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.
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.