Flip Chart 101 – Designing Professional Looking Flip Chart Pages

Flip Chart 101 – Designing Professional Looking Flip Chart Pages

If you are going to spend time creatively drawing flip charts before the session begins, give some thought to what you will include on them. Find a large flat writing surface and spend some time writing out key points and adding any illustrations you would like on a writing tablet first. This will save wasting expensive flip chart pads when you make errors or decide to change something.Flip Chart 101 - Designing Professional Looking Flip Chart Pages

Designing Professional Looking Flip Chart Pages

The following strategies can assist in making your flip chart pages more effective and project a polished, professional image:

  • Use a straight edge of some sort.  If the paper is not lined, find a yard/meter stick, ruler or another straight-edged tool to ensure that lines of text are evenly spaced and are not at distracting angles.
  • Make sure that you use block lettering that is at least one to two inches high. Visibility is important if you want learners to grasp concepts and refer to your written materials. To help ensure that everyone can see what is on your flip charts from about 30-40 feet use block type font that has straight lines without fancy curls at the ends. This type and size of the lettering will allow a clean image and make reading easier for learners.
  • Use upper case letters or larger font size for title lines and upper and lower case for text lines. In order to help emphasize the words and help visually define the topic. This approach to writing will allow a more natural reading format. Consider the design of books and other publications. They have bold headers followed by text that is in upper and lower case letters. Extensive amounts of text in all capital letters are difficult to read and not normally used.
  • Limit the number of words to six to eight per line and the number of lines of text to six to eight (“six-by-eight rule”). This will provide a less cluttered look, and allow more lines of text to fit onto a sheet of paper.
  • Use horizontal lettering that runs across the page as opposed to vertical lettering that runs down the page from top to bottom. The exception would be if you are discussing an acronym, such as ADDIE (Assessment, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation), and wanted to the letters down the left side of the page and add a line of text for each letter.
  • Use no more than three columns per page. If you are going to use vertical columns of information leave a slight space between each column. Generally, you would only use this format for lists of words, numerical figures, or shorts points rather than sentences.
  • Limit yourself to one topic per page. This will prevent cramming irrelevant information onto the page — it will only confuse your participants.
  • Avoid using the bottom one-third of the page since some participants in the rear of the room will have difficulty seeing it over the heads of others.

For more useful and creative tips and strategies for making, using transporting and storing flip charts get a copy of The Big Book of Flip Charts: A Comprehensive Guide for Presenters, Trainers and Team Facilitators.

Using Flip Charts Like a Pro

Using Flip Charts Like a Pro

Here are three techniques that will add to your confidence level in using flip charts before any group:

Using Flip Charts Like a Pro1.   Prepare flip charts in advance and take time to design your pages on a paper pad or piece of copy paper before transferring them to sheets of flip chart paper. This will help you picture how they will look and will save you a lot of money in wasted flip chart paper…which is not cheap.

2.  When you start transferring your designs to flip chart paper, use a yardstick or straight edge to get the lines of text straight if you are not investing in the more expensive lined or graph type flip chart pads.

3.  Use three different colored water-based markers for your font to add visual variety and tie to brain-based learning research. Some research suggests that color in the learning environment stimulates brain neurons and can aid learning.

Using Flip Charts Like a Pro by The Creative Trainer – Robert W. Lucas, Awarding Winning Author, and Adult Learning Blogger

Stick to darker colors (black, brown, dark blue, and dark green) since these are more easily visible from a distance. Only use lighter pastel colors to highlight and add colorful graphics to enhance your text. Create all your header or title lines in one color and alternate sequentially with two other colors (e.g. blue, green, blue, green, etc) for lines of text.

BONUS TIP: Use the same colors for titles and text throughout all your pages during a session. This potentially helps learners mentally “tune in” and know what to expect. Otherwise, they may have to mentally pause and scan a subsequent page when it first appears in order to focus attention instead of listening to your initial comments about the page topic.

For additional ideas, techniques, and strategies for designing creative flip charts, get a copy of The Big Book of Flip Charts: A Comprehensive Guide for Presenters, Trainers, and Team Facilitators.

