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

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