White text on black background

  • Are there any reasons to avoid using white text on a black background?

    This does not qualify for an answer, but what about console? I spend a lot of time using linux console and I keep it white on black. Light backgrounds always made me get a headache after some time. Could anybody find scientific material on that? Every answer here is subjective at the moment.

    I second this, you'll often find that developers use dark schemes when coding to reduce eye strain. black on white has me seeing stars after 20min.

    The question is very biased. You should ask for pros and cons and not for support for what you think is correct.

  • Here's an article on it. To quote the article's quotes:

    However, most studies have shown that dark characters on a light background are superior to light characters on a dark background (when the refresh rate is fairly high). For example, Bauer and Cavonius (1980) found that participants were 26% more accurate in reading text when they read it with dark characters on a light background.


    People with astigmatism (aproximately 50% of the population) find it harder to read white text on black than black text on white. Part of this has to do with light levels: with a bright display (white background) the iris closes a bit more, decreasing the effect of the "deformed" lens; with a dark display (black background) the iris opens to receive more light and the deformation of the lens creates a much fuzzier focus at the eye.

    If you do want to use a dark theme, see how others use it:

    Windows console

    Windows Console

    • Gray on black
    • Large font
    • Bold
    • Semi-serif

    Expression Blend

    Expression Blend

    • Eggshell on gray
    • Sans-serif
    • ClearType (zoomed out on an LCD, the text looks yellow-white; you don't notice the blue)

    I think it's subjective to an extent; i use white (ish) text on black for programming, and normal for editing documents. It's much more painful to have a bright screen in a dark room.

    @RCIX - Totally. These studies don't take into account extended reading, and the first study was done *long* before the advent of LCDs. I'm not saying black-on-white is always better (indeed, my open-source app is white-on-gray). I was just pointing to what research was out there.

    @Fraser you should point this out in your answer, right after the quotes, not in a comment that may not be read.

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM

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