Sight isn’t just a signal passed along the optic nerve. Considering that our senses evolved to help us be the best hunters, hiders, mate-finders and child-rearers possible, it’s no surprise! By the time pictures of our surroundings reach our consciousness, our brain has already given them a good sorting.
You might be surprised at how much more effective visual presentations can be when we take this history into account. Researchers have found that colours from a natural palette, such as earth tones, are more accepted by the brain, which means a lighter background gives greater readability. Make your presentation background colour a soft beige instead of a glaring white.
Be sure to use the power of threes — rely on two complementary colors for the body of your information — but then throw in one contrasting colour choice for material you really want to stand out. There’s a principle called “The Isolation Effect” which says viewers recognize and remember a word or image much more accurately when it contrasts with its surroundings.
Print out two copies of a full-page magazine or newspaper article. Have a friend circle a handful of random words on both copies — but use colour markers for one copy and black marker for the other. Scan your eyes over the copy with the emphasized information in black. Now do the same for the copy with colour. Was it easier to locate the coloured circles?
How do you use colour to present information? Share your experience on Facebook and help others gain from your experience!