5. Avoid Using 100% Black Text

Type and Text

Given their size, form, and distinct appearance from other map visuals, text demands attention by default. Text boxes in particular will command attention.

Rarely do you want all of your text to stand out in the visual hierarchy. Thus, there is no reason to inadvertently emphasize text more than it has to be.

Check out the text on this blog page. What do you notice about it?

It’s NOT black. It’s gray.

It’s always good practice to use a default label and text color less than 100% black. I tend to use 88%-95% for textboxes and 90-97% for labels — depending on the background color.

Why should you do this? Using 88-97% black as your default text color autoatically diminishes text in the visual hierarchy. It allows your visualization to outshine your writing. Your text is still clearly legible, but then any object that is 100% black will become dominant.

This also allows you to do what I did above — use 100% black text to highlight important words or phrases. You can use 100% black text instead of “bold” to give certain information “pop.” This is often a preferred method to using bold, as it is not as distracting to a reader and can look more professional.

Avoid using 100% black text. Your map designs will instantly start looking much better. And it allows black to be used as a bold and attention grabbing color in your visuals, instead of having it compete with a bunch of words.