What is Color Contrast?

Color contrast is the difference between two colors; the color used in the background and the foreground. Colors should not only be limited to contrasting colors, care should be taken to ensure a level of contrast in body text, logos, and essential diagrams or other pieces of content. 

Why Check Color Contrast?

Checking color contrast benefits all users, but it is particularly beneficial to those with certain types of color blindness and other similar conditions.  They may have trouble differentiating between similar colors because they may be unable to distinguish between bright and dark areas and therefore have trouble seeing edges, borders, and other details.

By checking the color contrast in presentations (such as Powerpoint) and other creative materials (flyers and websites to name a few) you can broaden your audience, thus maximizing the reach of your message! Using this standard in creating materials benefits everyone, not just individuals who have visual impairments (e.g. color blindness, low vision, blindness, etc.).   

What can I do?

Three primary components for checking contrast:

  1. Check your color contrast with a contrast checker if using color combinations other than black and white or trusted JMU color combinations. Use these color values in various programs (see our how-to for Microsoft Word).
  2. When using graphs and charts, communicate results in both color and text.
  3. Create hyperlinks with a different text color than the main body text.  Underline hyperlinks as well.


Coming Soon: Checking contrast in Canvas and Cascade




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