October 8 2008

Using color

by Barbie in Formatting

Color can be an effective document-design tool, but many writers avoid using it simply because they don’t know how. Since there are no hard and fast rules for using color in a document, deciding when and how to use color can be a challenge.

However, color can be particularly effective in helping readers search for information. If you’re writing a complex technical manual or designing a Web site, colored headings can help guide readers through the text. When categorizing information using color, assign color codes in a meaningful manner, and limit the number of colors used by carefully selecting only those categories that should be distinguished.

Remember that the overuse of color can have an adverse effect on reader comprehension. William Horton explains that “the more colors that are used, the less the impact of each.”

So, don’t be afraid to use color. Instead, learn how to use it effectively.