Today, I’d like to discuss READABILITY and why you should avoid using reversed text (white type on a black or dark background). I discuss this in my live presentations. Apparently not enough has been written about this, judging from the online design I’m seeing.
To persuade your prospects, they must read your words. If your words are difficult to read, your ads won’t be effective. And reversed text is a common cause of poor readability.
According to a study published in the “International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction,” reversed text is less legible and more difficult to read than text on a light background. The study also found that reversed text was associated with increased visual discomfort and fatigue.
No good for us advertisers.
Another study, published in the “Journal of the Optical Society of America,” found that reversed text was less legible than text on a light background, especially when the text size was small. The study also found that reversed text was associated with increased “visual discomfort” (reading difficulty) and a higher rate of reading errors.
Again, no good, right?
A third study, published in the “Journal of the Society for Information Display,” found that reversed text was less legible and slower to read than text on a light background. The study also found that reversed text caused higher rate of reading errors, especially when in small text.
Bottom-Line? Reversed text should be avoided. It’s less legible, more difficult to read, and associated with increased visual discomfort and fatigue.
“But Drew! I’ve seen knocked-out text used in ads before and it looked just fine!”
For short headlines, sure. If your ad is literally SURROUNDED by other ads and you need to stand out, fine. But remember… advertising is all about persuasion. If you want to persuade to the max, you need max-out readership and comprehension.
So now that you know what the studies say, you know what (not) to do!
As always, keep on Cashvertising!
Drew Eric Whitman
P.S : I help small businesses and entrepreneurs achieve advertising success. If you want to take your advertising efforts to the next level, contract me for personal, affordable, 1-on-1 coaching.
P.P.S. Need a dynamic keynoter, speaker, trainer for your group? Check out https://tinyurl.com/278rp647 and shoot me a DM to discuss!