Color versus Black and White Presentations

I have a colleague of mine that is working on a project.  The management team wants to have their presentation in black and white to save on costs.  My colleague wants to do the presentation in color and provide documentation why it would be more effective.  Does anyone have any documentation they know of that states that color presentations are more effective than black and white? 

7 Replies
Jackson Hamner

eLearning and color:

How will making a presentation in black and white save money? Is this something being printed out? Presentations being displayed on a screen or through a projector shouldn't cost any more if you have color in it...

Christy Tucker

What is the content? Are there visuals or diagrams in the content where color is an essential part of the content itself (not just decorative)?

I'm assuming this is something printed for face-to-face training since you're talking about costs.

I did a quick check through my library of research and found this reference. This isn't quite what you're looking for, but it might get you in the right direction.

According to a 2002 study, the “appeal of the overall visual design of a site, including layout, typography, font size, and color schemes,” is the number one factor we use to evaluate a website’s credibility.

Rachel Barnum

I struggle with the idea that it absolutely needs to be in color. While it would be nice and arguably marginally easier to develop/comprehend in color, you can do effective visual representations in black/white/shades of gray.

Would you still be able to present the materials (I guess it's a PowerPoint or?) in color on the screen? The printouts, (and I'm assuming here), would just be for later reference and taking notes on?
Steve VE

I think the answer depends on what you think colour is for. If your colleague thinks that colour makes things "look nice" or "more interesting" and uses colour without any particular intent you can probably go with black and white and focus on good typography.

But if your colleague understands that colour is a method of communication that can have a significant impact on the reader's comprehension of the material and their perception of the author then colour has a definite benefit. This assumes that the designer has a good grounding in colour theory and can use colour effectively.

Taking a quick look around there's a lot of good material on colour theory (like this one: Color Theory for Designers) but not much research on colour and presentations. I did find one on colour and learning (The Impact of Color on Learning) but it deals with colour in the school environment. Your best bet may be How Color Can Affect Learning which deals with colour and cognition.