Most sites use some shade of grey for the color of their text.

I was reading an article which suggested using a grey (#373d3f) with the rgb values of (55, 61, 63).

My question is whether doing this provides a measurable improvement in readability in comparison to using a grey with equal rgb values (e.g. 62, 62, 62), and if so, then why?

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    If you're downvoting, please let me know why, so I can improve the question. – Thredolsen Jun 12 '17 at 10:00
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    That is almost verbatim our advice for any downvote :) – Vincent Jun 12 '17 at 13:17
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    A designer colleague of mine said something I have always kept with me: titles and text Never all the way black or all the way white. One reason is for lightness, balance and elegance. Darker text looks heavier and draws attention. With the rule of no black or white in text you now use shade and color to guide attention and create hierarchy. A dark or darkly colored title will be read first, and some mid grey text will not command too much attention and be easy on the eyes. Black text on white background looks old fashioned. Beware I am delving into opinion and non rule based design theory. – Webster Jun 12 '17 at 17:36

If something is truly measurable might not be the right question to ask here. I am not an expert myself on that field either, but getting a significant result depends on more things than just a design change.

Anyway, back to the font color part. This also heavily depends on your the rest of your design, your target group and target devices. The article describes some of the needed contrasts to create good readability. There won't be a 'one size fits all' solution for this, you will need to rethink this for every design.

I've just read the article but the writer doesn't say the grey he calls 'Raven' is better than a grey with equal values. It's just the shade of grey he thinks will work best for his case.

The only visible difference between the two is that 'Raven' is slightly cooler than the 63/63/63 grey you describe. He probably chose this because a cooler toned grey matches the rest of the colors better than a warmer toned grey.

Truly knowing what will work best can only be achieved through testing and viewing results.


I agree with @janedoe1337... I've just spent the last while trying to find any research regarding color temperature and legibility (because I too am curious, now), and have been able to find nothing that references it.

It is important to note that you reference accessibility standards when considering contrast. If you're not designing for the web, it may still be a good reference... but keep in mind that if you're designing for print, and are not using a pure white paper, that there may be some validity to a cooler grey retaining better legibility. A cooler color on a warmer background will create more visual contrast.

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    If you agree with an answer, you should upvote it! – Zach Saucier Jun 13 '17 at 12:28
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    The principles may vary a bit because we're talking about screen based type, but in terms of printed text, Jan Tschichold argues for a lower contrast being easier on the eye than all the way black in his classic work on book design "Die Neue Typographie". – curious Jul 5 '17 at 1:33

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