Optimising Website Backgrounds

Successful website design gives at least equal attention to the stylistic and functional aspects of the site. Both of these components are essential to create a great experience for website users, in the context of the business objectives. As far as the stylistic side of web design is concerned, of all the content that goes into making up a website, the largest visual area of the site is usually the website background. As you may have noticed, many websites (including this one) opt for a white, or light background. Why is this the case?

In this brief article, we investigate the popularity of white website backgrounds. After all, they could be any colour, so why are they so often white? Join us for this exploration of this enduring stylistic choice.

The Criteria that Drive Website Design

Successful business websites are purposeful. The purpose of the website aligns to business, brand and marketing objectives, which are different for every business. Examples of typical website purposes include: brand presentation, information presentation, communication, SEO, marketing objectives, and integration with other online business assets. Accordingly, the styles that can be used are limited by criteria which are necessary to approach ALL of these objectives. These criteria include:

  • Media: the media on which the website is viewed
  • Brand: to express the uniqueness / difference of business

  • Audience: to connect with a specific audience
  • Style: working within functional stylistic possibilities

  • Legibility: ensuring information can be communicated

To accomplish this outcome, a (or light-coloured) background is most likely as a result of being the best overall contender to approach all of these considerations. It allows for responsive website viewing on different devices, can accommodate different brand styles, easily adapt to suit different audience requirements, allow for functional styles, and offers a legible solution for the communication of textual information.

In design, the simplest effective choice is usually the best choice.

Working with white backgrounds can be likened to working with white walls. They set a backdrop for the expression of style, enabling different moods and emotions to be created by the other features included in the design. Is it always the best solution? There are definitely exceptions to the rule! We’ll take a look at these another time. Thanks for reading!