View Poll Results: Does artwork look better formatted on black? or white?

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  • Black

    14 66.67%
  • White

    5 23.81%
  • Doesn't make a difference

    2 9.52%
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  1. #1
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    Do u prefer format on Black or White

    I just had a debate with someone on this and figured i'd pose the question here.

    Do you format your work, or prefer your work formatted on black? or white?

    I have my blog, i dont take it as seriously as my sketchbook here, but i've always thought that artwork looks better formatted on black than white because especially when viewing on a computer screen cause it can shrink your pupil and in general just be too overpowering and distracting when viewing artwork (and for the sake of argument i think the same for photography).

    My web designer friend who i was debating this with, on the other hand is a big fan of formatting work on white. She tells me that for a blog that makes money or a photo blog or most websites in general white is better because the average person subconciously associates black with something bad and white with good (makes sense) as well as several other things. This is likely one of the reasons flickr, google, amazon, etc. are formatted mostly white im assuming. But in general, the point my friend made is that most money making sites are formatted on white for a reason.

    So as i mentioned before, does anyone have an opinion on this? it's totally subjective but do you prefer your work formatted on black or white? also do you think it matters if it's photography or artwork?
    "I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain."
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  3. #2
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    CRTs actually darken everything else when something white is present.

    Also, black is more classy.

  4. #3
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    Your friend does have a very valid point i must say. Make a list of sites that you find looking the best, and in the most cases, it has a relative light color.

    however, i'm not sure if its quite like that for art, since a lot of white can screw with the image.
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  6. #5
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    gray is supposedly best for artwork

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  8. #6
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    Technically, you are both right.

    As a web designer I know that first impressions are everything and if a user comes to a website things like the background can influence the overall impression of the site regardless of content. Black used to be used on pretty much all hacking and underground sites so it carries with it a bit of a reputation.

    Fortunately that is fading and among art sites I think I see more with dark or black overall schemes than with white or light schemes.

    The light box idea is a good compromise but truth be told, just like you art, you should do what you like and thinks works for you. Your blog/website is an extension of your artistic self and if black speaks your language then black it is.

    ~Anthony

  9. #7
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    I tend to like photography formatted on black and artwork on white. It just looks better that way to me. Kind of a gut instinct thing. Which seems to hold up because most illustrators' websites are on white and photography is often on black.

    I think it's because of photography's photorealistic touch, which makes it better able to hold up strength wise to black. Artwork like paintings and drawings, they have more tenuous grips with reality, which means they require less obstruction from their environment to be effective.

  10. #8
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    Any neutral background will be better for me than either total black or total white.
    Grey, camel, metal blue, but not the extremeties.

  11. #9
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    Gray, solid gray. Matches with everything. More than black, more than white. Pure, beautiful gray.

    Don't have a website up right now, but I intend on the background being a very neutral color (perhaps gray, perhaps some desaturated other color around that tone).

    Generally, I just like to border images with two or three pixels of black, and then put them on a very neutral background.

    If I had to choose between the two, I'd say black. Because white hurts my eyes like hell, especially on computer screens.

  12. #10
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    White mostly. Preferably a slightly broken warmer white.
    I think gray is best for preserving artwork values, perhaps black is better, but I really dislike pure black formats personally.
    Having it 90% black or so and with a slight color looks a lot better I think.

  13. #11
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    I think it depends on the values in your work, if i were to set up a blog featuring mostly pencil sketches/drawings, I would use a white or slightly (a few % black) gray so that the black border doesn't contrast with the subtle tones of the pencil. If my blog mainly featured digital work with bright colors and highly contrasting highlights, I would use a black/very dark gray background to make the highlights pop and the reinforce the shadows.

    In short, I would use a dark framework for high-contrast work and a light one for delicate values/shades and low-contrast work such as pencils.

    For example, when you read art books, generally, characters and creature sketches that are loose and aim to convey character are printed on white pages, landscape and mood studies that focus on lighting and atmosphere are printed with full-bleed black pages.
    Last edited by kab; March 1st, 2010 at 09:30 AM.

  14. #12
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    Doesn't mean you format it black that you're a bad guy. I should prefer the color black for a change. Prefer on your choice and not be a stereotype.

  15. #13
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    I like white or neutral colors for displaying artwork. It just feels cleaner. But it depends on your overall design, there are portfolio websites set in black that look fantastic as well.

  16. #14
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  17. #15
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    If any mods can add 50% grey to my fancy little poll or if anyone can tell me how to edit my poll to have 50% grey it'd be much appreciated.
    "I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain."
    --- Frank Herbert, Dune - Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear

    Check out my Sketchbook! Critique and Criticism welcomed.

    or my Artstation

    Or my stream on Twitch! http://www.twitch.tv/wwsketch

  18. #16
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    I think it depends entirely on personal preference and what message you want to get across. If your art is very dark and creepy, maybe a background to fit that would be preferable. Although if your art is lighter, or just more varied, maybe a white background would be better. Or grey for that matter. Although grey to me says boring...

    Facebook and Twitter and so on need to appeal to a broad audience, so they need to take the safest way to get to them. Or rather use the design that appeals to the greatest amount of people. I think white is very good for that. It's both very neutral and pretty positive. But on the other hand a heavy metal band using a white background on their home page would have a hard time being taken seriously.
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  19. #17
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    Architectural white (clean and modern)
    Film black (classy)
    Industrial design grey (a slightly warm slate grey - useful/ practical)

  20. #18
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  21. #19
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    neutral midtones are best in my opinion. Both black and white influence brightness.

  22. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArtZealot View Post
    She tells me that for a blog that makes money or a photo blog or most websites in general white is better because the average person subconciously associates black with something bad and white with good
    That's dependent on culture.

    Red flag for a Westerner reads as "danger" , for a Chinese dude it probably reads as lucky.

    White is all "purity and good" for Westerners, again, not what an asian dude might see.

    I'd go with 50% grey because I'm boring.

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