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Best Dark Website Designs

Dark website designs can look sophisticated and arty – but they’re not right for everyone or every type of business.

As a rule, we have come to associate darker websites with the art world – art and design, photography sites, music, painters and designers often use sites with a predominantly black or charcoal background as it provides a low-key, neutral frame for the showcasing of their work and doesn’t distract the viewer too much.

best dark website designs


If you are planning a site that will require the user to interact by filling in personal details and purchasing items, then you might need to consider how your potential customers will feel about a dark site. We have come to trust black text on a white background when inputting personal or bank details, it’s true to say that the general user is more likely to trust a lighter coloured design with their personal information.

Having said that, if you are an abstract photographer, you might well decide that the type of person visiting your site will understand and appreciate your dark design regardless. There’s much to consider as you can see!

Dark or black website design is not right for everyone, there are several good reasons to avoid using a website that is predominantly at the black end of the colour spectrum, but there are certainly some instances where a dark site can make a striking impression. Here’s some of my favourites, and if you are short on time, I urge you to at least scan down to the Immersive Garden site listed below and go take a look.

Dragon Interactive

dragon interactive

Dragon Interactive are a design company that often features in website design tutorials as a good example of the use of a fading button design. In fact, it was while researching how designers use such button designs that we stumbled across this site – again and again.

Here though, it serves as a striking example of dark web design, the overall feel is of a black and white site, but hover over any of the now famous buttons and you are greeted with a pleasing neon blue glow.

This site certainly puts the design into web design – beautifully done.

dragoninteractive.com

Melissa Hie

melissa hie

This is a favourite of mine. It’s essentially not a dark design, rather a dark front cover design. You really do need to visit this site to get the full benefit from it. Click the link below to visit this site and navigate around and you will see what I mean. The site gives the impression of being one giant flat piece of paper that you zoom around on.

It’s fair to say that the only dark page is the home page, as the rest of the site is very colourful indeed with tasteful electric, citrus and shocking hues. This site is a good example of another crucial aspect of dark website design; not cluttering the page. When you decide to create a darker website, everything needs to be spaced out more, what is in effect “whitespace” on any other site, gives an airy feel to a darker design – it avoids a feeling of oppressiveness.

Much like our own (see below) and Dragon Interactive’s hover effects, Melissa Hie uses a particular colour to strongly contrast against the dark monotone colours and essentially warm the site up.

melissahie.com

Shakster Records

shakster records

Here’s a design from our own design stable. Shakster Records is a band and artist promotion company based in Chelmsford, UK. The site covers all the previous mentioned aspects crucial to dark website design; grey text rather than bright white and a smooth, charcoal grey background rather than jet black. The embedded background image gives a sense of depth as well creating that airy, spacious feel.

We designed each page on this theme but made them all slightly different to each other – where there was a lot of text, we gave a lighter, more traditional background to make it easier on the eye.

You can see where we got the inspiration for the light source from the site below. Although using entirely different design techniques and resources to create it (we used a simple adapted javascript plug-in).

shaksterrecords.co.uk

Immersive Garden

immersive garden

This is simply a beautiful site, one that should be cited for anyone that believes that web design is not design as such and merely coding.

The home page is lit by a living light, with what looks like spotlit flies or specks of dust swirling around the light source, drawing you in.

Hover over the light (you don’t even need to click) and the site comes to life in an awe inspiringly beautiful way. Amazing. If Tim Burton designed websites with advice from Dali, then this is what they might have come up with.

Staggeringly good, but with a designer price tag to match no doubt!

immersive-garden.com

Mark Gardener

mark gardener

Mark Gardener used to be the front man in the fantastic Ride back in the nineties. A band at the front of the shoegazing movement that remain as much a respected band now as they did at the height of their career. Check out the timeless album, Going Blank Again.

Mark’s site proves that dark doesn’t have to be black. Keeping it simple and airy, the site uses a stunning landscape image that also helps convey a moody – yet relaxed and tranquil – open feel. It’s essentially a very simple site to design, but given a level of sophistication by the use of the static background image. It’s something that we originally used at Fizz with an orange hued sunset, before moving to a more standard layout.

markgardener.com

Fizz Web Design?

fizz web design

And finally, here’s our own site, Fizz Web Design – our old design. As you can see top right, we’d taken the risk of not practicing what we preach; the interactive part (we want to encourage users to get in touch) had not been created in a standard, white on black way. We risked alienating some users with this approach, but felt it integral to the design aesthetic of the site overall – especially as we had opted to add the contact form into the header, the one area even the blandest of sites can get creative.

You can see that we had spaced things out more than we would have probably done if the site had not been a dark website design. The menu floats in what would have been excess whitespace should the site have been on a white background. It would still work, but may not have looked right.

We eventually moved to the more standard colour scheme that you see as our site now. We want to attract all sorts of businesses and feared that a dark website might put off your average Joe looking for a website out of business necessity rather than design aesthetics – this is an important point to consider. While attracting business from the world of the arts is fantastic and a joy, we have to live in the real world.

Maybe if we end up specialising in the music and art fields a little more, we will revert back to a darker website design!

There are many more great examples of dark web designs out there, but I bet there aren’t many that match some of the more creative and artistic ones we’ve gathered here. There are some good dark-looking photography sites especially. Go have a look and see what you think and please add any other beautiful dark website designs that you find in the comments below – but only if you think they can match artistically what we have listed here.

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3 Responses to “Best Dark Website Designs”

  1. Apollo says:

    Nice article….

    Dark design is very impressed, because dark colors are give positive thinking. So if we use dark designs in sites it looks like beautiful…

    http://www.apollocreativesolutions.com/

  2. Surya Kumar says:

    All the above websites are so attractive..

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