Dark Website Design has always been a very controversial topic of discussion among web designers. While many designers, who believe in pushing the normal boundaries, seem to adopt the concept of Dark Web Design, there are some others who are still not in favor of using it in their designs. This is mostly because they think it’s not good for a website from a readability point of view.

But actually, this is not so. Done properly,  web design using dark colors can convey a very creative, elegant and professional look and feel to users. However, creating a dark website design is quite a challenging job that requires a web designer to be an expert in web usability. This article focuses mainly on different scenarios when you may use dark web design and several things to keep in mind while working on a dark-themed website. Let's discuss this concept from all it's aspects, on this guest post on CollectiveRay.

Dark Website Design: A True Sense of Sobriety and Seriousness

For those unfamiliar with dark website design, it’s a unique design concept of using light lettering and graphics on a dark background. Website designed with this concept predominantly use a Black color that gives a serious, sophisticated and classic look to the design. Unlike Light Design, which often keeps visitors busy clicking and scrolling, Dark Design draws the visitor’s attention to the most important parts of your website.

While the majority of websites incorporate light color schemes in their design to deliver visitors an energetic and cheerful browsing experience, dark color schemes also have the ability to entice visitors to perform a desired action. However, as compared to Light Designs which can be used in various contexts, Dark Designs are not suitable for all kinds of websites. This means, if you use Dark Design in the wrong scenario, it may make your website look ugly, gloomy and unprofessional. You really need to make sure you are using this concept in the right situations.

When Does It Make Sense to Use Dark Web Designs?

The concept of dark design doesn’t work in every situation. Below are some of the scenarios when you should think about incorporating dark colors into your website:

Photography/Art Site:

If you’re planning to create a website where you want to display (or sell) works of art or professional photographs, then a dark-themed website could prove to be quite beneficial for you. In other words, this kind of design is more suitable for image-rich websites like a web design portfolio.

We've got an excellent list of sites for photographers and artists here.

Here's a few Art/Photography sites examples:

http://www.mitchellkphotos.com

Dark Website Design Photography

http://www.fashionphotographer.it

Fashion photography dark web design

https://devart.withgoogle.com/

dev art dark web design

Want to set up a Web Design Art / Fashion or Photography site using a dark design?

Here are a few theme suggestions!

Divi with Dark Layouts

Divi, the ever-popular product from ElegantThemes is a great option for a number of reasons. 1st and foremost, it is a popular, mature, versatile theme which you can customize into any kind of niche you want, so as a designer, this should be one of your goto options.

2nd, you can use the built-in layouts, for example, you can see the below layout which uses bright colors and a darker background to make the elements pop - an excellent look if you want to stand out from the crowd.

Get Divi at 10% OFF till end of

Bright colors darker background divi layout

StyleShop

This is a great theme, based on a darkish background, allowing the products you'd want to sell to pop out. StyleShop is a powerful eCommerce theme that has all the required tools you need to launch a successful online store. The design is both beautiful and responsive, it actually includes a unique mobile layout that makes browsing your website a breeze no matter what size of device you are using! 

Check Styleshop Demo

Styleshop

Uno - Creative PhotoGraphy WordPress Theme 

Check out Uno Live

UNO - photography dark web design Wordpress theme

PhotoLux - Photography Portfolio WordPress theme

Photolux is a powerful and elegant Portfolio and Photography WordPress Theme which is best suited for photographers and creatives who use portfolios to showcase their work.

Visit PhotoLux Demo

Photolux - photography dark web design wordpress theme

RSW - Responsive Full Screen Studio for WordPress

RSW ( Responsive Fullscreen Studio for WordPress ) is a powerful theme for photographers and creative artists and comes with Light and Dark with theme options supporting multicolor customization of theme elements using color pickers.

See Demo of RSW

Responsive Fullscreen studio for wordpress

E-Commerce Site:

As an eCommerce site contains a lot of product images, a dark website can help you make your products the “center of attention” for visitors. The dark background directs your visitors’ eyes on the images in the foreground. This is the reason, dark web design is the first choice of designers to showcase any kind of products.

Here's a few E-Commerce sites examples:

http://www.smashbox.com

smashbox-com

http://www.footlocker.com

footlocker ecommerce dark webdesign

Rhapsody - WordPress Multi-purpose theme 

Visit Rhapsody Preview

rhapsody wordpress eCommerce theme

Want to setup a Dark Web Design E-Commerce site?

Here's a few theme suggestions!

KingGym - Fitness, Gym and Sport Magento theme

A great solution for sportswear, sport accessories and shoes online shop – that’s Kinggym Responsive Magento Template. The impressive design brings visitors a powerful, dynamic and strong feeling at the first sight.

See KingGym demo

kinggym fitness gym and sport

Legenda - Responsive Multi-purpose Prestashop theme

 

Check out Legenda

legenda responsive multipurpose theme

Kallyas - Responsive Multipurpose WordPress Theme

Kallyas is one of the most advanced themes you can get today - no wonder it's a best seller!

Visit Kallyas Demo

Kalyas responsive wordpress ecommerce theme 

If Site Has Minimal Amounts of Content:

Unlike a news site, if your site does not have a lot of content, then you may consider trying a dark design. When it comes to achieving a simple and minimal design, wise designers tend to use a dark skin. Though, in that case, they need to use a minimal color scheme and feature images more than text.

