What colour is a zebra? Is it white and black stripes or black and white stripes? Ask Marty, the funky Zebra from Madagascar. When it comes to slide design a question that comes up often enough in discussion relates to the same issue. Is it better to have black slides with white text or white slides with black text? I suspect the answer is just about the same.
Black test on a white screen works well due to contrast. Appropriate type selection will ensure that text is legible and as long as it is of suitable size to be read from the back this choice works well for the majority of rooms. It is the latter fact that influences choice; a dark room/setting will be additionally lit by the bright white of the slide and be more easily read. It brings with it a familiarity although little visual excitement.
White text on a black screen does seem to be the fashion choice of a new generation. Which is fine if it works. Contrast isolates the text well and allows smaller images to be artificially bled off the edge of a slide without enlarging them. The choice is less often made and so has a value in simply being different but in a poorly lit room however, this choice will leave the presenter and audience literally in the dark. Remember of course the value in minimising text and the result that the majority of the slide will be black.
What colour is a zebra? To be honest I don’t think it matters. In poorly lit environments the shadows will hide the black zebra with varied white stripes. In the bright of the plains the sun will reflect off the white zebra keeping it cool and its dark stripes may confuse the hunter. What colour is a zebra? Maybe it depends why you are asking.