to place the text so it creates an invisible picture frame around your slide (left). Instead, make the borders on the top and side different widths (right) and eliminate any hint of a picture frame.

 

5. Sweep with the picture contours. Finally, place or angle your text so it sweeps naturally with the contours in the image. In this case, putting the words on separate lines creates a right margin that sweeps up and right, parallel with the lines of barbed wire (left). Or, a slight angle marries the text and image (right).

This blog post was inspired by a chapter in John McWade’s book How to Design Cool Stuff. Special thanks to grendelkhan for the menacing barbed wire photo.

About the author: Bruce Gabrielle is author of Speaking PowerPoint: the new language of business, showing a 12-step method for creating clearer and more persuasive PowerPoint slides for boardroom presentations. Subscribe to this blog or join my LinkedIn group to get new posts sent to your inbox.

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