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Western Libraries

Three-Minute Thesis: Slide Design

Prepare your Scholars Week presentation

Designing Your Slide

An integral part of your presentation is a single, static slide that you will display while presenting. Your slide will also be included in the Scholars Week Virtual Gallery.

Think about how your slide will support the central metaphor or story that you are sharing. Keep it simple; one impactful image could suffice. Avoid writing out findings or arguments from your thesis. 


If your slide includes text, your font choice and combinations will impact the mood.

Create contrast by combining a serif font with a sans serif font.

Vary font size for headlines, subtitles, and body text to create visual hierarchy (so your audience knows where to look)

two mugs with lettering; the letters on one have small strokes at the end.

"Serif v. Sans Serif..." by babageik is marked with CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.


Use two to three colors at most.

Color combinations

High contrast: Complementary colors are on opposite sides of the color wheel.

three circles showing a line connecting colors. blue and yellow, purple and green, and orange and blue-green.

"Color Wheel - Complementary Colors" by thirtydaysweater is marked with CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Accent: Analogous colors are adjacent on the color wheel. 

three circles showing three similar colors that are next to each other. shades of green, shades of blue-purple, shades of orange-yellow

Color wheel - Analogous colors by thirtydaysweater is marked with CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Rule of Thirds

This is a visual composition concept that can help you use your slide space. Divide it in thirds horizontally and vertically. Then place important elements along the lines or where they intersect.

a white space divided into nine sections by a grid with two equally spaced horizontal lines and two vertical lines

"Rule of Thirds" by unleashingmephotography is marked with CC BY 2.0.