Facebook’s Color Revolution

If a picture is worth a thousand words, what’s a colored background worth? (Probably two thousand words? What if there’s a gradient?)

I’m not an art dealer, but I am smitten with the marriage of art and copy. So when I saw Facebook’s new feature that lets you post text on one of seven colored backgrounds, my ears perked. This may not sound like a big deal, but depending on how you use Facebook, this could mean big changes to the way you express yourself.

The options are currently limited to seven colors. Four of them are solid: yellow, red, blue (hey, primary colors, hey) and gray. Three of them have gradients: reddish orange, greenish blue, and purplish magenta. Your text appears in large, bold white type on a big rectangle color of your choice. This creates a billboard out of your post, a frame for your text art.

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This feature excites me as a writer. Now when I go to post a thought, I consider how a color could add context or contrast to my idea. What happens when you share a happy thought on a blue wall? Or a mad reaction on a warm sunset? The relationship between the text and image is important, much as it is in traditional design, advertising or branding. We consider this relationship in all of the work we do here at Block Club; communication design relies heavily on context. One small tweak and your sentimentality can turn into irony. This can be a dangerous edit but it can also add dimension to your ideas.

I’m having a lot of fun exploring this new option on my Facebook feed. I’ve been experimenting with emoji (which luckily Facebook accepts as text). On April Fools’ Day, I posted a clown on a springy green background. On a rainy morning, I posted an umbrella on a purple wash (hey, Prince, hey). I post one every day, usually in the morning, in addition to my other posts. This means I have all day to see people’s reactions—the connection, the confusion, the working-out of a puzzle. And that’s priceless.