Before showing us the iPhone and all its glory, in the beginning of the presentation Steve Jobs first gives us some context about the current smartphone category (devices with plastic little keyboards that could access the baby Internet) at the time.

Jobs explains:
The problem is that the [smart phones on the market] aren’t so smart and they’re not so easy to use.
To illustrate the point he showed us a business 101 graph with a smart axis and easy to use axis. Here’s what the slide looks like:

The Cell Phones category are represented by a red circle. While specific smartphones like Moto Q, E62, and Treo are presented by blue circles. The leapfrog product iPhone is represented by a green circle.

This is where we introduce the first rule: use color with intent.

Each color has a purpose. In this slide, blue is for smartphones, red is for the cell phones category, and green is for iPhone.

Next, let’s talk about the second part of the first rule.

Notice the iPhone is a green circle. Hmm… how come?

Well, it turns out if we rewind back when Jobs talks about the iPhone as a iPod, Phone, and Internet communicator, notice the color the phone icon. It’s green.


In this slide it has associated green with phone in the minds of audience. To leverage this understanding, I suspect the slide designers at Apple decided to represent the iPhone as a green circle.

And hence, the second part of the rule: use color with consistency.

To recap, the colors you use should have a specific purpose. And if you do use the color, make sure it’s consistent throughout the entire presentation.

(Fun exercise. Now is the time to take out your iPhone and check what color the Phone icon is. Talk about consistency!)

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