Before – After: Fun with Type

This “Before/After” post will be a bit different than my usual ones. I have included more than one example of a “Before” and “After” pair. I did this because I felt this topic needed more examples to be really clear.

Which brings us to today’s topic; fun with type. We have all be recommended using full bleed images on our slides and I am a big advocate of that myself. But it is not always necessary to use a large image. Sometimes the point can be expressed simply with text. By being a little bit creative with the formatting of the text the result can have a significant impact.

For example we are expressing or making the point that something is big. Instead of finding an image of a large boat, an elephant, a skyscraper, a mountain or whatever else you can think of, just type the words “BIG”. Then make the text super big, maybe even bleed the text off the slide. This is shown in the “Before” and “After” below. This clearly communicates the point that we are talking about something BIG.

Not everything lends itself to this type of creative use of type. For example it is possible to write the text “small” and use a really small font-size. The problem is that no one will be able to read it and it might annoy the audience. People like to see and understand what is on the slides even if you as a presenter say the word small.

Below are the “Before” and “After” examples.

What are some examples you can think of?

Before 1:

Before-Big

After 1:

After - BIG


Before 2:

Before - Spacious

After 2:

After - Spacious


Before 3:

Before - Warm

After 3:

After - Warm

Before-After: Make it BIG

When designing slides always remember to design for the last row. Make sure that whatever it is you are showing on your slides is big enough to be seen from the back of the room. If you have text on your slides, make the font size big enough so that it can easily be read from the last row. There is nothing worse than being in the back of the room not being able to see what is on the slides being presented. So remember to make it BIG.

Before:

Before - Small Text

After:

After - Big Text

Image Credit: OeilDeNuit

How to manually change kerning in PowerPoint 2010

When using really large font sizes in PowerPoint the space between some characters might not come out perfect. The area between characters is know as kerning and you can read more about its importance here. The bottom line is, if the kerning is off the text will look funny. So here we will look at one way you can use to adjust the kerning in a large typeset text in PowerPoint.

1. You can see that the space between the first 1 and the 0 is much bigger than between the other characters. This is very noticeable and it feels like the 1 doesn’t belong to the other text.

Bad Kerning

2. Select only the 1. Or the first character before the space you want to adjust.

Highlight First Character

3. Click on the character spacing drop down in the “Font” group on the “Home” tab and choose “More Spacing…”. You can also get to this by clicking on the little icon in the bottom right of the “Font” group to see additional options.

More Spacing Drop Down

4. A dialog box will show up that allows you to change character spacings

Character Spacing Dialog Box

5. There is a drop down menu with 3 options:

  • Normal – This is just the normal spacing
  • Expanded – This is if you want more space between the characters
  • Condensed – This is if you want to reduce the space between characters

Drop Down Alternatives Character Spacing

We will choose “Condensed” since we want less space. Now we must decide by how many points we will reduce the space in the text input box. We experiment with different values and end up with 20.

Condensed By 20

6. And now we have text that has better kerning and is more balanced

Better Kerning

Before-After: Too Many Fonts

When designing a slide it is necessary to choose how many fonts or typefaces to use. The answer to the question of how many different typefaces to use in one SlideShow is typically one or two. There might be times when you need to use more, but there has to be a good reason for doing so.

Many typefaces comes with many different sizes and weights (bold, light, black etc. ). They can also be italics or condensed. This gives you a large amount of variations within one typeface. You can easily create hierarchy within your text by choosing different combinations of weights and sizes etc. and you do not need to use many different typefaces. By using fewer typefaces it is easier to create harmony within your slides and in your presentation.

Below is a “Before” that uses 3 different typefaces and the design is kind of messy. In the “After” only one typeface is used so we have nice harmony and by using different weights and sizes we can create a nice hierarchy to focus the viewer on the important parts of the message.

Before:

Before - Too many typefaces

After:

After - Only one typeface

How to Embed Fonts in PowerPoint 2010

When sharing a presentation with other people you may experience them calling you up saying that things are not aligned and look funny. This could be the result of you using a font in the presentation they don’t have on their computers. PowerPoint then substitutes your font with one on their system. To avoid this, it is possible to embed the fonts you use in the presentation. That’s what we are looking at today.

The place to find the settings for embedding fonts is in the PowerPoint backstage (the file tab), under “options” on the left side.

PowerPoint Backstage View

After clicking on options a new window opens up, the PowerPoint Options dialog. Click on “Save” on the left side and at the bottom of the window are the settings available for embedding fonts.

PowerPoint Options Dialog

Click the little checkbox next to “Embed fonts in the file”. There are two options; one for embedding only the characters used in the presentation and one for embedding all characters in the alphabet. By choosing the first option it will help to keep the file size down. This can be a good option if the people you are sending the presentation to are not going to edit it. If you are sharing the presentation with someone for them to make edits, then you are probably better off choosing to embed all characters.

PowerPoint Options Dialog Embed Font

And that’s how you embed fonts in your presentation.

Before-After: Leading

Leading is the amount of space between lines in a paragraph of text. I guess this is sometimes called line spacing. Too much or too little space between your lines can make the text difficult to read. Sometimes when you make your text really big, the space between lines increases too much. It becomes too big. In slideware the leading is usually set by default to about 20 percent larger then the font size. So if you use very big fonts in your slides you may have to adjust the leading (or line spacing) to make related text closer to each other so they do in fact appear related.

Below is a before and after showing a slide with the default leading (in PowerPoint) and a slide with adjusted leading. The amount of adjustment you must make depends on the size of the font used and a visual inspection of the result of the adjustment. Remember too little space is also bad.

Before:

Before - Default Leading

After:

After - Adjusted Leading

Image Credit: Spatial Mongrel