Adobe Illustrator, a leading vector graphics software, provides users with a white artboard by default. While this is suitable for many projects, there are times when a different background color, such as black, can enhance the design or make it easier to visualize certain elements. This tutorial will guide you through the process of changing the background color in Illustrator.

What is the Initial Step for Changing the Background?

Before you can change the background color, you need to have an open document in Illustrator:

  1. Setting Up a New Document: Launch Illustrator and create a new document. For this tutorial, we’ll use a blank canvas.
  2. Understanding the Default Artboard: By default, Illustrator provides a white artboard. This is not the actual background but merely a representation of the canvas where you’ll create your design.

How to Change the Background to Black (or any color)?

  1. Creating a New Layer: Navigate to the Layers panel. If it’s not visible, go to Window and select Layers. At the bottom of the Layers panel, click on the ‘New Layer’ icon. Rename this layer to “BG” for background.
  2. Drawing a Rectangle: With the new layer selected, grab the Rectangle Tool from the toolbar. Click and drag to cover the entire artboard or click once to specify the exact dimensions. For this example, we’ll use 1920×1080 pixels.
  3. Changing the Fill Color: With the rectangle selected, go to the Properties panel. Here, you can change the fill color to black or any other color of your choice.
  4. Aligning the Rectangle: To ensure the rectangle perfectly covers the artboard, use the alignment tools. Set the alignment to ‘Align to Artboard’ and then click on ‘Horizontal Align Center’ and ‘Vertical Align Center’.
  5. Locking the Background Layer: To prevent accidental movement or edits to the background, go back to the Layers panel and lock the “BG” layer.

Adding Elements on the Black Background

  1. Creating Text: With the background set, you can now add elements on top. For instance, select the Type Tool, click on the artboard, and type your desired text.
  2. Changing Text Color: To ensure visibility against the black background, change the text color to white or any contrasting shade.

Considerations and Tips:

  • Remember that the rectangle you’ve created is not the actual background but a shape that serves as a background. The true artboard color in Illustrator is always white.
  • Locking the background layer ensures you don’t accidentally move or edit it while working on other elements.
  • You can also use gradients or other shapes to create more complex backgrounds.


Changing the background color in Adobe Illustrator is a straightforward process that can greatly influence the look and feel of your design. Whether you’re aiming for a dark theme or just want a different backdrop for your artwork, this method offers a quick and efficient solution.