7 Tips for Designing a Dark Theme Website

Person Web Designing on a Laptop

You’ve weighed all of your options and you’ve decided: you want to make use of a dark theme website. The problem is you don’t know how to employ such a website. 

That’s why you’re here since you’re looking for a little information on the matter. Fortunately, we have all the information you need. Without further ado, here are 7 tips for designing dark mode websites. 

1. Indicate Depth

The key to any website is to make your design elements pop. Not only should your images pop off the screen but your sidebar elements and other widgets as well. 

How do you make this happen? By adding depth. How do you add depth? Generally speaking, you do so by using a lighter shade of your primary background color as a background for your various design elements. 

So, if you’re using black for your background, you should use a slightly lighter form of black in order to back-up your images and other elements on your page. You don’t want to contrast these areas entirely. You just want them to subtly stand out from the rest of the page. 

2. Stay Away from Complete Darkness

One of the big mistakes that people make when creating dark theme websites is making it as dark as possible. Simply put, this doesn’t look good. It saturates the screen and tends to drown out all contrasting elements. 

The truth is, if you’re going to use a black background, you should opt for a lighter shade of black, something with just a bit of gray in it. This plays much better with other elements, creating a website that is much easier on the eyes. 

For instance, check out the background at https://setapp.com/how-to/google-chrome-dark-mode. As you can see, it almost seems to have some light pouring through it, making it much more visually appealing. 

#17202A is a good shade to use, as are a number of others. Just be sure to avoid #000000 and other shades close to it. 

3. Contrast Properly

Regardless of the type of website you’re making, contrast is key. However, contrasting with a dark theme website is entirely different from contrasting with a light theme website. Whereas a light theme website demands dark, saturated fonts and style elements, a dark theme website demands light, unsaturated fonts, and style elements. 

You want the viewer to be able to read the website without straining. If the viewer has to put effort into making out the copy, you’re not contrasting your text properly. 

White obviously works. But so too do powder blue, light gray, and other such colors. In summation, keep those contrasts light and everything will be alright. 

4. Gray Filter Your Images

One of the problems you might encounter when adding images to your website is that they appear too brightly on your screen. As a reaction, you might try to black filter these images. Unfortunately, when you do this, you’ll find that they blend in with the rest of your website; they don’t pop. 

The solution? Gray filter your images instead. Adding a gray filter to your images will ensure that they’re not too bright, all the while ensuring that they stand out amongst other design elements on the page. 

The exact shade of your gray is dependent on the darkness of your background. The darker the background, the darker your shade of gray should be. That said, you need to make sure that your images possess a healthy contrast. 

6. Use Opacity Strategically

Opacity refers to the opaqueness of a design element. The less opacity a design element has, the more transparent it becomes. The more opacity an element has, the more opaque it becomes. 

When creating a dark theme website, you need to take advantage of opacity, using different levels of it to characterize different design elements.

For instance, if you’re creating a clickable button, you should opt for a higher opacity. This will allow the button to stand out among other elements, helping the user to find it and use it as needed. 

On the other hand, let’s say you’re using subheading text. This text isn’t quite as important as a clickable button. Therefore, it should use a slightly lower opacity. 

Finally, let’s say that there’s a disabled element on your page. To show that this element is disabled, you should use a very low opacity, lower than the ones used for both the button and the subheading discussed above. 

In a sense, you’re creating a hierarchy with your opacity usage. This hierarchy will be subconsciously detected in the viewer’s mind and will assist him or her in using the website. 

7. Take Advantage of Space

Regardless of the type of website you’re creating, you need to take advantage of space. Note, though, that this is doubly true when creating a dark theme website. 

Stuffing a number of elements together on a dark theme website creates something of a visual smog. It makes it very difficult for the viewer to differentiate one element from the next. This, of course, leads to overwhelm, which, in turn, leads to the viewer clicking out of the website. 

Make sure to use ample space between different sections of your website. There should be at least one measurable inch separating each section, and at least a half an inch between elements within a section. 

Designing a Dark Theme Website is as Simple as Following These Tips

If your goal is to design a dark theme website, you needn’t do anything more than follow the tips above. Take them to heart and you’ll end up with a website that’s not only attractive but easy on the eyes as well. 

In need of other website tips? Our website has you covered. Take a look at some of our other blog posts now!