Image Backgrounds for Screen Presentations and the Web
Your choice of background for a presentation or website is an important part of the design process. A poor choice of background colour combined with conflicting coloured text or image can render a page unreadable.
A white screen is too bright for most images and text: the contrast between the darkest and lightest areas of the screen can be too great and edge detail may be degraded due to glare.
Figure 1. White background
On the other hand a black slide in a presentation plunges a room into darkness: the contrast between the background and any text placed on it is too high for comfortable viewing.
Figure 2. Black background
Strongly coloured backgrounds also affect the appearance of images placed upon them. If you are using an application which only supports 8 bit colour there is a risk of a colour clash if a coloured background is chosen.
Figure 3. Red background
Some colours can also produce advancing or recessive effects, reds appear closer to the viewer while blues appear to stand back. A strong red background can appear to be closer than any text or images placed on it, a cooler coloured background will help neutral coloured text or images to stand out.
Figure 4. Bright red advances while blue recedes
Choosing a background colour
Mid greys work well for most applications, black text should still be readable and images will not be influenced by the surrounding colour or tone.
Figure 5. Mid-grey background
While strong warm tones seem to advance towards the viewer resulting in a background that appears closer to us than the text or images, a cooler toned background recedes helping neutral coloured text or pictures to stand out.
A simple background texture can add interest without competing with the text and images, however if you are using a limited colour palette a textured background will use up some of the available colours.
If an image contains flat tone or colour similar to that of the background a simple frame can help to lift it.