Use gradients to add flair to your design

We're often asked, 'how did you do that?' when sharing our PowerPoint designs. And very often, the answer is relatively simple. This article will address a simple-but-effective method of taking your slide design to the next level, by adding gradients to the graphical elements.

Let's say you have a slide that looks like this:

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It's a simple design with a message that's easy to interpret. But the art is kind of flat. This is a great place to add gradients. We'll start with the arrows. Click on the arrow, then click on the Fill Color icon on your drawing toolbar (it looks like a bucket), then choose Fill Effects. You will get a dialog box that looks like this. (For the sake of this article, we've added some yellow boxes to highlight options we want to point out.)

 

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Here you can see all the choices you have when it comes to gradients. For the red arrow we will select one color gradient. You can see highlighted in yellow the other options we chose. We adjusted the slider bar a little more toward light and for the variant we chose the one that makes the object's fill darker in the middle.

Now we'll make the same changes to the green arrow:

 

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Next we'll work on the starburst. That shape will get a two color gradient that comes from the center. You can see we chose yellow and white for the two colors and the variant that makes the starburst white in the middle and yellow on the outside.

 

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We felt this slide could use one more graphical element to help with its design, so we added two "lines." (They're really short and wide boxes that we are going to add a gradient fill to.)

 

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This time we're going to adjust the transparency of our gradient to make these "lines" look like they have some motion. With the line selected, we go back to our Fill Effects dialog box. We've selected a white gradient, but we're going to adjust the transparency and make the "To" 100 percent transparent. We'll also change this gradient to a vertical Shading Style.

 

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Here's the final product. With these simple adjustments we've taken art that looked rather flat on the slide to something that has some depth, dimension and motion.

 

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In our next newsletter, we'll talk a little more about gradients and share with you one of our all-time favorite tricks!

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