Basic colour combinations between text and background colour

When we are designing a poster, a magazine, a website or a blog …., any graphic element on which fonts and backgrounds are included, it is very important to consider combinations of background and text, just as we did with typefaces.

We already know the psychology of many of the colours used in design, so we can determine the use of them. Well, when it comes to texts that are printed on backgrounds, which should prevail over all is the readability of them. We cannot make the reader gets soon tired. So, one of the main parts of the design is its functionality.

If we are working on background images, as we showed in these examples, the best solution is to write the message in white. When reading a text, regardless of its size, above all we must seek the contrast between background and text colours, so on a background in bright colours predominate, white is always a good choice. If there is no contrast, readability does not exist.

no contrast-colours-text-background

Therefore, today I will show you some examples of texts on basic colours backgrounds, to discover the effect of each one of them. They are basic examples, on which it is impossible to go wrong. We will do it with a sans serif, open sans font, so that the font does not distract us from the message.

Black and white

It is the best known and invariably combination. The text that you are reading now is on black and white, and 95% of printed texts such as magazines, newspapers … develop in this way. For long texts to be read is the perfect combination. It is the best combination to read closely. It is the largest contract of all, light and dark, so the message is conveyed more clearly and directly.

However, when performing the negative of this composition, i.e. a white on black, readability is worse, which make texts lose importance.


Yellow and black

It is the chord of the warning signs. This is the best combination to read away. This is not a good combination for long texts, but to create clear messages that must be seen by all. We all remember warning messages when we see in the toilets “risk of slipping” or on cleaning products that contain toxic agents.


Red and white

Mistakenly people believe that it is a good combination, because texts in red attract more attention. However, these texts are less read because they suggest that their content is not serious. Furthermore, if we put it in negative, white on red, the message is even less readable. Red letters distract and red backgrounds attract attention. It comes to mind the STOP signal. In this case, the message is blank, but the shape of the signal is so characteristic, a red octagon.


Multicolored text

Using a multicolored text is almost like the last rule of font combinations: it is never justified. The result is illegibility. There are many ways in which we can play with colours, but always giving uniformity. The text, as we always say must be legible and therefore colour consistency is very important.


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