Read More:  30+ Best Free & Premium Minimal WordPress Themes

Here's a few Minimal sites examples:

http://hotdot.pro

hotdot minimal dark webdesign

http://www.oregongridiron.com

oregongridiron minimal dark webdesign

Want to setup a Web Design Minimal site using dark designs?

Here's a few theme suggestions!

CeeVee - Responsive CV Resume WordPress Theme - No Longer Available

 

ceevee responsive wordpress theme

Minimalize - Single page multipurpose Wordpress theme

Check out Minimalize Preview

minimalize wordpress theme for minimal content

When It Fits Your Brand:

As a dark theme is not suitable for all kinds of websites, you first need to consider what your brand is about. If you think that a dark design can strengthen your brand and also fits your site’s subject perfectly, then you may consider using a dark skin for your website.

Here's a few examples:

http://www.mindworks.gr

mindworks dark webdesign

http://www.mooncampapp.com (Defunct)

mooncampapp dark webdesign

Want to setup a Dark Web Design for your Brand?

Here's a few theme suggestions!

EXO - Creative & Corporate Specific Purpose Theme

Visit EXO now

exo creative wordpress theme

Metal - Mobile Friendly Building & Construction Business Template

Visit Metal Demo

metal business template

Does Dark Color Schemes Really Affect Readability?

Many designers (and even users too) complain that a dark design is not good in terms of usability - specifically, readability. They consider that reading light text on a dark background can strain the user’s eyes, which results into a much less enjoyable reading experience. But in fact, a dark background is not solely responsible for poor readability - which drives away visitors from your website.

Readability is indeed all about typography and the right use of elements on your site. A website with dark design can also appeal to a wider audience, if you choose the suitable fonts, use right font size and color, and pay some attention to white space and line-height. In other words, you need to adjust each and every element to achieve the aesthetic elegance in your dark design, in the same way you do for a light design.

Here's a few examples:

http://www.nerisson.fr

Font Combination Used: Futura Std Extra Bold and Georgia

nerisson dark webdesign

 

http://kabertech.com

Font Combination Used: Museo Sans and Museo

kabertech-dark webdesign example

 

http://www.234mono.com

Font Combination Used: Roboto and Helvetica

234mono-dark webdesign example

 

Things to Keep in Mind While Designing a Dark Website

Below are some best practices that you must follow to achieve the aesthetic elegance in a dark website:

Analyze the Brand:

First things first, consider what words describe your brand best and what kind of service/product/content you’re going to offer on your site. For example, if you’re going to create a web design portfolio, then a dark background would suite your needs better. On the contrary, a light background would work better for a blog with plenty of content.

Pick the Right Fonts:

Fonts play a vital role in any design and must be given an extra close attention while working with dark designs. Whatever fonts you’ve chosen to use in your dark layout, use them in a smart manner. As an example, you may use sans-serif fonts for large text like titles and serif fonts for small size like the body text.

Here's a few examples:

http://www.whisperism.com

whisperism-dark webdesign example

http://ryanmulford.com

ryanmulford-dark webdesign example

http://vitamintalent.com

vitamintalent-dark webdesign example

Make the Text Readable:

In order to achieve better readability in dark designs, I highly recommend you increase the font size. Where small fonts are easily readable on a light website, on the other hand, reading small light text on a dark background for a long time can strain users’ eyes. So, increase the font size until you find text perfectly readable. As a general rule, keep the font size 16 px or above.

Here's a few examples:

http://bookofbeards.com

bookofbeards-dark webdesign example

http://www.davey.im/about

davey-dark webdesign example

Use More Whitespace:

Increasing the white space is another great way to improve the readability in dark designs. The more what space you have, the more readable your text would be. Consider adjusting kerning and leading in your text for sufficient white space. In case you have too much content on your site, divide it into small paragraphs.

Here's a few examples:

http://vool.me

vool-dark webdesign example

http://umarsheikh.co.uk

umarsheikh-dark webdesign example

Opt For a Minimal Color Scheme:

Since a dark website naturally feels heavy, using a busy color scheme can make it look cluttered and visually confusing. Not all color schemes work well with a dark background and therefore, you should use color with caution. For a clutter-free design, avoid using more than two colors. In short, your colors should lead users where you actually want them to go.

Use Reflections in Images:

One of the best advantages of dark background is that it gives you the ability to put a huge emphasis on key elements in your design. Though the same can be done in a light background, but a dark background gives you more options like reflections and other blending modes. So, take advantage of them to give your dark design a classy and fascinating look.

Put As Little Content As Possible:

Last but certainly not least, put only essential content on a dark website. As a lot of content in a dark design may lead to cluttering, you need to maintain a perfect balance between design and content. Remember, a dark background is perfect for a website with minimal content.

Some Great Examples of Dark Web Design

BlackBerry:

blackberry

Apple Mac Pro:

apple-mac-pro

Lamborghini:

lamborghini

MoreSleep:

moresleep

The Creature Technology:

creaturetechnology

Conclusion:

In the end, what kind of design – dark or light – you should use for your business totally depends on your personal preference. Obviously, you must not go for a dark design if you’re in mood of giving your visitors an energetic and vibrant look. However, you should use them when you want to draw viewers’ attention to certain parts of your website.

Ajeet YadavAbout the Post Author: Ajeet is a senior web developer at WordpressIntegration - PSD to WordPress service provider, where he is responsible for writing custom JavaScript code during the conversion process. In his spare time, he writes on different topics related to JavaScript, WordPress, and Web Design to share his work experience with others. You can follow WordpressIntegration on Facebook.

 

 

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