Tips and Tricks

Locked White type on black backgroung

Has anyone printed a book with some pages that have white type on a black background?  and how did it read?  Im looking to use 10pt Verdana.

Thanks, RJVS

Posted by
RJVS
Dec 1, 2007 11:53pm PDT
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RJVS
 

I used garamond, regular and italics at 11 point , white on black and it worked well- quite sharp. I noticed at 8pt. it was somewhat less clear as the black background started to impinge a little on the white type.

Posted by
cantudoit2
Dec 3, 2007 12:12pm PDT
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cantudoit2
 

I have printed several photo books with all the photos on black bacgrounds. All photo caption have been white type, but in the 12 – 18 point size range. I was very satisfied with the results

Posted by
radarling
Dec 3, 2007 8:53pm PDT
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radarling
 

I agree with the other replys. Looks top notch.

Posted by
Brewyet
Dec 7, 2007 6:47am PDT
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Brewyet
 

My advice as a professional is NOT to use black backgrounds on any photobooks. It isnt done professionally. Black is problematic when viewing photos optimally. Use a white background!

Posted by
chdant
Dec 13, 2007 7:56pm PDT
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chdant
 

It’s not that the use of black or a dark background is unprofessional. It is more a question of trends in graphic design. These things go in and out of style. Pick up some photo books from the 60’s or 7o’s. You’ll see a lot of design tendencies not used today. Were they unprofessional back then? No. Black backgrounds may well become more common in the future. That should’nt surprise anyone.Photoshop had a huge impact on graphic design trends- who knows what the up to date fine art photo book will look like in 2015? White backgrounds could look quite dated by then. I’m talking about graphic design trends here- not how photographers frame and display their work for gallery exhibitions.

Posted by
cantudoit2
Dec 14, 2007 10:54am PDT
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cantudoit2
 

Further to my last post, I don’t mean to say that I’m   in total disagreement with chdant ’s point.  As a matter of fact there is an over use of black as a background in Blurb photo books. (I’ve checked out a lot of them in the Blurb Bookstore). What’s that all about?

This gets into an area which is Never discussed in the forums. For all of the complaining that goes on from Blurb customers about the limitations of Booksmart templates, (and there are some), in fact, the real limitation lies with the lack of training, and experience of the customer base with regard to the most basic tenets of graphic design when applied to book publishing. You can generally note when a Blurb book has passed through the hands of a graphic designer before submission. Believe me, it does’nt happen very often, (to judge from most of the books in the Bookstore).

 I guess that does’nt matter that much if it’s just a wedding book, (after all, most of those books will outlast the marriage),....or a book about a family  vacation somewhere. Or baby books, ect., ect.   But if the book has some artistic aims and intents, (such as in the case of  fine art photo books), then I think other standards of graphic design necessarily apply.

 And that’s where the problems start- unfortunate choices of fonts,  illedgibility of text due to tight leading…... ghastly juxtapositioning of image versus type. It’s a long list of design crimes. Some of those efforts would’nt  pass muster in a first year design course. It’s truly amateur hour.

 When customers complain about Blurb books not being of "bookstore quality", it makes me laugh. The reason is that the customers who built the books are not graphic designers and have’nt a clue of what’s involved.

Posted by
cantudoit2
Dec 14, 2007 11:23am PDT
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cantudoit2
 

The reply to my straightforward post apparently stuck cantudoit2’s nerve, and I think he missed the point with a lot of text.
I think if you read my post carefully, I said it isn’t done professionally. Period. And the reason I said black was an unsuitable background is that it’s problematic when viewing the photographs, as it distorts the hues and values in the photograph. I said NOTHING about trends, styles, etc. I am sure keith Miller of Mexico knows much about such things, being an “artist, traveler, writer, drinker”...esp. the latter. In fact, Mr. Miller’s remarks about lack of training, etc. is laughable therefore.
I suggest the bloggers keep to what they understand, have training on, and all this noise would quiet down on this forum.
My suggestion was to RJVS, in fact. As a professional photographer and publisher, I would not suggest using black, grey, or any other background except white if you’re trying to display your photographs in an optimal way to the viewer.
What makes me laugh is the ridiculous remarks of amateurs like Keith down there in Mehhhico.

Posted by
chdant
Dec 14, 2007 11:14pm PDT
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chdant
 

Chdant knows nothing about my professional training or experience. In fact I am trained in graphic design. A cool and fair review of books which appear in the Blurb Bookstore will find quite a variety of approaches – some successfull from the point of view of their design and some not.

