World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Light-on-dark color scheme

Article Id: WHEBN0000175004
Reproduction Date:

Title: Light-on-dark color scheme  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Color, Color scheme, WOB, Colour schemes, IBM 5100
Collection: Color, Colour Schemes, Computer Graphics, Display Technology, User Interfaces
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Light-on-dark color scheme

A light-on-dark color scheme is a color scheme that uses light-colored text on a dark background and is often discussed in terms of computer user interface design.

Originally, computer user interface images were formed on CRTs. The phosphor was normally a very dark color, and lit up brightly when the electron beam hit it, appearing to be green or amber on black, depending on phosphors applied on a monochrome screen. RGB screens continued along a similar vein, using all the beams set to "on" to form white.

With the advent of teletext, research was done into which primary and secondary light colors and combinations worked best for this new medium. Cyan or yellow on black was typically found to be optimal from a palette of black, red, green, yellow, blue, magenta, cyan and white.

The opposite color scheme, dark-on-light color scheme, was originally introduced in WYSIWYG word processors, to simulate ink on paper.

Whether it is easier or healthier to read text on a dark background is disputed by vision and perception researchers; there is similar dispute between users.


  • Energy usage 1
  • Issues with the web 2
  • "Blazing white" 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Energy usage

Light on dark color schemes require less energy to display on some display technologies, such as OLED, CRT and LCD displays.[1] This can impact battery life and overall energy conservation.

Issues with the web

Some argue that a color scheme with light text on a dark background is easier to read on the screen, because the lower brightness causes less eyestrain. The caveat is that most pages on the web are designed for white backgrounds; GIF and PNG images with a transparency bit instead of alpha channels tend to show up with choppy outlines, as well as causing problems with other graphical elements.

It is not necessary that a web design work well with only one color scheme. There are many mechanisms of web architecture that allow designs to work well with any color scheme a user might prefer. This technical flexibility is a product of the web architect's concern for accessibility and user preference empowerment, though designers rarely utilize this technical flexibility.

"Blazing white"

Blazing white is black text on a bright background found in some software packages, often without the option to set colors (e.g. Skype, or WorldHeritage). Another common problem is, when using spatial anti-aliasing, the software assumes the background color is white.

Unlike paper, which reflects ambient light, both CRT and LCD displays emit light of sufficient brightness to overcome ambient light. As ambient light varies, the relative brightness of the display can vary widely.


  1. ^ Blackle vs. Google Monitor Power Consumption Tested

External links

  • Light on Dark Showcase of sites using a light on dark color scheme
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.