Do This Not That : Text Colors

Which is more pleasing to the eye?

This might seem like a diversion from our typical fare, but I see it all the time and it drives me crazy. Light text on a black background for an announcement or even a website.

Now sometimes you want to emphasize something, so I’ll give you a pass at altering your standard brand. But a long piece of text in a light color with a very dark background to ‘call attention’ to it? Well, it only calls my attention to the fact that your graphic design skills are lacking. While also making it very difficult to read the text and comprehend the message.

Why am I thinking about this? Well, a church I frequent multiple times per week (that shall remain nameless) published the above on the right in their bulletin this week. An important message about the financials that were shared the week before.

As someone who works with Churches all around the country, I combed through those financials pretty thoroughly. So naturally I was eager to read an update. Did we actually have higher revenue than expected? Did someone find some extra money somewhere so we could stop the twice-a-month 2nd collections we just began to save up for a new HVAC system?

If I squinted and moved the bulletin very close to my face, I could begin to make out the notice. All of this could have been avoided though if the announcement had just been outlined in a special border or a colored heading instead of a dark green background for the yellow text (for example the instance on the left).

So why does this matter aside from “it’s not Katie’s style”? It matters because we should be excelling at communication. In particular communication about financial health to maintain transparency. Donors who trust the organization and feel the organization is transparent are stronger donors. Also this is not difficult to do once you get a template set up!

Take a moment to check out your bulletin. If you’re like 99% of the Churches in the country it’s the most up-to-date communication piece you produce, so make sure it’s easy to read. If it’s not and you aren’t sure how to make that happen, ask someone in the parish to help you create a clean-looking, easy to read template and then use that every week for consistency. Your bulletin printer might even offer template or redesign services … many have them already built into the contract and you just aren’t taking advantage of the opportunity!


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