 Chdant needs to take a look at the history of his own field-(if photography and publishing really IS his field), and then he would find that the use of white backgrounds with photography has not by any means  ALWAYS been the conventional  approach for  the presentation of photographs. It IS the conventional way of handling photography these days. But like many other things in design, publishing, fashion, you name it, these things ebb and flow.

Talk about striking a nerve, Chandt, there is no need to take things so personally. I  merely put your comments in an historical "design " perspective. Have a drink,  relax, get a life!

Posted by
cantudoit2
Dec 15, 2007 10:17am PDT
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cantudoit2
 

well, ive really been put in my place by a real pro.

you know nothing about what you speak, Keith. period, as is evident from this. i see you pretty much complain about a lot of things you know really nothing about.

again, I have to laugh at your remarks, which really don’t add anything.

since youre the “drinker and traveler”, I suggest you take a long tall glass of cool-it and give us all a break with your ‘professional’ opinion.

Posted by
chdant
Dec 15, 2007 2:42pm PDT
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chdant
 

ENOUGH.

Posted by
vpckim
Dec 15, 2007 9:36pm PDT
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vpckim
 

Yea, right, thanks for the helpfull suggestion.

 I dared to have a different opinion from chdant. For that I’m a drunken amateur.

 Great.

 We each know nothing of the other. Why don’t you learn some manners before you start spewing your insults to those who don’t share your point of view?

Posted by
cantudoit2
Dec 16, 2007 10:47am PDT
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cantudoit2
 

....

Posted by
chanoy
Dec 16, 2007 3:27pm PDT
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chanoy
 

I reviewed all those crazy posts and apart from his comment about marriage I agree with him. Graphic design is prone to all the vagaries of fashion. That’s why it’s easy to date a book just by looking at the style of graphic design. Yea I have a design background too.  Sounds to me like he knows what he’s talking about.

 Surrounding a photograph with white is a safe bet- it’s the mainstream answer in publishing photo books as we speak. But these conventions change and electing a grey or some other neutral colour can work as well, depending on a hundred other variables. Not using white does not make the photographer or the graphic designer unprofessional,

Peace, Guys

Posted by
chanoy
Dec 16, 2007 3:33pm PDT
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chanoy
 

yea, peace. Should’nt use these forums to fight.

I agree with u Chanoy. I’ve seen graphic design styles change more often then the hem line on my outfits…...That’s my field too. If Blurbarians want to use non-white as a background for a photo in their photo books, then let them! Hey, sometimes it even works…..and works well.

 As to the marriage thing. I don’t know. I think Blurb better keep hurrying up delivering those wedding books- before some of those couples file their divorce papers! But seriously, I wish them all the best. And even if they break up, the kids will still enjoy the books, right?

Posted by
Betsyblue
Dec 16, 2007 4:25pm PDT
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Betsyblue
 

Thanks for that, Chanoy…

 And by the way, What happened to Chdant? Last Thur. his photo/thumbnail showed a senior guy in his 60’s- white hair and everything-<del>by Sat. he looked like  a member of Village People. Whatever he’s taking</del> I want some!

 Actually this little change of the photo-portrait underlines my original point. Photos, books,  and graphic design are inevitably stamped by the prevailing tastes of the times in which they are produced. His ‘new’ photo could only have been taken in the 70’s- the lighting and style of photography speak for themselves. If you don’t believe me, check out his photo on the copyright page of one of his Photo books, presumably, snapped recently.

 Nice try Chandt….and carefull girls! If you were thinking of a date, he does’nt quite look like that anymore!

 

 

Posted by
cantudoit2
Dec 17, 2007 11:43am PDT
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cantudoit2
 

i’m one of the "amateurs."  since when is blurb meant for professionals??  i came to this forum for advice, not petty, childish nitpicking.

Posted by
greenies
Dec 18, 2007 10:12am PDT
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greenies
 

An earlier post has been removed due to flamming and inappropriate language. Let’s try to get this topic back on track.

Thanks,

Kathy 

Posted by
kathybad
Dec 18, 2007 10:35am PDT
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kathybad
 

My eagle book has black background with white text. I used a 12 point font and made it bold. Text looks great, photos look great.  I don’t know or care what’s trendy or done professionally, but I think the black makes the photos look really good.

