Is a Dark Website Design Right for Your Brand?

Zach Wills / April 26, 2019

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The “night mode” trend boosted the popularity of darker interface designs for phones and operating software to websites and apps. Not only have some web designers found darker designs more stylish, they’ve also discovered creative ways to use them to enhance the user experience.

Let’s take a look at the history of the trend, whether it’s right for your brand, and how you can apply a dark website design to your WordPress.com site.

From the early days of computing . . .

The very beginning of web design was dark — nothing but black screens and light text. Since then, web design has come a long way, through tables and frames, JavaScript, Flash, CSS, and finally, to modern-day responsive websites.

. . . to the forefront of modern site design

Nowadays, a website in “dark” or “night” mode design favors the use of light-colored text and images on a dark background. Black serves as the primary color, giving the site a sophisticated, serious tone. It can be used to draw visitors’ attention to the elements you wish to highlight — sort of like a call to action.

Dark website design isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution

While dark website design can be attractive and professional in some cases, it isn’t always going to be the best option. Consider the following factors before overhauling your site’s look:

  • Minimal written content: if your website is heavy on visual media, like images and video, but light on text — like many art or portfolio websites are — a dark design may help you present those visuals in a more modern way.
  • Dark brand colors: if your brand uses dark tones as part of its official colors, a design matching those tones will create a cohesive link between your brand and its online presence.

Applying a dark theme to your WordPress.com website

Updating your site’s appearance and giving it a sleek, dark design can be as quick as selecting and customizing the right theme. To get started:

  1. Log into your WordPress.com account and click the Themes button that appears in the left-hand navigation menu. This will bring you to the Theme Showcase.
  2. To filter themes, click on Style. Then click Show all to reveal all 40 style categories.
  3. Finally, select Dark to view the free and premium dark website designs available to you.

Dark themes in the Theme Showcase

Take advantage of the Try & Customize feature to get a live preview of what any given theme would look like on your website. To access it, just click on the three dots in the lower-right corner of the theme’s thumbnail.

Try & Customize feature

When you find a look that’s right for your site, click on Activate & Publish (or Purchase).

Your site’s design should facilitate its purpose

Whether it’s light or dark, your site’s design should energize your visitors and get them interested in seeing more. Dark website designs should be used to highlight images, buttons, or to complement your brand colors — but not on text-heavy sites like news publications. Not convinced about making the switch just yet? Check out Designer Daily’s post on dark website design.

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