Presentation Magazine

The Committee of Easy Reading Presentations

One of the chapters of my next book (you didn’t know about it? sign up for updates at is all about fonts in presentations and which ones to use.

I’ve spent forever reading up on it and – sadly – it’s all a bit confusing. I’ve even gone back to pretty much the definitive documents for legibility in the UK, the Worboys report on road signs. Can you imagine many places were legibility is more important than road signs? No, nor can I. But that got me to thinking about road signs in general and a few things seem pretty obvious about their design which can immediately be transferred to slide design:

  • they’re visible, clearly, from a good distance away and they’re visible in poor conditions too – when there’s too much light or when there’s not much
  • they’re instantly understandable – no time is wasted in thinking ‘what does that mean’ and no one needs to explain them to you
  • they’re absolutely clear – there’s almost no chance of misunderstanding them
  • the implications of what you need to do now that you’ve seen the road sign are obvious – there’s a clear Call to Action, as it were
  • the signs are cross-cultural – there are no ‘insider’ assumptions in the design that you need to ‘get’

T-junction sign

Try this one, for example – a T junction coming up: it’s totally impossible to misunderstand it, right? And you know what you’ve got to do. Right?

So what am I getting at here? Simple.

Any slides in your presentations should be as effective a road traffic sign.

Take a look at your latest slide deck and ask yourself, honestly, does it pass the ‘traffic sign test’?

This blog post has been re-published by kind permission of Simon Raybould – View the original post


Published On: 10th Feb 2015

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