Posted by
gymell
Jan 2, 2008 9:08am PDT
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gymell
 

If you read biographies of Stieglitz, Weston and Ansel Adams, you will find out how the masters exhibited their work. Stieglitz is the true Father of American Photography in the 20th Century. At "An American Place", all photographs and art were exhibited on very subdued pastel painted walls (like egg-shell white) or a Very Light  Green. The frames Stieglitz used were white with white matts and the B&W images "popped out" at you. Adams’ book "400 photographs"  puts his exceptional B&W images on white pages – a classic and honorable way to print.

Adams and Weston tended towards black frames, white matts and a slightly darker than medium green wall color to make their images appear to float in space.

 Color is a very strong design element in its own right and can be used to add lift to a poor composition. How any color – including white, grey and black – is used can make or break th overall effect. I have had many kinds of one-man shows where I experimented with color frames and wall motiffs and I guess I tend to go one of two ways.

 Black frames and white matts; white frames and white matts. White walls.

 

Posted by
Paticle
Jan 2, 2008 1:42pm PDT
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Paticle
 

I have done 3 books with black background and white text.  Everyone thinks they are very classy and dramatic.  However, it was a biographical book, but it did have 67 photos.  I love it.  I used 12 pt comic.

Posted by
CindyMenze
Jan 6, 2008 8:29pm PDT
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CindyMenze
 

Quote: And the reason I said black was an unsuitable background is that it’s problematic when viewing the photographs, as it distorts the hues and values in the photograph.

Actually, a black background has no effect, where white will tend to make the images look darker. I used black pages with white type & it looks pretty good. Mine had a lot of full page image spreads & I would agree that it isn’t something I would do with a book containing a lot of text though.

Posted by
PhotosGuy
Jan 13, 2008 9:43pm PDT
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PhotosGuy
 

This topic about black background, being a retired graphic artist from Hallmark after 31 years.
I find that black backgrounds tend to make artwork stand out. As an artist for
Hallmark upon a presentation that the company had me do, I suggested placing
original artwork against black to show comparison with printed artwork. They approved
highly of it and that set their standards for reviewing of all artwork. On a personal note,
my original artwork which is three dimensional is displayed on black. It just draws you
into it and makes it look rich. I just finished my first book and my background is black with
a light teal blue text. The book looks fabulous, and I give the black ground ten or rating.

Design, color etc. is each individuals choice, that’s why blurb is a great way to experiment and be creative.

Posted by
calico
Jan 17, 2008 12:52pm PDT
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calico
 

Calico,

I’ve been playing with alternatives to white text on my black backgrounds without much luck so far. My education is obvioulsy lacking as I have never heard of "teal". If it is not too much trouble could you give me some clues as to where I’d find that on Blurb’s or Photoshop’s Palette? Or maybe the RGB values if that is not beeing too cheeky.

..........Tony

Posted by
tfrankland
Jan 17, 2008 1:57pm PDT
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tfrankland
 

I used white type on a gray page. My book has a lot of text, but have not put it up for sale yet. 

I’ve had numerous compliments on that.  My book includes my photos, but the text is more important.  Its appearance pleases me and that is sufficient for me.  

I’ll let others fight out what background looks the best… Cheers.  Greg 

 

 

Posted by
gregorama
Jan 17, 2008 5:08pm PDT
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gregorama
 

dear chdant, ever seen any books by Frans Lanting, THE wildlife photographer, National Geographic etc etc etc?? To my opinion he is a professional, NG seems to think so too. AND he uses black pages in his books to put his photo’s on. Looks beautiful, but that is just my humble opinion. That YOU never use black pages and see yourself as a professional, that does’t mean "it isn’t done professionally". Maybe not by you and maybe you have excellent reasons. But please do not speak for all professional photographers.

 

Posted by
fschling
Jan 19, 2008 5:23am PDT
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fschling
 

At the risk of starting an argument all over again, black versus white background, there is a well documented perceptual effect called the "surround effect". The image/photo appears different depending on the surround, light or dark. In principle, you can set the image tone reproduction (brightness/contrast) for either background. It will be optimum for only one. You can readily see the changes if you change the viewing condition on your computer screen. This is one of the reasons that slide film, to be viewed in a dark surround, has different tone reproduction characteristics than, say, negative-print. In some digital cameras there are such setting, but they are not labeled as such. A light surround makes the image more contrasty and a dark surround lowers the apparent contrast.

I plead ignorance regarding graphic design question.

