Dark Is The New Black

Dark themes are more than a design fad, they’ve become a permanent part of the mobile device user experience and are similarly commonplace for web design.

The two most recent client projects I launched have featured dark designs: the Emberlight Festival and City Lights Theater Company. There’s a lot to love about dark designs but there’s even more that goes into making them work. Simply put, it’s not just inverting white for black.

For UpStageCRM, we took this a step further and provide the ability for site visitors to select a light or dark version of the site as default functionality.

Do you have any fav arts and culture websites that rock a dark theme design?

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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2 thoughts on “Dark Is The New Black”

  1. The only example I can think of is the Kennedy Center in DC, that went entirely virtual for its program notes, putting them on dark-mode pages on its website (allowing a slightly more interactive experience than a static PDF). They even have a warning pop up if you navigate to another part of their website that says something to the effect of “be mindful of other patrons when navigating to brighter parts of the website while in the performance.”

    I use dark mode on Facebook, Twitter, Messages, Calendar, Gmail, all those other platforms I frequent — now I want to know why it’s not as an option on arts and culture websites that want to keep my eyes there in the hope I’ll buy something!

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Dark Is The New Black