Some years ago it would be hard to find dark designed websites, almost all known websites were designed in bright colors. You would need to go to the beggings of the Internet to find dark web pages with that 90′s crappy look. But when the web started shifting from the frontpage designed webpages to actually thought and pro designed ones, the era of the dark websites ended to pave the road to the bright colors.
Dark vs Light
There are today a lot more dark colors webpages, mine included. A lot of discussion arises from time to time on the web about white designs vs dark, normally stating that dark designs are harder on the eyes because of the contrast. Well… I have to disagree with that. I’m all pro dark designs and I’ll explain why.
If you are reading this you are using a monitor, be it CRT, LCD, doesn’t matter, it’s a monitor and the principle is the same. It’s a self illuminated source that displays information. Because it’s self illuminated and it doesn’t use the natural light source, the Sun, it’s bright (duh!) and in its ‘natural’ mode it’s dark, black. A paper is normally white because it’s not self illuminated it uses the Sun as a light source. So bare in mind that a screen is NOT a paper and therefore it doesn’t need a white design to be better seen. White designs hurt my eyes, they turn any screen into a giant bulb irradiating light into my pupils.
Do white designs look good? Well depends on the design, but generally yes and in my opinion is easier to achieve a better white page design than a dark one. But in the end readability for me at least is way better on a dark webpage. It’s softer on the eyes, you can use a slightly more grayish font color to soften the contrast between font and background. On a white design if you use a more grey font you are hurting readability while making everything looking even more light and IT HURTS MY EYES!
So in the end it comes down to taste and the target of your webpage. Some might argue that white webpages are more upbeat than dark ones. I would say that is consequence of what can be called the norm. For me, dark designs beats light designs for 90% of the cases.
EDIT – Just to clarify and after RedSign posted, I’m not stating that dark designs are easier on the eyes, I’m giving my opinion on what I perceive and what I feel. I do know a lot of people think like me, but yes it’s generally accepted as white backgrounds with black font are softer on the eyes. I do feel whoever that is not the case, at least for my head.