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What is the 60 30 10 color rule in Powerpoint?

PowerPoint presentations allow users to make visual slides with text, images, charts, and more. When designing PowerPoint slides, one important consideration is choosing an effective and aesthetically pleasing color scheme. The 60 30 10 color rule is a guideline commonly used by designers to create color schemes that look professional and cohesive.

The 60 30 10 Color Rule Explained

The 60 30 10 color rule recommends using 3 different colors in set proportions for your PowerPoint presentation:

  • 60% of one dominant color
  • 30% of a secondary color
  • 10% of an accent color

Here is a breakdown of the purpose and use of each of those 3 colors:

1. Dominant Color – 60%

The dominant color should be used for the majority of the slide. This provides consistency and brand identity throughout the presentation. The dominant color appears in elements like:

  • Backgrounds
  • Text
  • Headings
  • Borders
  • Tables
  • Charts
  • Graphics

2. Secondary Color – 30%

The secondary color provides visual contrast from the dominant color. It draws attention to key points. The secondary color is used for elements like:

  • Some text
  • Highlighted information
  • Select graphics
  • Visual separators
  • Emphasized data

3. Accent Color – 10%

The accent color adds visual interest in small doses. It is used sparingly on elements like:

  • Titles
  • Subheadings
  • Key data points
  • Icons
  • Borders
  • Lines
  • Shadows

Benefits of the 60 30 10 Color Rule

Using the 60 30 10 principle for PowerPoint color schemes has many advantages:

1. Provides Visual Consistency

Having one dominant color throughout gives the presentation a consistent, cohesive look. This makes it look polished and professional.

2. Establishes Brand Identity

The dominant color can align with a company’s brand colors. This makes the presentation identifiable with the brand.

3. Creates Contrast

Using contrasting colors helps key information stand out from the dominant color. This draws the audience’s attention to important points.

4. Adds Visual Interest

The accent color injects visual variety that keeps the audience engaged without being distracting.

5. Appears More Aesthetically Pleasing

Carefully chosen color combinations look more aesthetically pleasing according to color theory and design principles.

How to Select a 60 30 10 Color Scheme

Here is a step-by-step guide to selecting a 60 30 10 color scheme for your PowerPoint presentation:

Step 1: Choose Dominant Color

  • Consider brand colors if applicable
  • Select a neutral color like gray if no brand colors
  • Avoid overly bright or saturated colors

Step 2: Choose Secondary Color

  • Select a color that contrasts well with dominant color
  • Consider colors complementary to dominant on color wheel
  • Light colors often work well with neutral dominant colors

Step 3: Choose Accent Color

  • Pick a bright, saturated color for impact
  • Look for a complementary color to dominant and secondary choices
  • Use accent color sparingly

Step 4: Check Color Contrast

  • Make sure color combinations have enough contrast to be readable
  • Use a color contrast checker if unsure
  • Adjust colors if needed to reach acceptable contrast ratios

Examples of Effective 60 30 10 Color Schemes

Here are some examples of effective 60 30 10 color schemes commonly used in PowerPoint presentations:

Color Scheme Dominant Color Secondary Color Accent Color
Blue-Orange-Yellow Navy Blue Orange Yellow
Red-Blue-Green Red Royal Blue Lime Green
Gray-Light Blue-Dark Blue Gray Light Blue Dark Blue
Black-White-Purple Black White Purple

These color schemes demonstrate effective use of the 60 30 10 rule with dominant, secondary, and accent colors working in harmony. The key is choosing colors with enough contrast that also coordinate well.

Tips for Applying the 60 30 10 Color Rule

Here are some useful tips for successfully implementing the 60 30 10 color principle:

  • Use the dominant color for slide backgrounds to tie design together
  • Highlight important text, data, and graphics with the secondary color
  • Use the accent color sparingly for maximum impact
  • Beware of using too many different colors, which looks uncoordinated
  • Consider font colors carefully to maintain readability
  • Use colors strategically to support the presentation content
  • Check that color combinations meet accessibility standards
  • Consider trying out different schemes with 60-30-10 proportions
  • Don’t be afraid to tweak the color balance if needed

Common Problems to Avoid

When applying the 60 30 10 color rule, there are some mistakes to watch out for:

  • Choosing colors with insufficient contrast – Text may be hard to read
  • Using too many different colors randomly – Can look messy and amateur
  • Applying colors inconsistently – Reduces cohesion of presentation
  • Overusing the accent color – Defeats purpose of using it sparingly
  • Choosing colors unrelated to brand identity or presentation – Appears disjointed
  • Applying colors arbitrarily without purpose – Loses effectiveness for highlighting
  • Failing to check if color choices meet accessibility standards – May exclude some audiences

Being mindful of these potential missteps can help you successfully implement an attractive 60 30 10 color scheme.


The 60 30 10 color rule provides a straightforward formula for creating professional, cohesive color schemes for PowerPoint presentations. Using one dominant color, a secondary color for contrast, and an accent color for flair allows slides to be visually consistent yet interesting. Careful selection of colors with enough contrast and coordination is key. Applying colors purposefully to support the presentation content also improves effectiveness. Using the 60 30 10 principle with well-chosen colors can take your PowerPoint visual design to the next level.