UWTV Production has established the following guidelines for use when creating PowerPoint slide shows for TV programs, lectures and other presentations. Download the file at the bottom of this page to learn more.
The Four Design Guidelines
- Safe Title
- Font Size and Style
- Lines and Charts
- Colors and Backgrounds
- Safe title
When presenting graphics on video, the most important thing to consider is "safe title." TV screens do not typically show the full frame; instead they crop the edges to fill the screen. To ensure nothing is cropped off, set a boundary 1 inch from all edges (that is, about 80 percent of the full screen size). All important information and text should reside within these boundaries. Pictures and nonessential information can fall outside of this area.
- Font size and style
UWTV Production recommends that fonts be between 24 points and 32 points in size. The minimum readable on-screen point size is 20. Also, avoid having too much text because people won't be able to read it easily. If the text flows outside the safe title area, split the information into two or more slides. Thin serif fonts, such as Times, do not work well on TV screens. Use sans serif fonts instead (e.g., Arial, Helvetica, Palatino, Lucinda Sans).
- Charts and Lines
The bigger text and legends are, the more readable the information presented on charts. Thin lines will "vibrate" on video because of the way TV screens update the frames. All lines should be at least 2.25 points thick.
- Colors and Backgrounds
A dark background with light foreground text is best for TV and your audience (see template below). But light backgrounds with dark text are acceptable. Keep backgrounds simple and limit the number of colors in text. Other guidelines include avoiding highly saturated colors, especially red, and avoiding a large areas of pure white.
Tip: Master slides
Use UWTV Production's PowerPoint Template to start. The safe title area is already set. Modify the master slide as necessary before creating your presentation. To modify the master slide click: View > Master > Slide Master. Use this master slide to change the font, color and background for all slides. IMPORTANT: Go to View > Normal to close the master slide before entering information for individual slides.
Tip: Formatting Pictures
Pictures with pure white backgrounds should be toned down by right clicking the mouse on the picture, then selecting Format Picture, lower the brightness by 10 percent.
Download the PowerPoint Guidlines (Adobe PDF) and UWTV Production's PowerPoint Template (Microsoft PPT).