Why so much gray text on web pages and in PDFs? How to lose it?

Discussion in 'Graphics' started by AES, Oct 21, 2010.

  1. AES

    AES Guest

    More and more web pages and also downloadable PDFs seem to be using
    gray rather than black fonts for large portions of their text content.
    For just one easy-to-reach example, take quick look at


    Why? -- or, putting it more bluntly, "Why the Hell do they do this?!?"
    (For many readers, makes it much harder to read, both on screen
    and when printed out)

    More important, is there an easy way to globally convert all such gray
    text to honest black? (especially when exporting or printing)

    --When viewing a web page: any Safari setting that can
    do this? (globally convert displayed gray text to black)

    --When printing a web page to PDF: any global setting in
    Preview that will convert gray text to black??

    --Viewing and printing a downloaded PDF document: Any
    quick and simple command in Preview, Adobe Reader,
    Acrobat, GraphicConverter, to do the same?

    [Note: In several of the above cases I can
    --Select and Copy the entire offending content
    --Use Services to put the content into a new Bean document
    --Open the Bean doc as an RTF doc; Select All; and use the
    Bean Font command (Cmd-T) to globally convert all text
    to black.
    But, that's a hassle; loses image content, etc.]
    AES, Oct 21, 2010
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  2. AES

    Peter Flynn Guest

    It's a Designer thing. It's just the current fad, especially among
    not-very-bright designers with no training in Usability or how to use
    the web.

    Ours wanted all links to be the same colour as the surrounding (grey)
    text, without any underline. When we pointed out that this would make
    them indiscernable to readers, they simply couldn't understand why that
    was a problem: they suggested that readers should wave their cursor
    across the page to reveal the links (they had set onmouseover to
    highlight them). When we overrode them and made links blue and
    underlined (a blue with the same luminosity as the grey, rather than the
    saturated default), they complained that it upset the aesthetic balance
    Copy their CSS to a local file. Edit it to make the greys black. Set
    your browser to use the local file instead of theirs.

    Or just save the whole page (+images +css) to a local file, edit the
    CSS, and then open as a local file.

    Peter Flynn, Oct 21, 2010
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  3. AES

    dorayme Guest

    They do it mainly because they think it looks cool, understated.
    But it is often very annoying! You might like to look into making
    your own user css stylesheet.

    If you use Firefox with some addons, and if you learn a few
    things about css styling (web pages are mostly controlled by
    these sheets theses days), you can alter these to suit as you
    read. But user style sheets to override all the others is the
    simplest solution.
    dorayme, Oct 22, 2010
  4. Hallo,

    Our product can do this;


    Menu Process --> Blacken... --> Blacken Text


    John Whitington
    Coherent Graphics Ltd
    John Whitington, Oct 22, 2010
  5. AES

    AES Guest

    Thanks -- looks good.

    [But it does it also convert all spellings to the British forms?]
    AES, Oct 22, 2010
  6. AES

    Peter Flynn Guest

    Many designers are young, insufficiently trained or experienced in
    production, and anxious to prove their cred.

    If the stock is *really* "glossy" (glazed or art paper), then
    insufficient contrast is bad because readers can't read the copy, and
    you lose sales, or interest, or whatever it is you're peddling. It's
    even worse in long-run rotogravure because the absorbency of the
    substrate dulls the colour slightly, making it even harder to read.

    On the web it's more severe, as most people don't know the tricks of how
    to fix it, and you can't easily use a magnifying-glass, or twist the
    surface to catch low-angle light. If these sites' readers include many
    of the older and perhaps wealthier AB groups whose sight is "stiffening"
    (as one writer delightfully put it :), making the site hard to read for
    them, they lose even more eyeballs.

    But that's their funeral: if they wish to cut a substantial chunk of
    their readers and potential purchasers out of their market, let them.
    Someone else with a better site will pick them up.

    Peter Flynn, Oct 22, 2010
  7. AES

    Peter Flynn Guest

    Doubtful, but this site: http://www.rinkworks.com/dialect/
    can translate any page into Redneck, Jive, Cockney, Elmer Fudd, Swedish
    Chef, Moron, Pig Latin, or Hacker.


    Peter Flynn, Oct 22, 2010
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