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One-Minute MarketerThe CIA Wants You To Read this Blog

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CIA Website

The CIA Wants You To Read this Blog

This blog started as a conversation about new and updated looks and updated logos. And yes, many are updating their brand look coming out of COVID-19. It is a different world if you have not noticed.

Something struck me about the CIA’s new website: It has a black background.

So do some webpages for the company that made white background marketing cool, Apple.

As we all know, white space is a principle. It is the feel or space around objects that allows the objects to visually breathe; it’s not literally “white” space. Some call it negative space.

But we are stuck in a white world of Word pages, whiteboards, PowerPoint slides and websites.

Author and speaker David JP Phillips talks about “Death by PowerPoint.” He says it is driven by the wrong orientation of thinking — that the PPT is the presentation. He says that we are the presentation and the PPT is just a visual aid.

In his TEDx Stockholm Salon video (nearly 3 million views), he highlights several design principles that will cognitively and psychologically optimize PPT slides. One of his smart suggestions is to turn the background into the color black.Your black-background presentation will:

  1. Relax the eyes
  2. Appear more stylistic
  3. Make your graphics pop

He has two more recommendations that are pure golden: 1. Make the most important information on your slide the largest because we don’t know where to look and headlines are not the most important information; and 2. Only put one message per slide.

It’s time to come on over to the dark side. (Yes, my blog has a white background, but I’m thinking …) Zoom knows about black backgrounds. Even your phone and computer have dark mode or theme settings to save battery life, of course, but the new look also improves visibility and reduces eye strain.

Mark Mathis III is chief creative & strategy officer, partner and cofounder of AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising.

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Mark wrote his first direct-mail fundraising letter in 1981 for the University of Iowa Center for Advancement. The effort raised a few million dollars in undiscovered wills and legacy gifts. From that day forward Mark discovered a love of the big idea that moves the needle.

With that kind of experience, after working at KWWL for 12 years, Mark became one of the founding partners of ME&V and, subsequently, AMPERAGE. Today, he leads the AMPERAGE creative teams, including video production, graphic design, public relations, writing and web development.

He is creatively ambidextrous — son of an artist and engineer — and famous for distilling complex ideas down to a few words and a few visuals. Mark is a writer. When he found that many nonprofits struggled with complex branding puzzles, he wrote the book, “NonProfit-NonMarketing .” He also wrote a novel called “Reenactment.”

Mark is an active blogger OneMinuteMarketer® with nearly 1,000 readers each week on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. One of his most popular YouTube videos is on “How to Look Good on Zoom.”

One of Mark’s fondest business memories was being named to INC 500 two times and attending the INC 500 conference with other winners. Mark is considered by some a Civil War expert (and that explains his novel). Mark also served as an adjunct professor in the business and in the communications departments at Wartburg College.

Mark is a graduate of the University of Iowa and is currently vice president of the University of Iowa Journalism and Mass Communications Advisory Board.

Mark is married to state Sen. Liz Mathis, and the two love to travel, even when it means being trapped by a volcano in the Czech Republic for three weeks.