Sexy black pages with white writing look slick and make an instant impact, but they make the reader work very hard to process the words and assimilate the information.

This applies to any page where the writing is lighter than the background it’s on. Gold on burgundy, yellow on dark green, pale blue on navy – they all create the same challenges for our eyes.

Why? I hear you ask; it’s all to do with the way the eye behaves and the brain processes information. For most of us our eyes naturally focus on the darkest colour, that means we tend to look through the copy at the background and have to make tiny adjustments to actually see the words clearly.

The problem is then compounded by the white lines that form the letters cutting the background up into small shapes and creating a slight dazzle effect. If you watch someone trying to read a black page you’ll see them frowning and screwing up their eyes trying to retain focus.

This applies on paper and on screen, but is probably worse on screen because of the relatively low resolution.

As a result the reader’s brain is working so hard trying to SEE the words that the sense of what they’re reading takes second place. Not the greatest way to get your message across!
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