• Printmag

Dalton Maag’s Dark Mode

Updated: Jun 24

Ed. Note: We’ve been meaning to write about Dark Mode for a few weeks now, so today is a special two-part Type Tuesday.

Dalton Maag’s new typeface is, above all, about legibility—regardless of whether the proverbial lights are on or off.

The increased prevalence of “dark modes” on the web and devices has caused a typographic problem: Owing to optical illusion, white text on a black background looks bulkier than its inverse. The result is often a hierarchy problem … and the solution is the typeface Dark Mode, billed as the first of its kind.

Matt Burvill’s typeface offers two variants for each of its eight weights—aptly dubbed “DarkmodeOn” and “DarkmodeOff.”

“The optical adjustment is surprisingly large, but is imperceptible to readers, aiming to help the designer properly present their intention while improving legibility and user experience,” Dalton Maag writes. “The proportions and widths remain the same between the two modes, preventing text reflow and removing the need for layout adjustments between modes.”

The family includes a variable font file as well, operating at a reduced size to expedite loading times, while giving users the ability to alter the dark mode axis for custom applications.

All told, it’s an extremely forward-thinking design—and like smart lighting in our homes, might just be the wave of the future.

For more, visit Dalton Maag.

Images: Dalton Maag



PRINT (founded 1940) is where creative people gather to inspire and build design dialogue. Perpetually curious about everything design, we report on, curate and celebrate visual culture, the makers of that culture and the expression of graphic design in all its forms and mediums.  


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