People in ancient times spent hours to carve a single alphabet on walls of monuments. But today, when all it takes is a click, it should be well utilized to convert your presentation into a lasting and impactful one. Not so long ago, changing font style or size meant changing heavy pieces of metal known as typefaces which were used for printing purposes. Things changed with the introduction of computers and more so when Microsoft-Office was launched.

MS-Office has come a long way since its launch in 1990 and now offers more than 100 fonts which can be edited in many different ways. But while it can be creatively used to make an impressive presentation in PowerPoint, it can also act as the bullet that backfires and destroys an otherwise amazing presentation.

Font plays an important role in your presentation. Taking an analogy, say you are the creative head. You may be a good old employee who works overtime and meets deadlines but consistently fail to come up with creative ideas for which were hired in the first place. What’s the use, right! Similarly, a wrong choice of font can be the deal breaker, irrespective of how informative or relevant your content is. So, here are those 8 mistakes that you must avoid while selecting your font style, size, color and other editable aspects of fonts in your presentation.

1. Choose the right font style. It does matter

Imagine you are on a desert safari and you come across an ancient scripture but when you open it, you see a 21st century font- printed in a uniform font size and style- much like Book Antiqua. Something would surely feel out of place because you would expect to look at a font that belongs to the ancient era, a font that is handwritten, cursive and most probably faded. So eventually you decide that it’s a knock off and of no value. Similarly, this PowerPoint slide has got almost everything right except the font style. The font here makes the slide look like something out of a comic book. Letting your audience know about a serious topic such as diseases and using a font which one would ideally use for a kindergarten is not the best idea for your presentation. A wrong font can be the reason that your audience does not take your content seriously and the presentation fails to leave a lasting impression.

Wrong font style can kill your presentation. And your sales too

2. Simple is good. Choose the right color.

You like colors. We all do. But there is a coloring book available for that. Your PowerPoint presentation is not a coloring book. Choose colors that match the theme and the background of the presentation. Don’t fill it up with irrelevant or unnecessary colors. Pink color can never be part of a sales presentation. A red color text should not be use while talking about advantages of something. Adding unwanted colors to your slide will not only make it look unattractive but will also not assist you to engage the customer.

Audience is not color blind. Choose the right ones

3. Choose the right size for the desired effect.

If you are a fantastic four fan, you would know that although it is ‘The Thing’ who stands out the most because of his size, it is ‘Mister Fantastic’ who is the lead. Why? Because bigger is not always better. Choosing the right size is as important as choosing the right style. Bigger font sizes are used time and again to make the text stand out but at the same time it might appear to be too loud and annoying to the audience. If a particular point or text is way bigger than the rest of the slide, it appears that the point is being forced upon the audience. Similarly, if the background has life size images of a product, then using a large font will only make the product look smaller or inferior.

Big is better. Biggest is not

4. We all need our space. So do the fonts.

I am sure you are not liking how the alphabets are getting so cozy with each other.

Neither does the audience. Spacing is another factor that affects your presentation’s impact on the audience. Widely spaced characters might give an impression that the presenter is trying to cover up the space on the screen (Read lack of content and ideas). Tightly packed font might make it unreadable and the audience might eventually lose interest.

This is a perfect example of how font spacing can also ruin things for the presenter.

It should be just right - Not too Close, Not too Far

5. Do not use MISUSE Bold, Italics and Underline.

Just because it’s free and easily available and one of the first features you learnt to use, doesn’t mean that you have to use it everywhere. Underline should only be used for heading or highlighting some part of the text or for a hyperlink. Underlining sub points especially when there are a lot of them can be an eye sore. Not only does it make your presentation look unprofessional but it also makes the audience miss out on the important points of your presentation. Use Underline only if you would do the same if it were a handwritten note.

Yes we all know Bold, Italics and Underline. Please don't overdo them

6. Excessive use of fonts

Too many cooks spoil the broth and too many fonts definitely spoil the slide.

Using fonts creatively is one thing but stuffing your slide or presentation with multiple font creates the exact opposite effect on the audience. Too many fonts imply that the presenter was in a hurry and wanted to show a creative side which most probably does not exist. Use two fonts in a slide and three at the most in a presentation. A font style should be changed only when it’s needed and not unnecessarily. The audience should know the reason behind the change in font.

No of font styles used is inversely propotional to no of impressed indiviiduals in audience

7. Unnecessary use of artistic effects

At times it is best to leave text like text and not try your artistic skills in your presentation.

We all might have a hidden artist inside us but turning your PowerPoint slide into a canvas is definitely not a very good idea. Shadows, reflections and glow effects are meant for slides that only have the title or very limited text. It might look out of place unless the slide is for 5th grade students. All these distractions are a sign of lack of content and creativity. At times ‘simple is good’ mantra works well than fiddling with most features of PowerPoint.

No trate de ser un Picasso ( Don't try to be a Picasso )

8. Using customized fonts

This is not exactly a mistake since most users are not aware of this. Every time you decide to use a customized or downloaded font, it is meant to run on your computer and not on any other computer that might try to run your presentation. That means, if the system on which you are planning to show your presentation doesn’t have the same font installed, it would either switch it back to the default settings or show some weird icons that appear like alien language. Save your text as an image if you wish to use the customized font for your presentation. That ways, you won’t have to worry if the font is on a client’s system or not.

One does not simply use a custom font

Any other font blunder that we left out? Share with us in the comments below.