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. The human eye adjusts to make this appear 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. (cite...), from a palette of black, red, green, yellow, blue, magenta, cyan and white, it turned out that cyan or yellow on black was typically found to be optimal.

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

There seems to be a dispute among vision and perception researchers about whether it is actually easier or healthier to read text on dark or light background; there is a similar dispute between users, when using each other's computer terminals.

Issues with the webEdit


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.

"Blazing white"Edit

Blazing white is a term used to describe black text on a bright background, found in some software packages, often without the option to reverse or change the colour, or only the option to change the background colour without the actual colour of the text, which can result in unreadable results. Another common problem is, when using anti-aliasing, the software assumes the background colour would be white.

Where the abstraction of a computer display as a sheet of paper leaks is most evident on CRT displays, where the display is a fluorescent light source, while a sheet of paper merely reflects the surrounding light. This is not the case with other display technologies such as LCD.

Problems that emerge are: colour bleeding, from the background into the thinner text, and eye strain, due to staring into an emitting light source.

See alsoEdit

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