The tech company I work with has recently gotten a new branding. Part of this is of course PowerPoint templates. These templates feature a grey-ish background on all slides.

Before stubbornly removing this grey background in favor for plain white, I would like to check if there are actually good reasons for a grey background.

As far as I can see, the disadvantages are:

  • All my technical drawings are saved with a white background by default, so I have to remove that background (luckily, in PowerPoint this is relatively easy)
  • It's more difficult to have greyed out details in images, because the grey has to be exactly right (too dark and it looks like black, too light and it becomes the same color as the background). In general, the contrast on all slides is reduced.
  • A darker design has the potential to make an audience sleepier - especially if the venue has chosen to turn the light off for the presentation.

The only advantage I can see is that grey may be easier on the eyes. Are there any other good reasons to keep a grey background?

  • 1
    I only add one more disadvantage, the gray turns off the other colors. Your question is still incomplete if you don't add the alternative to the use of gray: is it white? Anyone can think that you will use pink or yellow as a background color, or black...
    – user120647
    Apr 11 '19 at 9:50
  • 1
    maybe it's part of the branding?
    – Luciano
    Apr 11 '19 at 9:51
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    Hi. Welcome to GDSE. I think you should ask your client or the person who designed their branding. There is really no way for us to know if you should or shouldn't be using a grey background on presentation slides. Also, mere opinions by users here don't really have any bearing on whether you should or shouldn't.
    – Billy Kerr
    Apr 11 '19 at 10:34
  • @Danielillo Sorry, I made a typo in the question. It was gray, I want to replace it with white.
    – Sanchises
    Apr 11 '19 at 11:08
  • @BillyKerr I am an employee, not a designer - that's why I'm asking on a website with actual designers instead of stubborn employees like me who just assume that the design is only tailored to 'advertisment' instead of technical talks.
    – Sanchises
    Apr 11 '19 at 11:10

In fact, black on a mid-light grey is only very slightly less legible than black on white, and has been shown to decrease glare-based eyestrain considerably.

If the mid grey in question is light enough, it should be easy to adapt your technical drawings - if not, perhaps you should ask the designer who set up the branding guidelines how you should best accommodate your technical presentation needs without violating the new branding guidelines... and if their suggestion involves a lot of challenging re-work, ask them if you can forward your illustrations to them as vector files so that they can make the necessary branding-compliance changes - you know, as a reference example so you can see how it should be done.

I personally am both a graphic designer who has put together many branding packages over the years and also a technical illustrator - so I share your frustration, and I know that if the designer in question hasn't considered this scenario, it can be a royal PIA for anyone presenting technical data moving forwards - so pointing it out now may save a lot of people some major headaches.

Equally, branding guidlelines, if properly constructed, should not impede 90% of use-cases, and should have either enough flexibility (colour alternatives, logo families, font families & pairings) to comfortably encompass 5% use-cases: there will always be outliers which present challenges for all concerned.

Hope this helps.

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