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Freshen Up Your Colors

Monday, July 20, 2009 at 12:22 PM EDT

Photo (c) sundstrom, ID849660,

You can keep your presentations fresh by updating the colors you use on a regular basis. While the use of color should always support the message of your presentation, there’s no requirement that you have to use the same set of colors year in and year out.

Blue can still mean “business” and green can still evoke images of growth and success, just in slightly more up-to-date shades and tints. To find those new colors, visit Pantone’s website for their seasonal color forecasts.

Pantone is a company that standardizes color specifications for a wide variety of industries and applications from printing to fashion. Several times a year they release color forecast reports for upcoming seasons. The latest one I’ve looked at is the Fashion Color Report for Fall 2009.

Ten to twelve new colors are described in these short reports, and each color’s Pantone number and CMYK equivalents are provided. Unfortunately, PowerPoint only deals with RGB and HSL color schemes, so a bit of conversion is required. I found a simple one on the web created by Peter Forret and converted the CMYK values to RGB values that PowerPoint can understand.

Here is the table of CMYK to RGB values for the color trends listed in the Fall 2009 report. Note that the colors in the PDF will vary depending on the monitor/projector used. If you don’t like a particular color, try adjusting it within PowerPoint, or use an online tool such as Adobe’s kuler to help you select another shade (kuler can handle CMYK values and can convert them to RGB for you).

I’ve created a sample presentation using some of the new colors. Take a look and feel free to adapt for your own needs.