Yellow on white


Considering how long the web has been in the mainstream, it’s amazing that some websites still use hard-to-read color schemes like yellow text on a white background or dark grey on black. To make sure you don’t accidentally end up in this club, always do a reality check when you’re creating a new design. Try to preview your chosen color scheme, fonts, and text sizes in the same context where the final product will appear. Show it to some friends in different age groups. See if they can read and use it without squinting.

This sort of informal testing is pretty easy to do for the web and print, but a little more challenging for outdoor signs and consumer products. In the latter cases, my advice is to find real-life examples of another design that uses a similar approach. This is especially true for outdoor signage. The next time you’re passing a store or restaurant at night, think about which colors are the hardest-to-read at a distance. If you’re like me, you’ll be wondering why anyone uses blue letters, rather than higher-contrast options like white, yellow, or red.

While it’s nice to stay consistent with your corporate identity scheme, you should think twice about doing this if your corporate colors make the design hard-to-read. After all, if potential customers can’t find your restaurant or use your website even when they’re seeking it out by name, you’re leaving a lot of money on the table.