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Design Web Typography Laying Out Type for the Web Typographic Hierarchy: Caps, Color, and Pairing Typefaces - Part 2

A common trend in web page design

I have noticed a common trend in web page design these days. The trend is having a white background with a very light gray text. This method makes nothing on the web page stand out and everything important blends into the background. Though they include pictures to liven it up the descriptions and important text seem to be not important.

A great example of how to properly use a white background with variable shades of black and gray is our very own Treehouse. The most important text is very readable with having a black colored text while the least important information such as footers are in a light grey text. Treehouse makes it easy to filter out the important information rather quickly.

Has anyone else noticed this common trend of making nothing important by blending most of the text into the white color of the background?

1 Answer

I've also noticed this trend and it has (in my opinion) both a couple of advantages and disadvantages.

The advantage is that you get to experience a more eye-friendly web-page experience. I know, the light grey may blend more into the white background and seem like it's not drawing enough attention from you, but in a website or web-app which involves a lot of content and continuity I believe it's useful.

It may seem like "out of convention", but if you had all the body text in "pure black" which is known to draw more attention than gray, but after quite some time, especially if there's a large amount of content, it may disturb your eyes and reverse the experience from useful to tiring.

It would be logical to use catchy text properties all the way if it was a website designed to "funnel" users through a sales scheme and not provide a big portion of information, but Treehouse is evidently much more than that and you would like to concentrate on the "learning material" and not blur your overall experience with other minor details. They're still there if you want :)

That's why I believe that Treehouse also tries to highlight important parts and titles with darker and bolder texts while blending other texts to the background and overall flow of the website experience.