Why Use Black Background For Slideshows?

Black & White

All presentation softwares will always come with templates of the standard white background as well as the standard black background. The problem is that they are almost never used. Why is that? If you ask me, the blank background is the most versatile of all the backgrounds that you can choose from.

Black Is Still The New Black

You can choose to disagree, or even ignore it, but black will always be the default “creative” colour. So much so that many creative people like artists and designers are always wearing black outfits. In fact, a certain university that specialises in creative courses has even made black its corporate colour. That’s right, their academic staff are all fully decked in black uniform.

Artistic tendencies aside, very dark colours (including black) have the tendency to help focus your vision away from itself, and onto the subject, assuming that your subject is highly contrasted against dark colours.


The human eye has evolved over the millennia to be attracted by bright colours. Therefore, it is not surprising that we often ignore dark shades, and are attracted by bright colours instead.

If We’re Attracted To Bright Colours, Then Why Black?

A valid question indeed. Also a very simple question to answer too. The very fact that our vision is drawn away from dark colours, then it will automatically be drawn onto whatever that you put against the dark background.

Take a look at the example below :-

B&W Eye Exercise

You would have noticed by looking at the left image, your vision will be spread out to the periphery of the image. In simple terms – you are looking everywhere but at the black centre.

The image on the right will pull your attention away from the dark sides, and draw your vision right down the centre of the image. You will find that you are concentrating all of your visual powers right onto the white centre.

So How Does It Apply To Slideshows?

So let us assume that you are attending a presentation session. As you enter the lecture hall with the lights all turned on, you will see the projector screen brightly lit by the room light.

Blank projector-screen

And just before the presentation begins, the lights are turned off. All you can see now is just a very dark room. Even the projector screen is almost invisible, lost in the sea of darkness.

Blank Lights Off

And here is where the magic begins…

Black Text Against A White Background

If the presenter chooses to use a standard black text against a standard white background, just like on a printed book or newspaper, then this is what you will see on the projector screen.

Black On White

Yes, the black texts are crisp and sharp against white background. But do you notice how hard your eyes are working to pull themselves away from being fixated by the bright background?

Just like how insects are attracted to the UV light of the bug zapper, human eyes are also attracted to bright lights too. In this case, the bright white background.

Staring at the bright screen for extended periods of time will cause your eyes to tire easily. Ten to fifteen minutes into a presentation like this will cause your eyes to work so hard that you will start to blink rapidly, and maybe even look away momentarily.

White Text Against Black Background

Now let us switch the initial black text against white background to white text against black background instead. Let us see how the effect will be as compared to the earlier example.

White On Black

Ahhh!… This is way much better on the eyes…

As the human eyes are attracted towards the bright colours, your attention is drawn away from the dark background, onto the bright white text. The result will be that your eyes won’t tire so easily, and your vision isn’t strained as much as it was before.


From your next presentation onwards, do your audience a favour, and try sticking to very dark backgrounds. Your audience will thank you for it.

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