(First post, yay!) Im working on a fashion lookbook for print and I'm displaying product colours on a black background, but what can I do for when I need to display black on black? Example:


As you can see there are 3 colours but the black is not legible on black, what do you reckon I could do to improve visibility without compromising design too much? I cant change the black background FYI. The black dot in the picture isn't quite Black (#000000) its actually #20201f which I thought would help but when we did a test print it was basically invisible.

  • 1
    By the way, welcome to GDSE!
    – Circle B
    Commented Jul 23, 2014 at 15:09
  • 1
    Odd. It took me a long time time to figure out what you were talking about as the third circle was perfectly visible to me.
    – Joshua
    Commented Jul 23, 2014 at 19:04
  • 1
    @Joshua Yeah its visible on desktop but as printers don't have as many colours its basically invisible
    – BoneStarr
    Commented Jul 24, 2014 at 11:14

3 Answers 3


Here are a couple of things you could do...

Stroke the black:

enter image description here

Use an outer Glow, this may not work depending on the rest of the design:

enter image description here

Stroke all of them, this is what I think I would do:

enter image description here

  • 9
    Circle B, the master of circles
    – SaturnsEye
    Commented Jul 23, 2014 at 14:43
  • There you go! :-)
    – Circle B
    Commented Jul 23, 2014 at 14:44
  • Yeah I think i'm gonna go with option 3 that you mentioned, thanks for the advice! +1 :)
    – BoneStarr
    Commented Jul 23, 2014 at 15:02
  • Great, obviously the strokes I did are pretty rough since they are not vector, and I would definitely do like Bakabaka said and make them the same thickness as the line below the circles.
    – Circle B
    Commented Jul 23, 2014 at 15:07
  • 2
    Do add to the stroke idea, I'd also consider a slightly thicker one at 50% gray.
    – DA01
    Commented Jul 23, 2014 at 15:32

Keep it simple: use a subtle outline on each of the circular swatches. From what I can see, the colour and thickness of the horizontal white line would be great.

  • +1 Thanks for your comment, good observation of the stroke.
    – BoneStarr
    Commented Jul 23, 2014 at 15:01

If you have the capability and the time to experiment, I would try glossy dots on a matte background.

  • 1
    I second that. I have done it, and it is - when done well - superbly elegant. That would mean gloss on the other coloured dots too.
    – benteh
    Commented Jul 23, 2014 at 21:01

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.