Most of the card layouts on popular sites or social media sites use white (or light) background and dark text. For example, Google plus, instagram, facebook, Pinterest, dribble, etc. Rarely (or less frequently) it is seen that such social applications use dark or black background with white or light text for card based layout.

  • Does having dark background and white text impact usability?
  • Does it makes harder to read?
  • Is there any specific reason to NOT do so?

2 Answers 2


First of all, good question. Second, this really is more of a discussion topic.

But I would like to give my two cents to the topic.

Does having dark background and white text impact usability?

No. If you put that layout through a web accessibility color contrast test, it would pass. But there's more to a layout than pure logic. Aesthetics come into play. That leads me to your second question...

Does it makes harder to read?

It certainly does. Black (or darker colors) absorb light themselves and from their surroundings. That would mean a loss of contrast of the foreground leading to a grayish feel even to #FFFFFF colored text.

Now coming to the meat of the questions ...

Is there any specific reason to NOT do so?

There isn't a specific reason as such but any good UI designer would want the focus to be on the foreground. White is the most neutral color which makes the human brain skip it (like it was reflex) and jump to the next color visible. Hence any color that crosses the horizon of dark colors becomes a clear target for the viewer's eyes.

I hope this helps


Text on inverted colour schemes (light text on dark background) is simply harder to read.

Rather counter-intuitively, this seems to be because the perceived contrast is higher than more traditional non-inverted colour schemes. This means that your readers will tire more quickly when trying to read light text on a dark background.

There are all sorts of things you can do to adjust your text to make it more readable but the bottom line is that your readers won't be comfortable reading it.

A quick Google search for the terms "readability of colored text" yielded quite a few articles including a blog post dealing with this issue that cites several studies.

  • Thank you. I was wondering why my eyes were hurting because I'm developing a card game and overlaying cards in a sort of stack against a dark background was proving to be a headache. Moreso because I could see these spots between the card corners of adjacent cards, a sort of illusion due to the back background I suppose and it is annoying to say the least.
    – batman
    Commented Sep 11, 2023 at 14:31

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