Arranging Information Effectively on Flip Charts

Arranging Information Effectively on Flip Charts

When arranging information on your flip charts, remember that there are typically more visual learners (as much as 65% of the population according to some research) in a group than auditory or kinesthetic learners.  For that reason, when preparing flip charts you might want to consider using graphic images, pictures, charts, and other visual elements to complement the written words and make the page more appealing to learners.

Arranging Information Effectively on Flip Charts Arranging Information Effectively on Flip Charts The Creative Trainer Reduce Stress with Flip Charts Information on Flip Charts Arranging Information Effectively

Information arrangement refers to the visual pattern you select to attract and hold your participant’s attention and interest. Simplicity is the key when flip charting ideas.

Here are three simple strategies for creating and designing flip charts that are functional and memorable:

  • Do not clutter your page with too much information, color, or image.
  • Leave plenty of white space so that your participant’s attention is not being pulled in conflicting directions.
  • When laying out material on your page, select a pattern that resembles one of these letters:   C, O, S, Z, L, or T.

By doing applying these simple techniques and adding graphics to your flip chart pages, you will better appeal to people who favor the visual learning style or modality.

Arranging Information Effectively on Flip Charts by The Creative Trainer – Robert W. Lucas, Awarding Winning Author, and Blogger. For additional ideas and suggestions on designing, using, transporting, and storing flip charts, get a copy of The Big Book of Flip Charts: A Comprehensive Guide for Presenters, Trainers, and Team Facilitators.

Learn This Blogger – Robert W. Lucas

Robert W. Lucas is an internationally-known author and learning and performance expert. He specializes in workplace performance-based training and consulting services. Furthermore, he has four decades of experience in human resources development, management, and customer service in a variety of organizational environments. Robert Lucas was the 1995 and 2011 President of the Central Florida Chapter of the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD).

Robert W. Lucas has lived, traveled, and worked in 28 different countries and geographic areas. During the past 40 years, Bob has shared his knowledge with workplace professionals from hundreds of organizations, such as Webster University, AAA, Orange County Clerk of Courts, Walt Disney World, SeaWorld, Martin Marietta, all U.S. military branches, and Wachovia Bank. In addition, Bob has provided consulting and training services to numerous major organizations on a variety of workplace learning topics. To contact Bob visit his website at www.robertwlucas.com or his blog www.thecreativetrainer.com.

Flip Chart 101 – Basic Strategies for Effectively Using Flip Charts – Positioning Your Easel

Flip Chart 101 – Basic Strategies for Effectively Using Flip Charts – Positioning Your Easel

There are many creative ways for trainers, facilitators, presenters, educators, and meeting leaders to enhance what they put onto flip chart paper. However, before getting too fancy you should master some flipchart basics when creating and effectively using a flip chart and flip chart easel. Call this Flip Chart 101 – Basic strategies for effectively using flip charts – positioning your easel.

Effectively Using Flip Charts – Positioning Your Easel

Here are two tips for effectively using your flip charts to convey messages to learners, audience members, or meeting attendees:

Position the Easel in the Correct Location. Lighting affects the visibility of what you write on your flip chart paper.  To ensure that everyone in the room can view your message, think about where you place your easel. Overhead lighting should highlight your page, not cast shadows. This means that your light should shine directly in front of the easel and not come from behind it.

Flip Chart 101 - Basic Strategies for Effectively Using Flip Charts - Positioning Your Easel

 Stand on the Correct Side of the Easel.  If you have ever waited impatiently for someone who is writing on a flip chart page to move aside, so that you could read what they wrote and take notes, you understand the importance of positioning yourself correctly.

If you are right-handed, stand to the left of your easel and extend your arm across the page so that you do not block your participant’s view. If you are left-handed, stand to the right of your easel.

Like anything else in a learning or meeting environment, you increase your effectiveness as a trainer, facilitator, educator, or meeting leader if you use sound facilitation or presentation skills.

For more ideas on effectively making, using, transporting, and storing flip charts, get a copy of The Big Book of Flip Charts: A Comprehensive Guide for Presenters, Trainers and Team Facilitators.

YOUR THOUGHTS? – Please share any tips for effectively using flip charts in adult learning environments?