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Cover image for Light Vs Dark Themes what is your preference?
Andrew Baisden
Andrew Baisden

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Light Vs Dark Themes what is your preference?

Ever since Apple introduced Dark Mode on iOS and macOS I have adopted it with a lot of the apps I have created recently. And I usually change the theme on a website to dark as well. Like Twitter, YouTube and even dev.to.

Discussion (48)

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cara_jacqueline profile image
Cara Borenstein

I enjoy dark mode personally but contrast matters a lot. Really enjoyed this article by a designer at Superhuman on delightful dark themes. blog.superhuman.com/how-to-design-...

In particular, her point on avoiding smearing makes a huge difference. Smearing happens when you use pure black background with pure white text (or something close to it). The pixels blur together and it can strain your eyes.

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Andrew Baisden Author

Good article useful reference for the next time I try to create a dark theme for something.

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Michael Fasani

100% this! That's why I made a VS Code theme specifically for Coding in the Sun!
marketplace.visualstudio.com/items...

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William Henderson

Dark mode but not too colourful - I like my themes to be dark but pretty unsaturated

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Sarah

This 👆

Examples:

  • Blog posts, articles, books, etc (basically everything that has more than a few sentences to consume): light mode the majority of the time. I have difficulties reading big chunks of text on a dark background no matter the contrast.
  • Except when I'm having a bad headache, then dark mode for everything (where it's convenient to switch) cause the light makes it worse.
  • Things like Twitter (short sentences, lots of input, usually on my phone), almost always dark mode by default.
  • If I'm reading in bed with the lights off, often dark mode too so the light doesn't wake up my fiancée.
  • On my phone I don't bother to switch from the default a lot of the time because the toggles aren't always easy to find and I don't have patience.
  • Etc.
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Andrew Baisden Author

I agree it comes down to the preference and context.

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Michal Bryxí

90% of the time I use and prefer light theme. Unless it's really really really dark in my room, most dark themes are unusable thanks to poor contrast. I do love light & sun even (especially) when coding and the stereotypical "the display brightness is burning my eyes" is rarely an issue to me.

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Christian | 🧑🏼‍💻

I dark mode all the things I can, where I can - VS Code, Affinity Designer/Photo/Publisher, Chrome, Spark, Notion, Tick Tick, iA Writer, Spotify (naturally) - and it's my preference on sites too if it's an option (Thanks Dev.to!)

For sites that don't offer dark mode where i'd like, I use the Dark Reader extension (Sparingly though, this is only for pages I use a lot but might not care about colour accuracy, as I've found them to shift) This has worked great on Google Sheets for example - one click and all my sheets are in dark mode without having to mess around with changing background colours etc manually - which is nice because if I share a sheet with someone else I haven't changed their default view.

I'll admit, if an app doesn't have dark mode, I will let that factor weigh in my evaluation process for if I want to keep using it going forward (Looking at you Figma and Adobe XD)

For me it's mostly an aesthetics thing, but also a comfort thing - the blinding white of multiple spreadsheets used to irritate me and strain my eyes.

As it's subjective though, I will treat it as an option going forward for most websites/software developed. I might use media queries (prefers-color-scheme) to default to a visitors browser setting, or I might default to darkmode just because that's the theme I (or a client) want - but (at least for my sites and at the recommendation to clients) I will have it as an option so visitors can choose between two.

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Andrew Baisden Author

Of course there are exceptions. I have been using Figma, Adobe XD and Typora for writing all of my blog posts on here and they ALL have light themes. So sometimes it depends on the circumstances and my mood can change like the colour theme.

fasani profile image
Michael Fasani

Please do share it, That would be amazing :-)

I use Alfred for copy+paste plus some automation and what I want to complete is a simple workflow to switch everything from Light to Dark and back again. The terminal theme as well as browser, editor, everything basically. If I can, and when I get it figured out I will be sure to share it.

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JSn1nj4‍‍👨‍💻

I love dark themes. I've been using them for at least 8 years (as much as I could get away with back then anyway, like Notepad++ and then eventually SublimeText).

