Typography & Fonts

#BasicDesign — Never Use Pure Black in Typography

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As a reader, are you more comfortable reading the right or the left? Take a closer, why the left one looks more striking? While the other one looks more comfortable to read, right?

The left text is Pure Black with code #000000, while the right text is Dark Gray with code #212427.

Why does color affect reading-comfortability?

Eye Strain Problem

Did you know that using pure black with code #00000 can cause several problems, one of the problems is eye strain for readers (link).

White with code #FFFFFF has more striking brightness compare to pure black with code #000000. The brightness polarity requires the eye to work harder to read pure black text on a white background.

The real example is when we turn on the phone in a dark room (and fell on the face hehe). The drastic difference between a dark room light and a very bright phone light requires the eyes to work harder than usual.

Approach to Decrease Eye Strain

Yes, we need to avoid pure black because of eye strain issues (contrast). So we choose dark gray to replace pure black. Then we need to answer the next question:

“how do we choose the right dark gray?”

To determine the dark gray composition, we conducted several experiments by choosing the base color; red and blue.

Because at that time our client had red as the base color, so we decided to use dark gray with red as the base color. So the color is still continuous with the main brand color.

Better Readability for Better Conversion

Black and white are the basic colors that are often used. As a designer, you need to pay attention to the balance of contrast between text and background color so that it is safe for the user’s eyes. Because reading discomfort could break your product, especially if you are a content dense apps that rely heavily on reading.

Reducing pain due to eye strain means users can spend more time reading and enjoying the contents. So indirectly, we can improve the conversion rate on your apps.

Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoy reading this case study. If you have any feedback or just want to chat with me, drop me a message at or connect in LinkedIn.

#BasicDesign — Never Use Pure Black in Typography was originally published in UX Planet on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.