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Reverse Text vs. White Text - Which Is Best?

April 3, 2018
You most often see websites using black text on a light background since it's easy to read. However, using white text on a dark background also has its advantages. Knowing when to use one over the other can help make your design stand out and more engaging.

When it comes to text on websites, users normally either read or scan. Reading takes more time to focus on words and comprehend the meaning. Scanning is more of a skimming process, and the reader is seeking to get a general comprehension of the subject.

Whether to use white text on a dark background or the reverse depends on whether you expect the reader to read or scan. Here are some examples.

Whether to use white text on a dark background or the reverse depends on whether you expect the reader to read or scan. Here are two examples.
Whether to use white text on a dark background or the reverse depends on whether you expect the reader to read or scan. Here are two examples.

The kind of text that users read is paragraph text. You should avoid using white text on a dark background when displaying paragraph text to make it easier for them to read. Forcing users to fixate on white text for a long time can strain the user's eyes. This is because white stimulates all three types of color sensitive visual receptors in the human eye in nearly equal amounts. This makes reading white paragraph text on dark backgrounds stressful on the eyes.

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There are times when white text on a dark background works well. This is when users are scanning text. Users typically scan headings, titles, buttons, and labels. Using white text on a dark background for these types of text is an effective way to highlight them to grab the reader's attention.

At Newsletter Station
We use black text on a white background for all the content in the newsletters we construct for users. However, users can include two ads in their newsletter to showcase offers, promotions, activities, events or anything they wish. These ads can be constructed as a graphic image using reverse text if desired.

ferry
Jeff Ferry
Founder, CEO
Newsletter Station
jferry@newsletterstation.com

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