It's taken so long for big software and service names to adopt dark themes. Trello finally did in their app recently and now I'm anticipating the same for their web app.

TBH the most surprising one for me was Facebook. But it was a welcome surprise. 🙂

And despite loving dark themes, I still have to admit there are a lot of nice color combinations that just work better with a light theme. If I go looking for a new VS Code theme for example, finding something I like takes such a long time. There are a lot of similar themes out there that are either super unsaturated or based around a single color (I may be a little obsessive when I start looking though 😖).

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Michiel Hendriks

You know that they invented lamps, right?

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zhon12345

I have always been a fan of dark mode no matter the time or place, I personally think that dark mode is made for anytime and anywhere. You can use it during the day or night and its more soothing to the eyes while light mode will make your eyes hurt when used in the dark. Plus I am just used to using dark mode as i have been using it for probably 2 yrs+.

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Giorgos Sarigiannidis

In general, I tend to prefer light mode better. But I usually go with whatever is the software's default mode, because it's the one that gets the most attention and it's better polished, as it is not rare that small details are often get overlooked on the non-default version.

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Andrew Baisden Author

Thats true many software programs are usually built with one theme in mind to begin with. They don't usually offer a variety from the start.

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Pacharapol Withayasakpunt • Edited on

macOS desktop? I use light mode regardless of dark mode being suggested.

PyCharm, I also use light mode, because of familiarity (in the past). Android Studio and IntelliJ are also light mode.

VSCode, I use Default Dark+. Tried several light themes, but they never stick.

For general web surfing (and app with preferences), I NEVER prefer dark mode.

dev.to is also default light.

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Endrit Shabani

It totally depends, even my phone supports dark mode I never use it, although in my code editor (VS code) I use dark themes with colorful text. I don't know why but those themes make me like coding more (lol).

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Gracrys

Dark mode, or atleast some low contrast, black on white is awful for me, because i am really sensible to high saturation - brightness, i end with stars in my eyes hahaha, that's why i use a less saturated white or black on my uis ^^

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Michael Fasani

Dark mode mostly but some apps/sites get it wrong and it just feels wrong.

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Jim

I have the same feeling. Some dark themes are too dark. I really want a nice balance of maybe darker tones and some complementary colors, but not just a charcoal background. I usually end up using a dark theme and just play with the foreground colors until it feels right.

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Michael Fasani

The worst are those auto color invert buttons. That's just a No!

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Xiaohan Du

After using both for a while I prefer light theme, I thought I'd like dark theme but I found them hard to see in many cases, especially texts are so small in many coding cases.

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leob • Edited on

I never use dark modes/themes, tried them a few times but every time after 5 seconds I switch back to light ... but I noticed that dark mode is really popular.

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Andrew Baisden Author

It could be because we have become accustomed to light themes over the years. Almost all OS started off with a light theme.

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Manav Misra

Dark 💯. Much easier on the 👀

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Colin McDermott

D A R K M O D E I S L I F E

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H. Kamran

Dark mode! I just like dark color schemes better.

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Diogo Rodrigues

Most of the time I prefer Dark Mode as I usually work and study at night. I also prefer a dark mode without many colorful elements. ✌

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Rob OLeary
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ma2web • Edited on

Dark 🖤 black owl theme

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Mike Bybee

Dark on mobile for sure, due to battery savings. I prefer it on "desktop" as well, and used it in Linux long before MacOS and Windows even thought of making it possible.

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Rose

Always dark mode! There's already enough light mode around us, it's called the outside world. :P

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Michael Fasani

It's definitely, function over form!

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William Henderson

Pretty good but it's almost too unsaturated, if there was more of the orange from the main button for headings and stuff it would be really cool

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Martín Vukovic

Always dark. Never not dark.

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Laura Veee

Dark mode as long as the text colours are good and bright. I hate squinting.

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Benjamin Saul

Due to a version issue I have I prefer dark themes.

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Poveda

Depends on how lighter is the local/room I am in. For de lighters one, light mode turn ligilibility easier, for the other cases dark theme is the choice.