BTW  historically it was not so easy to print a good uniform black, so it was often discouraged as a design option. Technology limitations often dictate design decisions, and the reasons for the decisions are not always stated.

 Carry on.

PGE 

Posted by
dlogephoto
May 20, 2008 10:19am PDT
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dlogephoto
 

I have a blog where I used a black background for my photos and liked the look, however I got complaints that the text was hard to read, so I switched the background to a light gray. However I don’t mind the books that have black backgrounds and I’ve had the pleasure of looking at, other than the fact I find that you can see fingerprints that others have left behind and that would annoy me.

Posted by
VE6AB
May 20, 2008 3:05pm PDT
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VE6AB
 

This forum can be very frustrating! I pity RJVS, who asked a sensible question only to have it hijacked by someone who didn’t even answer the question.

I have two pages in my new book that are dark grey with white text, I’m glad people have had good experience with white text on black, it gives me hope, but as this is only my second book and there are a lot of conflicting messages out there, I am still a little nervous about how the book will look. The other one exceeded my expectations.

Posted by
simonlevene
Jun 4, 2008 2:37am PDT
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simonlevene
 

Hi Simon;

It is sometimes difficult to keep a post "on-topic" specialy when it has gone off-track quickly…

However, my tendancy is to agree with you… Historic "professional practice" aside, at the end of the day it’s a case of "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" and it’s up to you to present your book however you want… If that means "bucking the trend" then so be it…

I am not aware of any printing related problems just because a user wants to apply a "non-standard" contrast to their pages…

I am sure your book will turn out fine. If there are any print related problems, I’m equally sure that Blurb will fix them!

To address the original post – the only problem I am aware of with white text on black background is that finger prints have a tendency to show up using black as a BG colour, that ’s why i personally don’t like the black as a BG, although a great many people say that it better shows off images…

As before – personal choice…

Cheers;

Lee

Posted by
lkb-28
Jun 4, 2008 5:29am PDT
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lkb-28
 

I would add too that I have found black backgrounds to very effectively show off my images – in my eyeball’s opinion, for what it’s worth, I find that the black background allows the colors to "pop" more than on white.  Fingerprints are admittedly an issue on the black pages, so I try to hold them gingerly… :)  As for white print, I can speak to having printed books with both white and ivory text, ranging in size from about a 10-12 point to about a 40 point font (nothing too delicate) – all have turned out remarkably on a black background.  

Teri 

Posted by
hooloovoos
Jun 4, 2008 7:08am PDT
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hooloovoos
 

remarkably *well*  :)

Posted by
hooloovoos
Jun 4, 2008 7:08am PDT
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hooloovoos
 

Just got the book back today…the white on black…AMAZING. In fact the whole book is better than I expected. There is just one little glitch with the barcode on the back cover, I’ll ask about that elsewhere in these forums. This is my second book. The new one is even better than the first, I learned some lessons from the first and they really paid off.

Regarding the white on black, I used a fairly bold font and there is no colour bleed at all. Very crisp and professional looking.

Posted by
simonlevene
Jun 11, 2008 1:37am PDT
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simonlevene
 

If we use white BG – what do you think about frames? Like two 1mm black frames around the picture? Is that professional or completely lame and ignorant?

 

 

Posted by
rproch
Jul 2, 2008 5:49am PDT
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rproch
 

How does one choose the background color?  I’d like to use black with white print, but can’t figure out where to go in bookmaker to choose that.

Posted by
zingerlv
May 21, 2012 11:48am PDT
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zingerlv
 

Assuming you meant BookSmart, make sure you are in Edit Book mode (button at the bottom right of the window) you’ll see a row of buttons across the top of the window you’ll find Backgrounds is one of those.

Looking at your profile I can see that you are a new user, can I suggest that you watch the tutorial Step by Step Guide to Creating Your Book. If you select the Help menu at the top or bottom of this page you’ll find other tutorial videos under the Tips and Tutorials option.

…..Tony

Posted by
tfrankland
May 21, 2012 10:36pm PDT
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tfrankland
 

Help…my books are finished but I cannot find a page on Blurb that tells me how to build my own book store and set the price, or how to set up a page to view a few pages of the book.

This may not be the correct forum for these questions, but I can’t find that either.  I’ve reached the I want to scream stage.

 

Alexandria

Posted by
Georgiades
Jun 9, 2012 10:46am PDT
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Georgiades