effectively, seamless tiles or backgrounds at
they are commonly called, can make a web page
more visually appealing and add to the experience
of those who visit the page. Used ineffectively,
they become an eyesore, a distraction, and a
reason to go somewhere else. In order to make
good use of backgrounds, it is often helpful to
keep certain basic aesthetic principals in mind.
Although these principals are somewhat
intuitively obvious, it is not hard to find
examples of pages on the internet which ignore
font/background colors which will not
"clash" with eachother.
It is almost always a bad idea to choose a
text color and background color which contrast
with oneanother in a discordant manner
|This is hard to read.
easy to read
|So it this.
||As is this
2. Make sure there is
enough contrast between the font and the
On the other hand, choosing a
font that is too close in color to the background
will obviously cause readability problems as
well. (In the most extreme case, where the two
are exactly the same, the text will be completely
|Low contrast is hard to
contrast is easy to read
|and causes eye strain.
|Who needs that?
3. A fairly simple
background is often best.
Usually it is a good idea to pick a background
tile that is fairly uniform in appearance,
something with a fairly limited range of color
and not too much contrast. The first reason for
going with a fairly uniform background is that it
is less likely to look too "busy" and
distract the reader from the text. Also, any
other aesthetic rules for choosing good
font/background combinations become more
difficult to apply when one has to choose a font
color to match a background which contains a wild
array of colors.
a fairly busy background so it competes
with the text and distracts the reader to
a fair degree.
background is more muted and competes
less with the text, thus making for a web
page that is easier to read.
background has a narrower range of colors
yet and competes for the reader's
attention even less, making it still
easier to read.
Of course, a plain color with no variation
whatsoever would be the simplest background of
all (and is sometimes appropriate), but that can
make a page look too plain, particularly if the
page consists primarily of text and lacks borders
or color variations to give it some visual
this is combination of a plain grey
background and black text is easy to
read, it has a certain sterile, boring
quality to it.
combination of a somewhat varied grey
background and black text is still quite
easy to read, but it is more visually
The preceding three "rules of thumb"
by no means exhaust the principals one can use to
develope web pages which are both easy to read
and pleasant to look at. Readers interested in
learning more about this and related subjects are
invited to explore the links below:
For Further Study
Theory and Mixing - An interesting 16 lesson
tutorial by wetcanvas.com
- Cyber Living of Artists
Color Wheel Company - A site where you can
buy (you guessed it) your own color wheel. They
have a nice section covering some of the aspects
Design Studios - A very slick site dealing
with web color theory and other aspects of web
page design (portions require Flash plug-in).
WebDesignClinic - Resources covering a wide
variety of topics related to web page design,
including tutorials on Paint Shop Pro and other
popular software packages. There is a handy
search box you can use to search the site for
"color" or whatever topic you are
- Web site design & development. There is an
informative and detailed section about color